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Grants Will Support Education And Conservation Projects On Lake George

Lucas Willard

A non-profit organization that works to educate the public in preserving Lake George has received $20,000 in grants to support programs mitigating storm runoff and teaching students.
The Lake George Association has received two grants from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. The program works in partnership with government agencies and non-profits in New York, Vermont, and Quebec to support efforts in conserving Lake Champlain and surrounding waterways.

 The LGA has received $7,500 to support its Floating Classroom program.

 Executive Director Walt Lender said the funding is vital to the program that takes school-age children from across the region onto the lake for hands-on learning.

 “They learn about the food web on Lake George, how actions that they can take affect the water quality both in a good way or in a bad way, and this is a message that they bring home to their families, and they learn how to protect water – not just Lake George’s water - but water quality everywhere,” said Lender. “And then they become the next generation of stewards for water quality protection.”

 Since 2008, more than 9,000 students have been brought aboard the Floating Classroom.

 The other LCBP grant is more than $13,000 to assist in stormwater mitigation in a Lake George neighborhood.

 As part of a watershed assessment by the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, homeowners in the Lake View Estates neighborhood and the LGA have determined potential projects to prevent stormwater runoff and pollutants from entering the lake.

 Lender said many of the projects were identified by walking through the neighborhood and talking with property owners.

 “It could be putting in a sediment retention basin, it could be putting in some sort of swirl-separator unit to stop sediment from getting into the water, putting water directly into the groundwater so that it infiltrates and goes back where it belongs, and that way we keep untreated stormwater out of lakes and streams and out of Lake George.”

 Visible projects such as raingardensalso have the benefit of teaching neighbors to help protect the lake.

Lake Champlain Basin Program Technical Coordinator Eric Howe said the grants that target small projects can have a larger impact.

 “In particular these projects have the benefit of reducing runoff and pollution, but they also often can have side benefits of educating the public and making folks in the area more aware of water quality issues and things they can do on their own personal property to reduce runoff to the watershed.”

 As soon as the ice melts, the Lake George Park Commission, working with partners including the LGA, will work to educate the public further on the dangers of invasive species by conducting the second season of Lake George’s mandatory boat washing program.

 Lender said the LGA will have staff available at several sites throughout the area, including at the boat washing stations, to promote stopping the spread of aquatic invaders.

 “We’re going to be stepping up our outreach efforts this year, and we feel that it’s just a great way, a very easy way for people to understand why we’re doing this mandatory inspection program, and why we’re washing boats, and why this regulation has been put into place.”

 Included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal is a $1 million increase in the Environmental Protection Fund specifically for the purpose of preventing the spread of aquatic invasives.

 Advocates including the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program are seeking funding to support boat inspection efforts across the Adirondack region.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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