ALERT: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been observed in the south eastern end of the lake.  LEARN MORE



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General News


A Conversation with SUNY-ESF’s Lake Expert, Dr. Kim Schulz
by David Figura, on behalf of The Skaneateles Lake Association

[As appeared in Neighbors of Skaneateles Magazine]

What makes a good or bad winter for Skaneateles Lake in regard to water quality, plankton ecology, invasive species and aquatic ecosystems?

“I guess it might be different answers for different lakes,” said Kim Schulz, associate professor and limnologist at SUNY ESF, who studies and teaches about plankton ecology and aquatic ecosystems.

There are several factors to consider, she said. They include the extent of cold temperatures in late winter and early spring, the amount of snow that falls or the occurrence of heavy, unseasonable rainfalls — and most importantly, the current management of the watershed and shoreline surrounding the lake.

Kim Schulz, associate professor and limnologist at SUNY ESF


 “Most years, Skaneateles Lake freezes at the northern and southern ends, but doesn’t freeze completely over. A lake like that is ‘mixing’ all winter and becomes stratified (temperature-wise) in the summer months,” Schulz said.

Temperature affects the phenomenon of the lake’s water constantly ‘mixing’ during the cold months because the exposed surface water becomes colder than the warmer water underneath.  As a result, the colder water (which is heavier) is constantly sinking and mixing (thanks to the wind) with the water underneath, oxygenating and supplying food for the organisms and plant life underneath on the lake’s bottom.

“For Skaneateles Lake, a good winter is for the winter to be long and for low temperatures to extend into the spring so that the lake is not stratifying really early on in the spring.”

Schulz said the sooner the lake surface warms up in the spring and becomes stratified temperature-wise, the longer the lake’s surface has a chance to heat up during the warm months – a condition favoring the appearance of “unfavorable things” people have been seeing a bit more in recent years.

“Namely, cyanobacteria blooms and blue green algae,” she said. “They often out-compete other algae in warm temperatures.”

A cold winter and delayed water stratification in the spring favors the formation of single-celled diatoms, a type of phytoplankton. The diatoms do well in such conditions and are consumed by larger zooplankton (copepods) in the lake, which are larger and more nutritious for small bait fish. The bait fish are then consumed by the larger fish.

An abundance of copepods in a lake are also beneficial in that they consume decaying plant matter.

On a side-note, the presence of healthy (for humans) fish oils in the flesh of the larger game fish originates with the diatoms, Schulz said.

On the other hand, if it completely freezes over, Shulz said, it’s like “having the fish and other lake critters locked in an airtight room with no fresh air supply. If the ice completely covers the lake for a long time the oxygen (in the water) begins getting used up by the fish, algae, plankton and other living things in the lake,” she said.

Snowfall, Rainfall and Lake Management

Meanwhile, the amount of snow the area gets, and the slow melting of it throughout and at the end of winter, usually has no negative impacts on the lake. The lake level is managed by the city of Syracuse and its dam at the lake’s northern end.

After getting just half the normal amount of snowfall last winter, Syracuse could see a return to a normal (or close to normal) amount of snowfall this winter, with heavy amounts likely to come at the end of the season, according to forecasts from Accuweather and the National Weather Service.

“The more snowpack you get, though, the more run-off (there is into the lake) in the spring,” Schulz said. “The impact on the lake depends on the quality of watershed management you have around the lake, which is generally good. A poorly managed watershed would result in more materials (from the shore) flowing into the lake.”

Those ‘materials’ (excessive nutrients) will remain in the water and later provide food for harmful algal blooms, she said.

What would be a negative factor, though, of excessive snowfall or continuous ice conditions during the winter and/or early spring would be the amount of road salt put on roadways in the lake’s watershed. Salty water is heavier than freshwater, Schulz said, and sinks to the lake’s bottom.

“Some of the things that live in the sediment at the bottom of the lake that can be food for some of the fish feeding down there can be negatively affected by it being too salty down there,” she said.

Due to climate change, the lake in recent years has been experiencing an unprecedented number of torrential rain storms in the late winter/early spring, resulting in run-off from surrounding fields and other areas along the lake’s shoreline, Schulz said.

Schulz said the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA), with the advice of scientists and researchers from Syracuse University and SUNY ESF, is doing a “great job” or trying to manage run-off and “nutrient-loading” (such things as nitrogen and phosphorus) into the lake. (More on SLA’s lake protection efforts at

It’s a difficult task at times, considering the steep-sided shoreline and number of tributaries that run into the lake, she added.

Schulz pointed out that Skaneateles Lake is a primary water source for the city of Syracuse and many surrounding communities ringing the lake, including the village and town of Skaneateles.

“There are few lakes in the country where water doesn’t have to be filtered before it is used for drinking water – definitely fewer than 5,” Schulz said.

Skaneateles is among them.

(David Figura is the retired outdoors writer for The Post-Standard and a member of the Skaneateles Lake Association.)

General News

Lake Friendly Living Tip: Best De-icing Practices

Ice, snow, and rain runoff that contains salt ladened de-icers can be harmful to the lake by carrying pollutants into our waterways and causing problems for the environment. Salt can impact a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients that we want to keep out of the lake.

Your walk or driveway may not cause much harm individually, but with an estimated 15 million tons of de-icing salt used per year in the U.S., all that salt has to end up somewhere. The salt can eventually seep into the ground or runoff into streams and lakes.

