The Lake George Association has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to share its model for success with freshwater researchers and communities around the world.
“What an incredible honor and opportunity,” said LGA board chairman Jeff Killeen. “For the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to recognize the tremendous advancements we are making in freshwater protection at Lake George and how our model can benefit water bodies around the world is both deeply humbling and incredibly energizing.”
LGA president Eric Siy said the LGA, supported by the science and technology of The Jefferson Project and the highly targeted research and analysis of the Lake George Waterkeeper, “has created a culture of commitment among regional public officials, businesses, and property owners toward Lake Protection that is delivering breakthrough results in water quality.
“With the generous and visionary help of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, we are now poised to share our success with others and play an even more meaningful role in protecting the world’s most important natural resource, our finite fresh water supply.”
Over a multi-year period, the LGA will utilize the Hearst grant to:
• Expand the research being undertaken by The Jefferson Project environmental research collaboration at Lake George, Chautauqua Lake, and Skaneateles Lake to better understand the causes of harmful algal blooms (HABs), the reasons why some HABs become toxic, and the best ways to prevent them, and share that knowledge world-wide.
• Create world-class educational resources and events for scientists, researchers and freshwater advocates, focused on the world’s most significant freshwater threats and how they are being successfully addressed at Lake George.
• Expand a digital personal protection platform now being built for use by Lake George property owners into a global engagement tool, including an online technical forum for anyone in the world to ask questions and learn the latest on freshwater protection work, as well as guidance from practitioners employing the LGA Lake Protection Model.
Over the past decade, the LGA’s science-to-solutions approach to freshwater protection has engendered the robust support of state and local government leaders, property owners and the regional business community, the organization said.
Major accomplishments include creation of a strong aquatic invasive species prevention program; a best practices program for reducing the use of harmful winter road salt; and programs to facilitate improvements in wastewater and stormwater management.
Now in development is perhaps the most meaningful direct protection program in LGA history, officials said, calling on property owners, businesses and organizations in the Lake George watershed to become Lake Protectors by taking direct protective actions on their properties to better control stormwater and wastewater and accelerate the progress of protection.