The members of the Lake George Association have overwhelmingly approved its merger with The FUND for Lake George to create a new, preeminent lake protection organization that officials called “a historic and inspiring show of support for the future of Lake George protection.”
Ninety-eight percent of LGA voters voted in favor of the merger. The plan now goes to the Office of the New York State Attorney General for final review and approval.
Officials said the newly created organization will retain the LGA name. The LGA was founded in 1885.
“The future of Lake George protection is brighter than ever,” said Pete Menzies, president of the LGA board of directors. “We are thrilled and thankful to the LGA membership for their tremendous vote of confidence in what these two outstanding organizations will be able to accomplish together. As they always do, LGA members have stepped up to protect Lake George.”
Jeff Killeen, chairman of The FUND for Lake George and the chairman-elect of the new organization, said, “We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity and responsibility that has been granted to us. With so many water quality threats looming, Lake George has never needed us more. And I can say without hesitation that our combined staff, board of directors, members and many community partners are up for the challenge. The new LGA will bring our Lake’s already-unrivaled level of protection to new and essential heights.”
The new LGA will be focused on action, working collaboratively with public and private sector partners to achieve breakthrough performance in water quality protection programs that are guided by world-class science and supported by community education, awareness and advocacy, officials said.
Protection programs will focus on the Lake’s most pressing threats: harmful algal blooms; nutrient loading from wastewater and stormwater runoff; invasive species, both aquatic and the new terrestrial threat, hemlock wooly adelgid; and road salt contamination; all of which are compounded by the effects of a changing climate.
Mounting pressure on the Lake’s water quality was a driving factor in bringing the two organizations together.
The new LGA will be led by Eric Siy, currently executive director of The FUND for Lake George, who will become president of the new LGA, and Walt Lender, currently executive director of the Lake George Association, who will serve as senior vice president.
“The incredible team that will make up the new LGA has been working closely together in preparation for the formal merger,” said Siy. “Their expertise and dedication, combined with the power of our many partners and the worldclass science and technologies of the Jefferson Project,create a truly one-of-akind commitment to protecting a one-of-a-kind natural treasure.”
“The threats to the Lake’s water quality are unrelenting, and the new LGA will be relentless in combatting them,” said Lender. “From our citizen scientists to world-leading research, from public education and advocacy to results-driven protection programs, we will employ state-of-the-art practices to keep Lake George clean and clear for generations to come.”
The following officers and directors have been elected to the new LGA board from among members of the existing LGA and FUND boards:
Killeen, chairman; Menzies, vice chairman; William Creighton, treasurer; Roy Davis, secretary; Dr. Mary Caravella, member of executive committee; Keith Ferguson, member of executive committee; Thomas West, member of executive committee; I. Robert Wolgin, member of executive committee; and board members Bob Bailey, Lucinda Bhavsar, James Casaccio, Geoff Cook, Charles Crew, William Dutcher, Dr. Linda Schadler Feist, George R. Hearst III, Victor Hershaft, Blair Keller, Dr. John E. Kelly III, Ginger Henry Kuenzel, George Morris, Dennis O’Connor and Ken Parlin.