There are four main types of de-icers:

  • Rock salt (sodium chloride) is very abundant in CNY, less expensive, and most widely applied. It can be toxic to underwater life and is the most harmful for plants due to its high chloride levels.
  • Calcium chloride is a more expensive than rock salt, but not as much is needed. It is effective at temperatures down to -25°F, but it can also harm plants because of chloride.
  • Magnesium chloride doesn’t add as much chloride compared to rock salt and calcium chloride, and can be considered less of a concern for the environment.
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is considered the best choice for safely melting ice. It costs more, but it can melt ice at a lower temperature, does not require as much to get the job done and does not impact plant nutrient and water uptake like rock salt.

Tips for snow and ice removal include:

  • Look for “pet safe” de-icing products. If a product is pet friendly, it is likely to be eco-friendly.
  • Apply de-icing products before a winter storm.
  • Clear as much snow and ice before applying de-icing products.
  • Don’t use salt as a substitute for shoveling.
  • Only use the necessary de-icer amount. A mechanical spreader can help achieve proper coverage.

We all can do more to protect our precious water quality. If we act together, we can collectively be the solution to winter pollution.

General News

Labor Day Parade

Editor, Skaneateles Press Observer:

In 1932 when Victor Arden and Phil Orman wrote the song “I love a Parade”, they gave tribute to the military parades of the times that still ring true for the present on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran’s Day.

But, here in Skaneateles, the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department gives the community members and visitors a different type of parade to love on Labor Day   It is a parade that embodies so much of the life and spirit of Skaneateles – organizations, businesses and community groups “march” to showcase who they are and what they do for the community and the community and visitors come to cheer them on and, of course, grab some of the never-ending candy.  After two years of no parade, this year the crowds on the sidewalks and gathered on lawns in front of village houses were never ending

The Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) was pleased to be selected by the Fire Department to be one of the community groups honored in the Labor Day Parade this year and we thank the Fire Department for the honor.

The SLA was showcased by our boat/float, “The Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat” with the Werner Family (Jo, Kitty, Kurt and Andy) on board the boat along with the boat’s do-designer and builder, Bill Dean and Tess Torrisi in charge the candy toss.  John Menapace, co-designer and builder of the Boat, and Paul Torrisi, SLA President, carefully pulled the boat and its passengers in the parade.

Frank Moses, SLA Ex. Dir., and I are thankful for the students who volunteered to also showcase our efforts to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure.  Isabella Karpinski in the Milfoil Monster Costume with Carolyn McSwain as a Milfoil Team Member “matted” the Milfoil Monster all along the parage route.  Max Karpinski and Lilly Miller carried the “Milfoil Control” banner that can be seen on the Milfoil Team boats when they are out working on the lake and Elliot Holm and Tara McSwain junior Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards carried the sign to remind all that our SLA Stewards help those who come to launch ensure their watercraft and trailers are clean, drained and dry.

For so many reasons, “We Love a Parade”.  A community showcase and specifically for the SLA an opportunity to showcase our many efforts to keep the Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure.

Thank you to the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department for putting in all the effort for give the community a PARADE to love.


Fran Rotunno Fish

For the SLA Board of Directors

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 9/15/2022

General News


Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat “Commissioned”      

Gretchen Robert & Fran Rotunno Fish

 On Monday, July 27th, The Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat, affectionately known and secondarily, named “The Bob”, was commissioned into action at the Skaneateles Country Club where it will be moored via the courtesy of the Club.

Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) Executive Director, Frank Moses, welcomed the assembled community of donors and introduced SLA President, Dr. Paul Torrisi.  Torrisi noted that all had gathered for 2 reasons: to honor the man most responsible for promoting the conservation and preservation of Skaneateles Lake, Dr. Robert Werner. and to commission the boat in his name and memory to provide research efforts and educational/community outreach to all who live, work, and play here…along with hundreds of thousands in CNY who rely on this clear/pure body of water for its drinking and sustenance

Torrisi noted that two volunteer directors of the SLA needed to be recognized for their efforts.  He noted that Fran Rotunno Fish had initiated the idea of the boat being constructed in Bob’s memory; had raised the funding from the community and had obtained the many in-kind donations from community businesses that were also significant to our funding.  Dr. Torrisi noted that as the design and scientific requirements evolved during the early construction on the boat by John Menapace and his staff last year, it was volunteer Board member Bill Dean who jumped in to give so much of his time and expertise. He was able to complement John, Pete, and staff by researching the scientific needs of the boat through his position as Co-Chair of the SLA LET, from an operational, mechanical, and electrical perspective.  Bill worked days, weeks, months alongside John Menapace and his staff to finish the construction of this boat.

Torrisi noted that what was now in front of the gathering was a very soundly constructed tri-toon with a strong and easily maintained deck, hull, railings, and permanent “bimini” roof with solar panels energizing a complex series of lithium batteries, along with very sophisticated navigational, operational and scientific instrumentation and equipment.  It is a boat named in honor and memory of Werner, one that Werner would be very pleased to see, and what hopes to be a valuable asset to not only the SLA, but the entire watershed and CNY community for years to come…helping to keep this lake clear and pure, as it states in SLA’s mission statement and on our logo.

Fish shared the ease of the effort to raise the funding for the boat.  With assistance from Bob DeWitt and Steve White they had reached out to community members and not one of them refused assistance and many gave very generously for specific components of the boat.  She also noted the generosity and helpfulness of many area businesses was an important component of the funding for the boat.

With the gathering assembled on the shoreline and on the slips on each side of the boat, Bill and Bobbi Dean unveiled the boats signs naming it the “Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat.”

Bill Dean gave the gathering an overview of the equipment of the boat and what it   could be used for.  He explained the complex lithium battery system, the solar energy source and the very special trolling motor with GPS that will hold the boat in position for those activities that have to be done in very specific locations.

