May 16, 2023
First-of-its-Kind Lake-wide Technology Delivers Personalized, Science-based Protection Profiles
The Lake George Association (LGA) is excited to announce the launch of a web app that provides residential and commercial property owners across the Lake’s watershed with an evaluation of their property’s physical characteristics and how they may be impacting Lake George. Accompanying each Profile are personalized, science-based recommendations people can implement to protect water quality. This empowering program is meant for everyone. Both property-owners and non-property owners can register for the free LGA Lake Protector™ Profile here to help keep Lake George clear and clean.
“Our LGA Lake Protector™ Profiles provide need-to-know information that helps guide participation in protection for all who love Lake George,” said LGA President Eric Siy. “And the LGA team is here to help ensure we succeed.”
Combining a wealth of publicly available data with geospatial mapping technology, the LGA science and technical team has created personalized LGA Lake Protector™ Profiles for 9,300 developed properties in the Lake George watershed (vacant lands and New York State-properties are not included). The profiles feature eight key physical characteristics that can influence water quality and provide property-specific recommendations for mitigating associated threats. The eight characteristics included for each property are:
- Impervious Surface
- Critical Environmental Area
- Water Resource Area
- Septic System
Stopping Excess Nutrients Is Vital to Lake Protection
The LGA’s Personalized Protection Profiles cover a variety of water quality threats, but are particularly focused on reducing the amount of excess nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, that enter the Lake from stormwater runoff and failing septic systems. Excess nutrients lead to excessive algae growth and the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs). While the HAB outbreaks in Lake George thus far have been non-toxic, relatively small, and short-lived, the Lake is certainly not immune to the types of toxic and widespread HABs that have devastated other lakes and lake-based economies in recent years.
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation flows across surfaces and into the Lake, picking up nutrients and other contaminants along the way. Runoff is exacerbated by steep slopes, lack of mature trees, type of soil, and impervious surfaces, such as asphalt and roofs. It is also compounded by the increasing number and severity of storms, due to climate change.
Septic systems become a hazard when inadequately treated wastewater enters the Lake through groundwater or streams. A comprehensive study by the Lake George Waterkeeper, a program of the LGA, has found that two-thirds of the approximately 6,000 septic systems in the Lake George Basin are likely in need of repair or replacement. The Lake George Park Commission recently approved a mandatory septic system inspection and pump-out program for those systems closest to the Lake and associated waters, but it’s imperative that all septic system owners be vigilant about proper system maintenance.
“Just as we've put Lake George on a low-salt diet through the LGA’s Lake George Road Salt Reduction Initiative, we need to put it on a low-nutrient diet to help reduce the risk of HABs,” Mr. Siy said. “But unlike road salt reduction, which is highly dependent on the work of local municipalities, nutrient-reduction requires the help of every individual property owner.”
App Is First Step in Protecting Lake George
The launch of the new web app is just the start of the LGA’s Lake Protector™ Program. Once a property owner has accessed their Lake Protector™ Profile, members of the LGA science and technical team will be available to guide them on implementing their protection recommendations.
The LGA is also beginning to plan for future generations of the app, with new interactive features that will further educate and empower everyone to become LGA Lake Protectors™.