ALA 1Q23 Newsletter
Happy Mud Season! Our pictured otter is praying for the roads to open up and looking forward to another summer season on the Averill Lakes. We have a few ALA headlines for you as we approach Memorial Day...
2023-2025 Strategic Planning Process and the Annual Meeting
Wake sports. Aquatic Invasive Species. Cyanobacterial blooms in oligotrophic lakes. Last season was a jolt and I am very proud of how our leaders, members, and community stakeholders responded whether in community science initiatives, forming partnerships with other lake associations, lobbying and testimony before the DEC, and creating awareness around the Vermont Lake Wise program.
I have also finished my 4th course at Paul Smith's College as part of my Masters in Natural Resources Conservation program (with an Aquatics concentration). Paul Smith's also hosts the Adirondack Watershed Institute which has and will be a great resources for the ALA. This year's course was focused on the Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems. Among the numerous assignments was a deep dive case study on the mitigation and control of milfoil on Upper Saranac Lake and a super deep dive highly researched final project on lake association, lake manager, and/or watershed manager reactive and proactive management and decision making processes with regards to cyanobacterial blooms. Both of these were sobering on numerous dimensions and shared with the leadership team. Because of what we experienced last season, the pending wake sports rule, and the increasing threats of AIS, cyanobacterial blooms that have been detected on other pristine lakes, and other threats we have decided to go through a formal strategic planning process to draft a recommended 3 year proactive plan for our lakes. The board and leadership will be on retreat on May 27th to shape the plan which we will flesh out during the summer and present and discuss at our Annual Meeting on August 26th.
Pilot Greeter Program on Big Averill (July 2023)
Aquatic invasive species are spread by overland transport of watercraft, trailers, and fishing and recreational equipment. The most effective way to prevent spread is through education and equipment inspections designed to catch invasive species "hitching a ride" from one waterbody to another. Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species is far more effective and economically sensible than eradicating invasive species once they are established. My case study on Upper Saranac Lake showed it cost $1.5M to eradicate most of the milfoil and they budget $150K annually to keep it in check in perpetuity. I have attached a link to the case study here.
With support from Vermont DEC, Public Access Greeters educate lake visitors about invasive species, provide courtesy watercraft inspections, and STOP introductions. Since 2002, the Vermont Public Access Greeter Program has expanded operation to access points at 32 lakes and ponds statewide. The total number of inspected watercrafts has increased since the program's inception, with 404 inspected in 2002 to 31,052 in 2022. In 2022, Greeters intercepted and removed 530 instances of aquatic invasive species. Of these AIS intercepts, 451 were Eurasian watermilfoil found in Upper Saranac.
This past winter we decided that we would embark on a one month greeter pilot program this summer under the leadership of ALA board member Susan Gresser and in cooperation with Kim Jensen from the VT Aquatic Invasive Program. We are proud to say that 50% of the slots for the pilot have been filled by volunteers. If you have interest in participating in the greeter pilot please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will let you know how the pilot went at the Annual Meeting and here at averilllakes.org.
Recent Website Updates
"Opting in" for Wake boat Prohibition
As part of our proactive stance - we are not waiting for the final rule to be approved and promulgated and then react. A small working team is already drafting a petition to opt-in for wake boat prohibition once the rule goes live. There is a formal process for writing and submitting petitions on the DEC website and it is quite involved. Once the petition is drafted we will also post it here on the website.
On behalf of the leadership team and Board of Directors of the Averill Lakes Association, we wish you a Happy Spring and look forward to seeing you up at the Lakes soon.
President, Averill Lakes Association