SLA member and Bob’s friend and neighbor, Larry Weiss, provided some words of reflection for the day.  He noted that the boat was one of Werner’s living legacies and that it is a testament to three things.  It is a testament to how very seriously Werner took his responsibility as a steward of Creation. Werner prophetically both took action himself, and also called the whole community to action to protect this lake. That is the role of a prophet, to rouse the community to action.  It is a testament to the response of the community to Werner’s prophetic spirit of stewardship.  Finally, in ages past, a great prophet was commissioned by receiving the mantle of their predecessor. The Skaneateles Lake Association, the related organizations, and most of all, the individuals who responded and continue to respond to Bob’s prophetic guidance and leadership in preserving the life of this lake are receivers of Werner’s mantle. Lord willing, may we also receive a double portion of Werner’s spirit. This boat will carry it forward.

Bill Dean did the honors of hanging the small flag with the name “The Bob” high on one of the “gull away” poles.  The “Commissioning” was closed with Jo Werner, Kurt Werner and Kitty Werner Robinson joining Bill on board for a “champagning” of the boat.

Bill Dean did the honors of hanging the small flag with the name “The Bob” high on one of the “gull away” poles.  The “Commissioning” was closed with Jo Werner, Kurt Werner and Kitty Werner Robinson joining Bill on board for a “champagning” of the boat.

The Skaneateles Lake Association thanks the following for their donations that funded the Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat:  David & Amy Allyn, Henry & Helga Beck, Dessa Bergen, David Birchenough & Carrie Lazarus, Wendy Blewett, Virginia Bryce, Laura Busby, Jeffrey & Marybeth Carlberg, Delores Chappell, Aimee Clinkhammer, Paul & Linda Cohen, The Columbian Foundation, Stephen Congel, Suzanne Congel, Jim & Sharon Cross, Robert & Roberta Culbertson, Jeffrey & Barbara Culhane, William & Barbara Dean, Merrill & Paula Denslow, Sid & Suzanne Devorsetz, Charles & Kimberly Driscoll, Ham & Fran Fish, Ronald & Rose Ann Gay, Sheila Goetzmann, David Graham, Greenville LLC, Holland Gregg & Patience Brewster, Amy Lynn Gregory, Brian & Maureen Harkins, Kenneth & Barbara Hearst, Donna Himmelfarb, Richard & Deborah Hole, Robert & Claire Howard, Peter & Jane Hueber, Jackie Keady, David & Sheril Ketchum, Edward & Lena Kochian, Richard & Mary Kokosa, Dorothy Krause, Judith Krieger, Lakeview Auto & Marine (Bob, Terri & Rachael DeWitt), Carolyn Legg, Brian & Jean Madigan, Mary Marshall, Kevin & Fran McCormack, Jim & Julie Moore, Judith Morrissey, Frank Moses, Patricia Orr, Michael Paciorek, Lawrence & Nan Pardee, Steven Phillippy & Janice Kemp Phillippy, Shirlee Powers, Floramay Racz, N. Sandor & Kristy Racz, Yvonne Racz, William & Gretchen Roberts, Andy & Kitty Robinson, Daniel & Linda Roche, Scott Rogers, Michael Schrader & Lauren Kochian, Steve & Sharon Songer, Wolfram & Elena Stahl, Mr. & Mrs. Robert A. Stevens, Gene & Joan Tarolli, Nancy Tiedemann, James & Deborah Tifft, Paul & Mary Torrisi, Larry & Katherine Weiss, Joe & Shasta White, Randall & Paula White & Frank Canastrano, Charles Williams, Lucy Williams, Marilyn Wurzburger

The SLA could not have completed the Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat without the in-kind donations from members, vendors and Skaneateles community businesses.  Join us in extending a thank you to each of them.

John David Hammond who donated the pontoon boat, which was originally used in the Milfoil Project, and later provided the basic framework and two of the pontoons for “The Bob”; Dorothy Krause for the use of her trailer during the first summer of the boat’s construction; the Mercury Motor Company for a special non-profit organization price on the new Mercury motor; Pete Severson at Sevey’s Boatyard for facilitating and supporting our request to the Mercury Motor Company for the motor and for special pricing on accessories; the Skaneateles Sailboat Shop for special pricing on accessories and safety equipment; Brinson’s Marina for special pricing on the specific trailer we needed for the boat; Lakeview Auto and Marine for providing gratis, safe winter storage; and The Skaneateles Country Club which is providing a gratis mooring for “The Bob”.

You can help support the work of “The Bob” and all of the efforts of the Skaneateles Lake Association to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its water pure by becoming an annual member of the SLA.  Join online at or call Fran Rotunno Fish at 315-558-3142 for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 7/7/2022

General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

First Responders Quick Responders          Fran Rotunno Fish

The response time of first responders can make a huge difference in the quality of the outcome.  We all know that from our own experiences or the experiences of family members or friends.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has long been a first responder for threats to Skaneateles Lake.  I will not go into a prolonged history but our responses to the threat of milfoil and harmful algal blooms (HABs) stand out.  Indeed, we have been the only responders to the threat of milfoil and continue to respond to it.  The lake wide harmful algal bloom of 2017 was confirmed from samples obtained first by SLA volunteer board members in response to a call of concern from an SLA member.  That sample, turned over to the Syracuse City Water Department was the keystone to the diagnosis and response to what became a lake wide HAB.

One of the most positive elements of a volunteer not for profit agency like the SLA is the ability to respond fairly quickly to the need for fulfilling its mission whether it involves initiating a new program, expanding an existing one or altering a schedule based upon the need for such.

