The FUND for Lake George recently released
its State of the Lake: Chief Concerns as
Revealed by Science and the Fate of the Lake:
A Blueprint for Protection” report.
This two-volume set focuses on the fundamental
threats the organization feels are
facing Lake George, a prime tourist attraction
that has a huge impact on the area’s economy.
Among the issues, the report said, are invasive
species, rising salt levels, and declining
water quality and clarity.
The publication calls for “an unprecedented
commitment to reversing present trends and
preventing Lake George from slipping into a
state of irreversible decline.”
The report said 30 years of water quality
monitoring (conducted by Rensselaer’s Darrin
Fresh Water Institute and underwritten by The
FUND) has revealed a complex, yet solvable,
set of problems. These include: invasive and
introduced species stressing the lake’s native
species and food web; an alarming threefold
increase in salt concentrations from road deicing
favoring blue green algae that can be
toxic; measurable declines in water clarity
with ensuing impacts on key species including
the lake’s Nitella meadows, considered vital
to maintaining clarity; increased nutrient
loading from stormwater runoff, wastewater,
fertilizer use, and land disturbance; and a
significant rise in chlorophyll concentrations
reflecting increases in algal growth.
“Scientific knowledge of the past generation
provides an historic opportunity to protect
Lake George for the next,” said FUND Executive
Director Eric Siy. “Central to success are
concerted actions that unite all those with a
stake in the fate of the lake.”
Measures to address the issues include
partnerships, innovation, and investment as
the three pillars for lasting success, according
to the report. These measures form the core
of The FUND’s Legacy Strategy adopted in
early 2013 with one goal: stopping the present
decline of water quality and achieving sustained protection of Lake George for the
The report notes that broad resolve and
shared investment produced the first mandatory
invasive species inspection and decontamination
program east of the Mississippi.
Catalyzed by The FUND, The S.A.V.E. (Stop
Aquatic inVasives from Entering) Lake George
Partnership demonstrated the fresh approach
needed–diverse public and private interests
acting in common purpose on behalf of the
lake’s ecological and economic importance,
recognizing that the two go hand-in-hand.
The report said leveraging its success and
guided by latest science, S.A.V.E. will focus
on the need to put the lake on a low salt diet.
In this pursuit, S.A.V.E.’s purpose expands to
mean: Salt Abatement is Vital to the Ecology of
Lake George. Moreover, S.A.V.E.’s geographic
reach also expands to advance invasives prevention
as urgently needed throughout the
Adirondack region, using the same playbook
developed and implemented at Lake George.
Given the mounting invasives threat, regionwide
prevention will be key to long-term success
of the Lake George program.
Following suit are measures addressing
water quality and clarity concerns, as well
as an annotated list of investment priorities,
totaling nearly $2 million for 2015.
“Direct investment in tangible solutions,
and the science that will ensure their effectiveness,
provides the single-best method for
achieving results at the pace and scale now
required,” the report states.
“Lake George remains one of the nation’s
most loved natural treasures,” said Jeff
Killeen, chairman of The FUND’s Board of
Trustees. “Despite mounting pressures, lasting
protection of the lake can be largely achieved
through preventive measures, such as the
invasive species program. Together, with clear
vision and commitment, we will leave a living
legacy, for which future generations will surely
thank us,” Killeen said.