CSLAP: Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program

Since 2004, the LGA has participated in the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), coordinated by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the NYS Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA)

Each year, LGA volunteers monitor several sites in both the north and south basins of the Lake.  Water samples must be collected 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 NYS DEC with invaluable data for the long-term management of lakes throughout the state. 

CSLAP Reports
The NYS DEC analyzes the data and provides us with a report for each year.

Year
Main Report
Reports by Sampling Location
2014
 

2013

Summary

2012

Summary

 

2011

 

Summary

 

2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004

 

10 Year 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 chlorophyll a readings 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 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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Scott Kishbaugh, NYS DEC CSLAP coordinator, shows volunteers how to use the sampling equipment during a training session on the Lake.

In June of 2009, Scott Kishbaugh, NYS DEC CSLAP program coordinator, gave a presentation on what we learned to date about Lake George water quality. A copy of Scott's presentation is available for download here. (It is a 4.3 mb pdf file).

 

 

 

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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