The latter is exactly what the SLA did in regard to our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program early in April.  While we usually staff major launch sites with our Stewards toward the middle or end of May, our Board Member, Buzz Roberts, noted excessive traffic at the DEC Launch site in April   Due to the abundance of Wall Eye that had been introduced into the lake (that should not have happened) and were threatening the normal Skaneateles Lake fish population, the DEC took the limits off of the permitted Wall Eye fish catch.  The word got out, spread on social media and in early April, the DEC launch was filled with boats and trailers from near and far and some were clearly coming to launch that were carrying hitchhiking vegetation with them.  Seeing this, Buzz Roberts made the indicated schedule adjustment and the SLA quickly put the Steward Program into action to help reduce the risk of all those from near and far who were responding to the no catch Wall Eye limit from bringing invasives to Skaneateles Lake.  Our Stewards educated those who came about the NYS regulations for boats and trailers to be clean, drained and dry and assisted boaters to remove vegetation before launching

Responding quickly is so important to the outcome of the efforts of a first responder and, as a first responder for the Lake, that is exactly what the SLA did.  That type of timely adjustment of program in response to its mission is the hallmark of an effective not for profit.  The SLA’s mission driven efforts are only possible with the generous support of the community it serves.

Please thank the following SLA members whose sponsorship of an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward and support of the David Lee Hardy Fund in 2020 and/or 2021 enabled us to fund this important program in the past and please consider joining as a member and a support of this program in 2022:  Nancy Marquardt, Paul & Karen Black, Clarice Begemann  , Richard & Barbara Evans,, Skaneateles Garden Club, Nicholas & Cynthia Signorelli, The Kelly Family, Dennis & Ashley Longwell, Robert and Christine Pierce, Scott & Suzanne McClurg, Bob & Betsey Legg Madden, Eileen Murphy, Ann Hinchcliff, Kyle &  Liz Gebhardt, Chris Johnson & Jean Shook, Ed & Deborah Brennan, George Kenien & Mary Ellen Faughnan, Shadow Lawn Lake Association, John & Sharon Paddock, Mary Knepper & Susan Mark, Nick & Kate Hardy, Pine Bluff HOA, Dan & Jill Lang, Nicole Way, Liz Liddy, Mary Gardner, Mary Bradly, Judd Seales, Chris & Caitlin Fields, Dave & Paula Miller, L & C Winkelman, Joseph & Katherine Compagni, John Macallister & Laurel Moranz, Patrick Doyle & Elizabeth Downs, Walter & Kathleen Sullivan, Jason & Catherine Armijo, John & Maureen Barringer, Adam Gasurowski &  Claudia Kosty, The Jermy Family, Robert & Ann McKenty, Joseph & Alicia Salibra, Eloise Luchsinger,  David & Ann Lee, Karen Strods, Dickman Farms, Greenhouse & Gardens, Mary Sennett, F J Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, Christophe & Carrie Scholtz, Jack & Patty Reed, Angelo & Margaret Scopelianos, Jim & Patty Hertz, Janice Hardy, Dan & Kathleen Mezzalingua, Chad & Kathleen Rogers and multiple anonymous donors

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer  6/8/2022

General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

                                Lake Economy                    Fran Rotunno Fish

That is no misprint.  Despite the fact that the Skaneateles Lake Association articles are often about the lake ecology, the subject of this article is Lake Economy.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has long benefited from the generosity of local businesses who recognize that the lake is a magnet for business.  Drawn to this community as full or part-time residents or here as visitors, they shop in local stores and enjoy the many and varied menus of our restaurants and residents (full and part time) employ contractors to build and remodel or trade professionals to maintain their homes and camps.  The lake is for many an economic engine.

Each year at the time of our Annual Meeting we have been able to showcase many of our restaurants, stores and venues with their generous donations of food and beverages.  The Sherwood Inn, Gilda’s, Lakeside Pub, Bluewater Grill, Johnny Angel’s, Doug’s Fish Fry, Joelle’s French Bistro, The Krebs, Valentines, The Bakery, Rosalie’s, The Mandana Inn, The Colonial Lodge, TOPS Market, Anyela’s, White Birch Vineyards and The Village Bottle Shop have over many years ensured we had the refreshments we needed.  When we opened our first office, Skaneateles Town Square stepped in to provide us with folding tables for our meetings and other events.  For years, the Skaneateles Marina has provided our Milfoil Control Program with moorings or slips for our milfoil work boats.  All of these businesses have positively affected the SLA’s bottom line saving us dollars because they recognize the SLA efforts to promote a clear lake with pure water affect their bottom line.  They are well aware that the lake is a significant part of their economy.

When you scan our membership rolls on our website for business listings you see many of these same names as members and you see others like McClurg Design Rebuild, Remodel Repair, Eggleston & Krenzer Architects, Inc., Finger Lakes Mechanical, Cayuga Tree Service, Bartlett Tree Experts, Ecoscape Design, Lake Country Construction & Contour, F J Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, The Sail Boar Shop, Tory’s 4 Season Services, Finger Lakes Realty, Lake & Village Realty, the Michael DeRosa Exchange and The Real Estate Agency, Via Mondo Travel & Wellness,  Finger Lakes Luxury Rentals, Community Bank NA, Cate & Sally, Roland’s, White and White Antiques and Interiors, Skan Threads Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Company, Aster Weddings and Events, Hobbit Hollow, The Mandana Barn, Joelle’s French Bistro, Twin Birch Dairy, Elmer Richards and Sons, Smiles  of Skaneateles and Skaneateles Psychology Associates,.

All of these businesses are savvy in recognizing that their customer base is enhanced by Skaneateles Lake and each understood the SLA’s role in keeping that lake one that would continue to attract customers.

