“We look forward to seeing the results of the state’s pilot program to reduce its salt application in the Lake George watershed,” said Walt Lender, Executive Director of the Lake George Association. “It is a problem the LGA has been working on for a decade.”
“It’s great news that the state will reduce its salt application on one of the main state roads around the watershed,” Lender said. “There are 76.2 miles of state roads in the Lake George watershed (out of 398.1 total miles), according to the Lake George Association’s Watershed Data Atlas. Any less salt on state roads will be beneficial for the Lake’s water quality.”
“The Public Works Departments at the municipal level are working to reduce salt application with training, equipment calibration and with a road brining test that took place last year,” he said.
The LGA purchased a calibrated spreader system for the Town of Lake George in 2016, which was well received, as well as temperature sensors for pavement to allow drivers to better gauge when salt needed to be applied to the municipal roads.
The LGA supports pre-storm applications of brine on roadways to lower the need for salt application during and after the snowfall, and are encouraged by the recent announcement of the paving of Route 9N – which in and of itself will cut back on salt application, because the smoother road surface will allow for easier and more complete cleaning with the segmented plow blades.
The LGA has been part of a regional working group (including the Lake Champlain-Lake George Regional Planning Board, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Lake George Park Commission, Waterkeeper and former Warren County DPW Superintendent Bill Lamy) for a number of years that has created an inventory of salt-spreading and road plowing equipment, held calibration sessions with DPW workers, and most recently developed a model road management plan of best practices that was offered to all of the watershed towns.
Bolton has adopted the plan, and versions of the plan have been drafted and are being reviewed by the Towns of Hague, Lake George and Ticonderoga with the expectation that the plans will be adopted before the state’s pilot program begins.
The development of the plan was managed by the LGA with funding from a salt reduction grant from state Sen. Betty Little.
Darrin Fresh Water Institute’s 30-years study of Lake George water quality, released in 2014, showed a nearly three-fold increase in the level of salt. The Lake George Association’s Citizen Science Lake Assessment Program data shows minor increases in salt and temperature readings, as well.