West Brook Conservation Initiative (see a video click here)
An Historic Effort to Preserve Lake George.
Above: May 2012 Conceptual Plan for North Parcel:
Drawings of Concepts for the Environmental Park - August 2011. Top: Bathrooms; Middle: Children's Play Fountain; Bottom: Bridge over West Brook Road with Fire Tower.
October 24, 2012 - Wright Family Foundation approved a $500,000 grant to support creation of the Children’s Adventure Play Area. (Read news release here.)
September 24, 2012 - The Stormwater Treatment Complex on the South Parcel is complete. Top soil has gone in and 20,000 native trees, plants and shrubs have been installed. The system will not be turned on (to treat stormwater) until next spring, to allow time for the plants to become established. Read the Sept 2012 UPDATE here (with more about all the plants.)
May 2012 - Exciting concepts for Children's Adventure Play Area in the Environmental Park (north parcel) reviewed... see a several page handout here - pdf.
October 2011 - A public OPEN HOUSE to review the preferred concept plan, and next steps. See the presentation here - pdf.
The lake saving project of a LIFE TIME.
The biggest threat to Lake George is stormwater runoff that enters the Lake. Every time it rains, stormwater carries sediment and along with it pollutants, chemicals, and nutrients into the Lake. Currently, fifty percent of all contaminants entering the South Basin of Lake George enter via West Brook, and from there they travel throughout the Lake.
Sodium levels have doubled in only 20 years and total phosphorus levels have increased as well. In the Caldwell Basin, a deepwater basin located within the south basin of Lake George, dangerously low dissolved oxygen levels occur during the last few weeks of summer. The West Brook delta, the result of excessive sediment in the brook, has grown to over 7,000 square meters and is easily viewed from the shoreline.
So what did we do?
We formed a partnership with two other environmental organizations, the Lake George Land Conservancy and the Fund for Lake George, and two municipalities, the village of Lake George and Warren County, to create a project that would protect Lake George for many years to come. The project's name isthe West Brook Conservation Initiative (WBCI). The two municipalities (2 Ms) own the land and the three environmental organizations (3 Es) own the conservation easement over the land, forming a joint venture that will oversee this historic project through to completion.
The 2 Ms and 3 Es purchased 12 acres of land and the conservation easement surrounding West Brook -- the old Gaslight Village property -- and designed a state-of-the-art environmental park to treat stormwater runoff from Route 9 and surrounding properties. The project includes a settling pond, marsh areas, gravel wetlands and a deep water pond that will remove sediment and nutrients from the stormwater before it is redirected back into West Brook and Lake George. This natural filtering system will treat millions of gallons of stormwater before it enters the Lake.
A new gateway to the Lake will replace the old dilapidated buildings and crumbling asphalt that for years greeted visitors to Lake George. A new park setting with nature trails, exhibits, gazebos, benches, overlooks and native plantings will greet visitors as they arrive. The trails will meander throughout the property with overlooks and interpretative signage explaining both the processes that are filtering the stormwater, as well as the types of plants and structures that are doing the work.
Where we are now.
Construction of the stormwater treatment complex on the south parcel was completed in the Fall of 2012. Prior to that, buildings on both the north and south parcels were demolished. (See a slide show of Charley's Saloon demolition).
Elan Planning and Design has designed environmental park features for both parcels. During the summer of 2011, public planning charettes were held to gather input for this process. (See a summary powerpoint - pdf of the public planning sessions here.) A few of the design concepts from this planning process are shown at the top of the page on the left. In May of 2012 plans for the Children's Adventure Play Area were released. (see above left.)
Prior to all this, we:
- Completed the necessary environmental assessments: soils, ground water, archaeology, ground penetrating radar, historic structures, appraisals and surveys.
- Received federal, state and local support from NYS Parks and Recreation, USDA Urban Reforestation, NYS Quality Communities, the NYS Dept. of State Title 11 Environmental Protection Fund, the NYS Dept. of Transportation and the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation.
- Engaged other partners: the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
We still need your help. In 2008, the FUND for Lake George and Lake George Association took out a $2.1 million loan to purchase the conservation easement on the 12-acre Gaslight Village tract. We are now within $600,000 of our fundraising goal for this easement, and have received some very generous gifts.
Join our historic efforts. Be a part of the most important Lake Saving Project in Lake George history and help us preserve Lake George for future generations. Contact Nancy Cobb-Zoll at the LGA - 518-668-3558 to make your donation or to receive a copy of the WBCI informational brochure.