This year has brought to the SLA some new and incredible stories of businesses taking the recognition of the SLA’s role in supporting their economy a step further.  Already a generous member, The Sail Boat Shop made a commitment to donate a portion of their sales of boat cleaning services to the SLA and we received their generous check in December.  A local realtor, The Real Estate Agency, recognizing the value of the lake in promoting property sales, made a commitment of a generous donation from every commission or referral commission and we received his first generous check in December, as well.  Skan Threads, a small business that provides online clothing sales with a Skaneateles theme committed to making a donation of the percentage of its sales to the SLA and we received two checks from that business in 2020.  Amber Weddings and Events for the 3rd year in a row donated $50 for every event they held this past year.  Finally, a startup website promoting information specifically for tourists coming to the Finger Lakes has made a donation commitment to the SLA.

On behalf of the entire watershed community of SLA members, the Board of Directors thanks every one of our business supporters for their recognition of Skaneateles Lake as an economic engine for them and their financial support of the efforts of the SLA to keep the Skaneateles Lake an economic engine supporting their businesses.

You can join in encouraging business support of the SLA’s efforts by thanking these businesses as you purchase their goods and services AND ALSO by copying this article from our website and sharing it with service professionals you use with a few words of encouragement for them to join in.

We thank the following members for their support of the Milfoil Boat: Chacea & Donald Sundman, Jennifer Sutherland, Nancy & Donald McDowell, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Katherine Cogswell & Walter Benson, Harold & Jeanne Slauson, Jane Walsh & Christian Chavassieu, Gwen Birchenough, Gretchen & William Roberts, Sarah & Kevin Goode, Carolyn Legg & Charles O’Neil, Lynn Cleary & David Duggan, Sherill & David Ketchum, Helga & Henry Beck, Mary & Joseph Gaffney, Mary Ellen & Joe Hennigan, Anne Marie & Carl Gest, Deborah & Gary Hind, Salli & Jim Tuozzolo, Ronald & Tacie Anderson, Julie & Jim Moore, Mary Marshall.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat: Nelli Ramsden & Kenneth Hyde, David Pittard, Mara & Mark Charlamb, Patricia & Ralph Troisi, Heather & David Wheat, Kristen & Mark Schwab.

We thank the following for contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund:  Sandra & William Nichols, Leisyl & Brian Kleinberg, Jeanne & Kenneth Hutton.

You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association online at or call 315-558-3142 for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 

General News

News from the SLA

COVID-19 Statistics                                                 Fran Rotunno Fish

In the early Spring, amid the pandemic and the necessary public health guidelines for personal safety and prevention, the Skaneateles Lake Association Board of Directors spent some days considering the appropriateness of continuing our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program at launch sites around the lake.  The Board considered that while an important part of our mission is to protect the Skaneateles Lake from the introduction of additional invasive species, we also had to be confident that we could protect our Stewards from exposure to COVID-19 19.

Under the direction of SLA Board Member, Buzz Roberts, a careful plan that including educating our Stewards on mask and distancing requirements, providing them with those masks and hand sanitizer and having sandwich board signs posted to ask those who came to launch to protect our Stewards by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.  With that plan in place the Board determined, we could go forward with the program, but would pull back if there was any indication of a problem with the safety of our stewards who are high school and college students and adults from the watershed community and beyond.

None of us knew when we started the Stewards on Memorial Day weekend how important that decision to go forward with the program amid the pandemic would be

The pandemic and the public health guidelines for responsible behavior by our citizens made Skaneateles Lake a safe alternative to other options for getting out and about.  You know the old line, “if you build it, they will come”, but for our lake that line became “if it’s there and we can get on it, we will go there.”  Boat sales around the northeast went off the charts and people drove from more confined places in New York state and neighboring states to the NYS lakes and other bodies of water for some open space that was safe.

The statistics objectively tell the story of what happened here on Skaneateles Lake.  Our 16 Stewards under the direction of Head Steward Marty Minet inspected 9,952 watercraft that launched into Skaneateles Lake.   The number is almost double wat it was in prior years.   They also educated 21,254 boaters who came to launch regarding the NYS regulation requiring watercraft to be clean, drained and dry before launching into any NYS body of water.  But, the most important statistic was that 6.59% of the watercraft they inspected came to the launch site with organisms or debris on the watercraft or trailer.  That % in prior years has been 2 – 2.5%.  The SLA has written, spoken and shared via various media of the significant risk that new invasive species could be to Skaneateles Lake all of them with their own threats to the lake, but none more threatening than Hydrilla.  Our Stewards saved samples of the organic material from the watercraft and trailers for confirmation of type and while none were Hydrilla, there were others such as the round goby that were identified.  The increase in the % of watercraft coming to launch with organisms or debris also occurred in the 9 Finger Lakes where the Finger Lakes Institute manages Steward Programs. Overall, they had a 10% rate of watercraft coming to launch with organisms or debris on the watercraft or trailer.

The number of watercraft coming to launch into Skaneateles Lake was so increased that the SLA Steward Program had to expand its hours and days of coverage and pull Stewards who were not scheduled in on days when the DEC Launch site was so quickly filled that boaters were being sent early in the morning to the Town Boar Launch in Mandana.  Additionally, the Town of Scott launch became a very busy site.  This occurred over the early months of the season as those coming to the Skaneateles Lake from the south end of the state, Pennsylvania and beyond seemed to quickly learn that it was better to get into the Town of Scott launch site than travel further north and not be sure they could get into either the DEC or Town of Skaneateles launch sites

