Lake Assessment Program for Lake George

Citizen Scientists perform water assessments such as taking water clarity readings in Lake George.
Part of the program includes using a Secchi disk to measure the clarity of Lake George. In 2016, the LGA tested water clarity in the north end of the lake and got a clarity reading of nearly 40 feet.

Since 2004, the LGA has regularly participated in the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), a Citizen Science program where trained volunteers assist Lake George Association staff in collecting data about conditions in various areas of the Lake in order to help assess the Lake’s overall health.

In Lake George, our citizen scientists monitor sites in both the north and south areas of the Lake. The citizen scientists perform water clarity tests with a Secchi disk, collect water samples to be analyzed for certain chemicals, and communicate the conditions of the Lake at the time of each sampling.

The sampling and testing must be completed once a week, every week for eight weeks, from the same location, from June through October. Samples are then shipped to a laboratory for analysis. This program provides the Lake George Association and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with invaluable data for the long-term management of lakes throughout the state.

The program is coordinated by the DEC and the NYS Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA).

CSLAP Historical Reports for Lake George

Year
Main Report
Reports by Sampling Location
2014

2013

Summary

2012

Summary

2011

Summary

2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

 

10 Year Lake George CSLAP Data Trends: 2004-2013

Water quality parameters collected include water temperature, water clarity, conductivity, pH, true color, total phosphorus, nitrogen, chlorophyll a, and calcium. Based on water clarity, total phosphorus readings and readings of chlorophyll a, the Lake continues to be characterized as oligotrophic at all sites. It can also continue to be characterized as a slightly alkaline, softwater, uncolored lake with low nitrogen levels.

The ten years of clarity readings show a slight decrease in clarity at the Diamond Island site but it is not known if this is part of a longer-term trend since none of the other trophic indicators has exhibited similar changes at that site. Water clarity readings have increased slightly over the same period at the Basin Bay and Crown Island sites, and the rise in water transparency at the Crown Island site was coincident with a decrease in phosphorus readings over the same period. Phosphorus readings have increased slightly at the Huletts Landing site over the last decade, but none of the other trophic indicators have changed over the same period. All of these changes have been small.

Lake productivity is slightly higher in the southern sites, based on slightly lower water clarity and slightly higher nutrient levels. However, lake productivity is low at all sites, and nutrient and algae levels suggest that no significant changes in water clarity are likely to occur in at least the near future.

Parameter Importance Long Term Trends Trend Graph
Water temperature
Water temperature affects the growth of plants and animals and the amount of oxygen in the water. It also affects the length of the water recreation season.
  • Surface temps increasing Huletts Landing
  • Slightly lower bottom temps at most sites suggests weak thermal stratification

 

water temperature graph

Water clarity

Water clarity is measured with a secchi disk to measure how far down into the water column you can see.
  • Increasing Basin Bay and Crown Island (decreasing Diamond Island)
  • Readings/sites typical of oligotrophic lakes

 

lake assessment water clarity graph
Conductivity
Conductivity measures the amount of dissolved and suspended materials in the water, including salts and organic material. The amount of particles in the water may be related to geology or land use practices.
  • No trends; increasing at Huletts Landing
  • Most readings still typical of lakes with softwater

 

Lake George conductivity graph
pH
pH measures water acidity. A pH value between 6 and 9 supports most types of plant and animal life.
  • No trends apparent any sites
  • Most readings typical of circumneutral to slightly alkaline lakes

 

Lake George PH trends
Color
Water color is affected by organic matter (decaying plants). The color of water can affect water clarity and influence plant growth by limiting the amount of sunlight that can pass through the water.
  • No trend; color increasing Huletts Landing
  • Most readings typical of uncolored lakes; likely no effect on clarity

 

Lake George Color readings
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is an important nutrient for the growth of aquatic plants and animals in lakes. Too much phosphorus can harm aquatic life, water supplies, and recreational uses.
  • No trends seen (decreasing Crown Island)
  • Most readings typical of oligotrophic lakes, similar to chlorophyll and clarity levels

 

Nitrogen
Nitrogen is also an important nutrient for the growth of aquatic plants and animals in lakes. Too much nitrogen can harm aquatic life, water supplies and recreational uses.
  • Low NOx, ammonia and TN all sites

 

Lake George Nitrogen levels
Chlorophyll a
Chlorophyll a is the primary pigment in green plants and estimates the amount of algae in a lake. The amount of chlorophyll a may be influenced by the amount of phosphorus and can affect the water clarity.
  • No trends apparent at any sampling sites
  • Most readings typical of oligotrophic lakes, consistent with clarity and TP readings

 

Lake George Chlorophyll a levels
Calcium
Calcium is an important nutrient for most aquatic organisms and is required for mussel shell growth. Calcium enters lakes through natural limestone deposits. Calcium concentration is related to lake conductivity and improves the lake’s buffering capacity to acid rain.
  • No trends apparent at any sites
  • Most readings indicate some susceptibility to zebra mussels, found in isolated sites

 

Calcium levels in Lake George
Use Impairment Surveys
Four question survey on the Field Observation Form that capture the user’s observations of the quality of the lake for recreational use. This information is then linked to the water quality data.
  • No trends apparent
  • Recreational perception very highly favorable at all sites

 

Lake George use Impairment Survey Results

For reports for other waterbodies visit the NYSFOLA website here. For more information about the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program in New York, please visit the NYS Federation of Lake Associations.

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All the money raised by the Lake George Association stays in the Lake George watershed and is used to protect Lake George projects from Ticonderoga to Lake George Village.
Lake George Association

Lake George Association