It’s a practical solution to a Lake George water quality problem that plagues the Lake in a number of areas.
And with a $54,500 grant just announced from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, as well as a $12,000 investment by the LGA and $5,000 investment of in-kind services by the Town of Dresden, the solution will be implemented in Foster Brook and a significant water quality problem solved.
Foster Brook, in Huletts Landing in Washington County, has seen its fair share of problems in the recent past, including flash flooding from Tropical Storm Irene and the breech of a beaver dam, all of which sent tens of thousands of gallons of untreated stormwater downstream into the Lake.
Untreated stormwater is by far the greatest contributor to water quality decline in Lake George, because stormwater scours the surfaces over which it runs, picking up sediment, nutrients and debris. All of those substances are carried downhill by the flowing stormwater and deposited into the Lake.
The Lake George Association’s goal with Water Quality protection projects like this one is to stop as much untreated stormwater from flowing into the Lake as possible. With regard to the problem at Foster Brook, the LGA has performed numerous studies of the watershed area and used those findings to both identify the problem and determine the solution.
A failing culvert under Goldey Road, which is too narrow for high-flow storm events and is elevated above the streambed, is causing the problem.
But rather than just replace the structure, LGA Project Manager Randy Rath and the Town of Dresden Highway Department wanted a solution that was better for stream health and better for the Lake, and that didn’t continue to create problems downstream.
The answer, it turns out, is a practical change that makes the conditions more natural.
The pipe culvert currently acts like a firehose, speeding stormwater flow so that it scours out rocks and the stream banks below. The new culvert will have an open bottom and will be much wider, so it will not increase the speed of the water as it passes through.
This project in Huletts Landing to replace the culvert is one of a dozen major stormwater infrastructure projects the Lake George Association is working on in 2018 as part of our commitment to water quality protection and long-term Lake sustainability.
“These kinds of problems are becoming more and more apparent as the storm events have become stronger over the last ten years or so,” Rath said. “By replacing the pipe with a much wider opening that uses the natural streambed for the stream to pass, the storms won’t create a ‘fire hose’ that will continue to damage the brook and create problems for the Lake, especially during storm events.”
Before the work in Foster Brook in Huletts Landing is completed, Rath and the Dresden Highway Department and consultant Dr. John Braco, a member of Trout unlimited and an expert in natural channel restoration, will survey the stream to determine what additional work needs to be done in the area of the new culvert to best restore natural stream flow in that area and protect Lake George water quality.