When the SLA Board made the decision to run the Steward Program this past summer, they were aware of two risks.  The risk for the lake water if we did not run it and the risk for our Stewards if we did run it.  Given the statistics reported above we know we made the right decision to run the Steward program this summer.  The entire SLA Board is pleased that the general public coming to launch were generally compliant with our request for social distancing to protect our Stewards and about 25% of them followed our request that they wear masks.  The Board is also very proud of our Stewards for carrying out their responsibilities during a very busy season while protecting themselves and others while doing so.  It would also appear that our Stewards were responsible to their communities at large both on and off the job as our last statistic to report is that no Steward became ill with COVID-19 19 or tested positive for it this summer.  Please join the SLA Board in saluting our Stewards, Roy Truswell. Julia Torrisi, Jim MacLachlan, James Murphy, JP Soderberg, Lili Winkelman, Robert (Bob) Deyo, Wendy MacLachlan, Meredith Wolanske, Lauren Place. Hope Cross-Jaya, Ella Callahan, Sage Crawford, Neil Minet and Brian Harkins, for a job well done and responsibly done:

You can join the Skaneateles Lake Association and help support our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program and all our efforts to keep Skaneateles Lake clear and its waters pure.  Call 315-558-3142 for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you or join on line at

We thank the following for their sponsorship of a Steward for a day:  Michele Jenkins, Judith & Steven Zdep, Margaret & William Lee, Suzanne & David Nangle, Barbara & Robert Amsler, Suzanne & Scott McClurg, Cathy & Rick Fedrizzi, Merilly & Gerhart Heyer, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard, Casmir Bobowski, Mary & Michael Hearn, Joanne Viggiano & Kenneth Cannon, Alison & Richard Conley, Lorraine Gudas, Bob Honold, Chris & Bob Latella, Locust Lane Association, Eri Loberfeld, Sharon & Fredrick Singler, Jennifer & David Campanile, Laura & Sean O’Keefe and an Anonymous Donor.

We thank the following for support of the David Lee Hardy Fund:  Charles Major, Jeffrey Stregiel, Jennifer & David Campanile, Judy & John Varney, Judith Pearsall, Leah & Thomas Valenti.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Ann Hinchcliff, Patricia Orr, Paula White, Barbara Egtvedt, Judy & John Varney, Judy Pearsall, Leah & Thomas Valenti, Bartlett Tree Experts, Kathy & Kevin LaGrow, Rebecca Cohen & Brandan McGinn, Pam & Mike Odlum, Kate & Mott Pooley and an Anonymous Donor.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 12/10/2020

General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Fall Stewardship                                                              Fran Rotunno Fish

The season for our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards working to protect Skaneateles Lake from the introduction of additional invasive species and educating those who launch into the lake about what they need to do to protect the lake is over.  But the Fall season brings on a need for fall stewardship for Skaneateles Lake by everyone who lives in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed.

Being a fall steward of the lake may be different for watershed residents depending upon where they live, but there are things each of us can do in our fall stewardship of the Skaneateles Lake.

Beautiful as the fall leaves are and much as we might love watching the color change (or if you are still young or young at heart, jumping into piles of them) we need to contend with them in a way that protects the lake water.   Do not rake or blow them into the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a tributary/watercourse that runs to the lake.  Do not rake or blow them into a roadside ditch that leads to the lake.  If you live in the village of Skaneateles where there is leaf pick up do not rake or blow them so close to the curb that they will end up in the street where they can then end up in the storm sewers that drain into the lake.  Leaves are great sources of phosphorus and, of course, we do not want to feed nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms into the lake.  What you can do is mulch or have your landscaper mulch them very well and leave them on the lawn.  You can also gather them into your driveway and mulch them very well which will reduce their volume significantly and turn them into a great source of “winter coats” for your plants.  Those finely mulched leaves will both protect your plantings and feed them – no chemicals involved!  Of course, there is always the option of putting them into a contained area for composting or bagging them and bringing them to your municipal facility.  There is generally no need to winter fertilize your lawn…if you or your landscaper want to do so, please reconsider and confirm that it is necessary.

There is still time to plant native perennials, shrubs and trees.  Remember that a full-grown deciduous tree can filter up to 300 gallons of water a year and a full-grown evergreen tree can filter thousands of gallons of water a year.  Being a fall steward of the lake is considering giving the lake some gifts of greenery and color that help to control erosion and water runoff.

The Skaneateles Lake Association has several documents and resources available to you electronically or in paper copy that can help you make decisions about plantings that are good for the lake.  Just go to, click on the “contact us” tab and give us you name and number and we will call you promptly with resources that will be helpful.

For those of you who live on the waterfront, please move all of your equipment, furniture, “toys”, etc. as far away from the waterfront as you can.  Waves and winds are skilled waterfront thieves.  Even this summer a few wave, wind and rain events have “stolen” kayaks, sailboats, a section of a dock with railings and ladder attached, life jackets, a lawn chair and a deck board from a boat hoist.  While these things are a loss to the owner, such items out in the lake over the winter do not disappear and cam harm to people’s property and become a hazard to winter fisherman or boaters and swimmers when the lake “reopens” for business in the spring and summer.  It was difficult or impossible to find the owners of items “stolen” by the lake, reported to the SLA and placed on the SLA Lost and Found list on our website.  If you have items that you cannot, because of the terrain, move sufficiently distant from the shoreline, please secure them with tie downs and note you phone number or email on the item to facilitate their return.

If you have a mooring, remove your mooring buoy and attach a plastic bottle partially filled water sufficient to keep the bottle2 – 3 feet below the surface.  Leaving it above the water puts it at risk to ice which can pull the bottle off your mooring chain and leave your chain at the bottom of the lake and not easy to find or get to in the spring.  The ice can also pull the bottle and chain with mooring attached and move the position of the mooring to a “new” location.   It is also a good idea to be sure that your mooring chain is securely attached to the mooring itself.  This summer we had both a sailboat and a pontoon boat break away from their moorings.  The pontoon boat dragging its mooring buoy headed north on the lake with a potential for damaging other boats and docks on its way and the sailboat was grounded and damaged in a shallow area of the lake.

