2019 Stream Sampling Reveals Continued Clean Source Waters

Multiple streams feeding Lake George continue to be unimpaired, according to the fifth year of sampling by the LGA and citizen scientists as part of a New York State program.

“The LGA’s mission is to protect water quality, and part of that mission means monitoring the streams for environmental impacts,” said Kristen Wilde, Director of Education for the Lake George Association. “The monitoring is important because 55% of the Lake’s water comes from the streams in the watershed.”

The sampling is done as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program, a citizen-based water quality assessment program developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Its purpose is to train and enable citizen scientists to collect biological data to be used to assess the water quality of wadeable streams in New York State.

“We are pleased both to help New York understand the water quality of Lake George and its streams, as well as extend the knowledge we have gained as part of this program,” said Wilde. “The WAVE program is an efficient and effective way of using our resources to detect changes in the quality of the water over time.”

The citizen scientists collect samples of macroinvertebrates in the streams. If a sample contains six or more pollution-intolerant (or “Most Wanted”) macroinvertebrates, the stream is defined as having “no known impact.” DEC defines that as assessment as “healthy in that there is no observed impact to the aquatic life.” The number aquatic life sampled determine whether the stream is “possibly impaired” – a conclusion that has not been found in the streams in the Lake George watershed. If a stream is designated as possibly impaired, a follow-up study is planned to more certainly determine the problem.

During the 2019 WAVE sampling season, 19 volunteers and LGA staff collected 23 samples from 17 streams in the Lake George watershed.

Of the 23 samples, 11 show that there is no known impact to the aquatic life. Twelve of the samples were determined to have “No Conclusion,” meaning neither six or more “most wanted” species nor four or more “least wanted” species were found.

“We know that all the work done by the LGA in the past to restore streams and stop polluted stormwater is helping protect both the stream health and the Lake’s health,” said Walt Lender, Executive Director of the Lake George Association.

“The study is good news, of course, but isn’t the complete picture,” Wilde said. “The important point to recognize is that this is a study of the biological conditions of these streams – indicating they have no known impact – but this program doesn’t evaluate excess nutrients, excess bacteria, or other concerns.”

2020 will be the sixth year that the LGA is coordinating the WAVE program in the Lake George watershed.

2019 Results:


  • Big Hollow Brook
  • Edmunds Brook
  • Foster Brook (Downstream)
  • Gage Brook
  • Hague Brook (Downstream)
  • Indian Brook
  • Northwest Bay Brook
  • Shelving Rock Brook (August 2019)
  • Smith Brook
  • West Brook (Lake George Recreation Center)
  • Unnamed Stream (Hague)


  • Butternut Brook
  • Cotton Brook
  • East Brook
  • Finkle Brook
  • Foster Brook (Upstream)
  • Hague Brook (Upstream)
  • Huddle Brook
  • Jabe’s Pond Stream (Downstream)
  • Jabe’s Pond Stream (Upstream)
  • Shelving Rock Brook (July 2019)
  • West Brook (Gage Rd)
  • West Brook (West Brook Rd)

The samples and data collected are not just important for Lake George. New York State also uses the data for:

  • State and Federal Reporting – No Known Impact sites are included in the NYS Waterbody Inventory and EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 305(b) reporting;
  • Monitoring Reports – WAVE data are included in the Trend Monitoring and basin reports;
  • Rotating Integrated Basin Studies (RIBS) – WAVE data are considered when sites are selected for DEC’s monitoring program;
  • Non-point Source Discharges Issues – WAVE data provide basic background information on water quality conditions for NYSDEC staff working on non-point discharge sources.

And the LGA is looking for volunteers to expand our team and continue the stream health studies in 2020. Please call 518-668-3558 for more information or email [email protected]

About WAVE: Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) is a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) project which trains and equips citizen scientists to collect valuable water quality data from New York streams and rivers.

The WAVE protocol for sampling, using macroinvertebrates to determine water quality was developed by the NYSDEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit in collaboration with the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program.

The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.

All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.

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All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.
Lake George Association

Lake George Association