Runoff carved away the sand and carried it into the Lake at Bixby Beach in Bolton Landing.

Stormwater Runoff is the Biggest Threat to Lake George

Stormwater runoff isn’t just a problem along roads and commercial areas -- homes and driveways and other impervious surfaces can also cause problems. The LGA's Lake George Watershed Data Atlas (2016) determined that 8.2 percent of the watershed can be described as disturbed or developed - and a large amount of phosphorous that enters the Lake as surface runoff likely comes from those areas.

Click here to see what the Lake George Association is doing to protect Lake George from the largest threat to the Lake's water quality.

What is stormwater runoff ?
After a storm, water that falls on soil can infiltrate down into the ground and eventually into the groundwater. Water that falls on impervious surfaces (such as roads, driveways, patios and parking lots) does not soak into the ground; instead the water flows across those surfaces.

The water flows at increased speed across those surfaces, scouring oils, salt, and sediment carrying phosphorous or other chemicals. The flow carries the pollutants downward in the watershed and eventually deposits those pollutants into the Lake.

The English Brook Delta. October 2010.

What are the effects of stormwater runoff?

  • Sediments can cloud water, affecting plants, fish, and other aquatic life;
  • Sediments can form deltas, impeding navigation and lake access, and providing ideal habitat for invasive species;
  • Excess nutrients can cause increases in algal growth;
  • Bacteria and pathogens can make water unsafe for drinking and swimming;
  • Debris - such as plastic bags - can suffocate or disable aquatic life such as ducks or turtles;
  • Household hazardous wastes such as pesticides, paints, or motor oil can poison aquatic life;
  • Road salt from the winter increases chloride levels in the lake.

All of these effects:

  • Lead to a loss in water quality;
  • Increase the cost to treat our water to make it safe for drinking;
  • Hurt the economy by impacting tourism and property values.
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