If you have a permanent dock check it is secured well to its footings and also check that the dock skirting, if any is also secure.  Again, more than once significant pieces of docking and skirting end up in the lake making them potentially dangerous to others and potentially damaging to the property of others.

Finally, you can be a STAR fall steward of Skaneateles Lake by jumping in and joining as an SLA member for 2020 TODAY.  Your membership will be effective for one full year from the date paid.  During the 4th quarter of each year, the SLA Board determines what funding it has for next year’s workplan.  Your 2020 membership paid now will have an impact on our plans.

We thank the following for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward:  Gwen Birchenough, Barbara & Richard Evans, Dorothy Krause.  We thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which also supports our Steward program:  Mary Beth & William Gleason and two anonymous donors.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a them potentially day or more:  Jessica & Toby Millman, Mary Beth & William Gleason, Kris Tech Wire Company.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Amy & David Allyn, Chacea & Donald Sundman, Jackie & Steve Miron, Barbara & Craig Froelich, Katherine & Joseph Compagni, Nancy & Douglas McDowell, Kris Tech Wire Company, Pam & Doug Hamlin, Gary Dower, Donna & William Davis, Carrie Lazarus & Dave Birchenough, Ann & Jim Higbee, Virginai & Gary  Shanley, Nancy & Ted Norman, Lynn & Chris Kelly, Christine Larsen & Vincent Dopulos, Candace & John Marsellus, Elmer Richards & Sons, Susan & Curt Andersson, Marjorie & Kenneth Blanchard, Alexandra & Robert Nicklas and four anonymous donors.

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 10/29/2020

General News

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Ongoing Milfoil Containment Project    Buzz Roberts & Fran Rotunno Fish

Many in our Skaneateles Lake community probably think that our Milfoil Containment Program begins in the late spring or early summer.  But actually, each year, the SLA program to contain the invasive weed, Eurasian Milfoil, begins in the fall.

During late August and early September, when weed growth is the highest, a pontoon boat specially equipped is utilized to survey the lake for large patches of milfoil in order to identify potential areas to be matted the following year. A side scan sonar is employed to identify the patches. Confirmation that these are truly milfoil is done with visual assessment and recorded by site location.  The sonar data and sit location data is then downloaded and sent to a company that analyses the information and a map of the areas identified is created.

The map of Skaneateles Lake with identified milfoil patches is then reviewed to determine the largest patches and also to determine which of those large patch areas can be matted.  While we always want to mat the largest patches as they are the largest source for further milfoil growth there are two other factors that weigh into the decision about what areas to mat.  The condition of the lake bottom has to be considered in determining if a potential area can be matted.  If the lake bottom has a deep layer of silt, we cannot mat the area.  It is not possible because our divers cannot work safely if they cannot see.  In areas where the lake bottom has deep silt, a dive’s foot placed on the bottom of the lake raises the silt with every step taken and they cannot see to safely do the work required to roll out the mats.  The process is not like the one you see on TV for new Empire carpeting where the cartoon character just flips the new carpet over the floor!  The second consideration that is part of the “where to place the matting” decision has to do with the slope of the lake bottom.  If the milfoil patch is located in an area of the lake where there is a significant slope to the bottom of the lake, the matting cannot be placed.  Even with rebar sewn into the mats every 6 feet, on a slope the mats can slip and move.  Not only will they not stay where placed, but they can also move enough to end up covering residents’ water intake pipes causing a problem with their water source and potentially damage to their water pumps.

After the areas to be matted are identified, the Milfoil Control effort moves into action in the spring of the following year.  Scuba divers are recruited and the 2 pontoon boats used and their motors are prepped for the season. By June the benthic (lake bottom) matting begins. With over 225 separate sections of matting making up the total 6 acres of matting, the Milfoil team selects the number and size of mats they need for each area to be matted and moves them by pontoon boat to each area to be matted.  The scuba divers roll out sections of the matts over designated Milfoil sites. These heavy matts have rebar metal rods sawn across them in sleeves placed at 6-foot intervals. The divers work in teams of four with 2 divers at a time in the lake, one pilot on the boat, and another one on the boat directing the operation, and in constant communication through headsets with the divers under the water.

Starting in August, the matts are rolled up with first down being rolled up first.   The team moves from site to site until all the mats are rolled up.  Then the work of picking up the rolled-up mats begins using a pontoon boat specially outfitted with a crane to lift the heavy mats onto the deck of the pontoon boat.  The mats are heavy when dry and, of course, heavier when wet.  Depending on the size of the mats they pick up mats until the pontoon boat is loaded and then the boat returns to the marina where the matts are lifted by crane to a truck and transported for winter storage.

Although complete eradication of Milfoil is not possible, this program prevents the takeover of Skaneateles Lake by this invasive macrophyte, which, left unchecked, would eventually cover a large surface area of the lake.:

We repeat the process every year and can expect to have to continue to do so to continue to contain expansion of the milfoil.  If you are out on the lake and see the milfoil team at work, give them a wave.  If you see the “diver down” marker, give them space.  The work the team does means they are cold even in their wet suits in the spring and hot in their wet suits as the summer progresses.

We thank the following for sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  Sarah & Kevin Goode, Margaret O’Connell & Eric Allyn, Patience Brewster & Holly Gregg, John Osborne, Jessica & Patrick Daniel, Johanna & Gianfranco Frittelli, Lakeview Auto and Marine (Bob, Terry and Rachael DeWitt), Laurel Moranz & John Macallister, Victoria & Richard Meyer and an Anonymous Donor.

We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boar for a day or multiple days:  Patricia & William McAvoy, Deborah & Joseph Augustine, Eleanor & Ben Ware, Wendy Blewett, Robert, Congel, Joan & Michael Niswender, The Coppo Family, Nancy & Guy Easter, Julie & Joe Scuderi, Beth & Bob Filiczkowski, Elizabeth Downes & Patrick Doyle, Patience Brewster & Holly Gregg, Linda & Bruce Kenan, Mary Knepper & Susan Mark, Ann & William Lynn, Steve Mott, Lauren Moranz & John Macallister, Mary Pat & Dan Suits, Joseph McCaffrey, Kelly & Gregory Weaver, Barbara Kay & George Bristol, Lakeview Auto and Marine (Bob, Terry and Rachael DeWitt), Peg Kelly, Mary Jane & Gary Lowery, Nicole Way Allyn, Donna & Raymond Kurlak,

Source:  Skaneateles Press Observer 10/8/2020

General News

Al’s Place….A Shelter for the SLA Stewards      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fran Rotunno Fish


Alfred Coon was the Town of Scott Fuller Park Ranger when SLA President Paul Torris…i and SLA Board Member Buzz Roberts who is in charge of the SLA’s Invasive Species Monitoring Program first met at Fuller Park.  Al was quick to point out to Paul and Buzz that while it was great that we had Stewards at the Park help ensure that boats and trailers were not carrying any invasive species that we were missing a lot of boats.  He noted that our Steward came on duty at 8 am, but the fishing boats were arriving much earlier.

Paul and Buzz, noting that Al lived just about on top of Fuller Park were quick to ask Al if he would like to be one of our Stewards.  All agreed and became our first Senior Steward.  Al had long been a steward of the lake he loved; indeed, he was a guardian of the lake.  His commitment to his role as an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward came to set a standard for our high school and college students and lead to the SLA expanding our use of “senior” stewards

Al’s passing a year and a half ago was a loss to the SLA and our program, but his legacy of commitment to protecting the lake from invasive species and doing his job 100% set a standard that has had a lasting impact on all of our SLA Stewards and one that is shared as new Stewards join our program.

The SLA wanted to honor Al in a special way that would encourage the memory of him and his standard for performing his job and we were assisted with a generous donation from the Columbian Foundation which has funded other SLA purchases in the past.

The Fuller Park Launch in the Town of Scott had no shelter for our Stewards who are there rain or shine in both hot and cold weather.  There was no shelter for them in unpleasant weather and no place to store their supplies, rain gear, lunch, etc.

like the one at the NYS DEC Boar Launch in Skaneateles and the Board determined that it could be our tribute to Al Coon.

A beautiful black walnut sign was crafted by Tim Johnson, Environmental Scientist with Anchor QEA and Skaneateles resident, who is working with SLA’s Lake Ecology Team in helping to identify and design watershed restoration and remediation to better control nutrient runoff and prevent Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).   The sign was crafted from wood from Tim’s family farm with the following inscription “Al’s Place.  In memory of Al Coon, Senior Steward Skaneateles Lake Association with generous funding from the Columbian Foundation.”

We unveiled the sign hanging on the shed on Tuesday, July 21.  We were pleased to have  Al’s wife, Nancy; Town Board Member, Andrew Fuller who donated the funds for the park and its maintenance; Columbian Foundation Board Members David Graham and Susan Cox and a group of Al’s friends and neighbors in attendance along with  SLA Board President Paul Torrisi and Board members Buzz Roberts and Fran Fish; SLA Executive director, Frank Moses, some of our SLA Stewards; and the sign’s creator,, Tim Johnson..

Right now residents of the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Community and all who benefit from the lake as a drinking water source, a place for recreation or a promotion of business can join us in honoring Al in several was:  become a member of the  SLA;  sponsor a Steward for a day in Al’s memory; and take our Lake Friendly Land Care Pledge and request a Lake Friendly Land Care sign on your property.

You can do all of these things online at or call 315-558-3142 for assistance to do so.

We thank the following for supporting a Steward for a day:  Gwen Birchenough, Marvin & Patti Longley, John & Susan Solomon, David & Jacqueline Eng, Jayne Howard, James & Emily Johnson, Julie Abbot Kenan, Linda Ahern, Bill & Jane Cummings, Paul & Joy Charmandy, Margot McCormack, William & Sandra Nichols, Kristopher Scholl, Ian & Kary Raddant, James & Nancy Marquardt, David & Joyce Larrison, Gianfranco & Johanna Frittelli, Dennis & Ashby Longwell, John Macallister & Laurel Moranz, Bill & Jen Warning, James & Racquel Vlassis, Barbara Egtvedt, Bruce & Patti Texeira, Ann Hinchcliff, Ann Killian, John & Wendy Kopley, Robert & Christine Pierce, Cate & Sally, Neil & Alice Houser, and 2 Anonymous Donors.

We thank the following for contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund which provides support to our Invasive Species Monitoring Stewards Program:  David &  Fagliarone, Gwen Birchenough, Jeffrey Stregiel, Clayton Theisen, Judd Seales, Christ & Cathi Pickney, John & Frances McNerney, Richard Lynch, Richard & Janice Wiles, Donald Babcock & Caroline Kaye, William & Sandra Nichols, Kristopher Scholl, Doug & Bev Smith, Janice Hardy, F. J. Estlinbaum Barge & Crane, Jim & Sharon O’Connell, Kimball Clark, Francine Devitt, John Macallister & Laurel Moranz, Robert Warfield, Patty Orr, Lois Exner, Jim & Patti Hertz, Chris Johnson & Jean Shook, Gregory Kenian & Mary Ellen Faughnan, Craig & Rhonda Richards, Paula White, Joseph & Catherine Compagni

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