Even with summer turning to fall, there is no slowing down for Lake George Association Project Manager Randy Rath.
“Fall is a great time to perform certain types of water quality improvement projects in the watershed,” Rath says. “The lower water flow in streams at this time of year coupled with the continued bright sunshine and calmer weather (most years) gives the LGA a window of solid work time.”
Among the projects Rath will be managing this fall will be the replacement of a “firehose” culvert in Huletts Landing to stop erosion and protect the Lake’s water quality. We are hoping to be able to remove hundreds of cubic yards of sediment that have been captured and kept out of the Lake.
Foster Brook Culvert Repair And Erosion Issue
For years, an undersized culvert that carries Foster Brook under Goldey Road in Huletts Landing has been a problem. Too small to carefully handle current storm flows, the narrow culvert acts like a firehose, scouring the natural streambed and eroding the brook, forcing sediment down into the Lake.
Working with the Town of Dresden Highway Department, the Lake George Association will pay for the removal and replacement of the undersized, hanging culvert that continues to cause damage downstream. The work is possible thanks to the expertise of Rath and to grant funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, as well as funding from the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation, LGA members and donors.
The replacement work, which will take between two and three weeks, is a major infrastructure project. The new culvert we are installing is nearly 20 feet wide – or about the width of two school buses side to side – replacing one that is less than half that size. Additionally, the LGA will undertake stream modifications to stabilize the stream above and below the culvert.
“It is an important project to protect the Lake and for the Town of Dresden,” said Richard Hobus, Dresden Highway Superintendent. “We are pleased to be working with the Lake George Association on this.”
When completed, the new, wider culvert and stream modifications will more naturally handle the water and slow flow to decrease erosion and streambed damage.
“We are glad to get this one accomplished,” Rath said. “It has been on the project list for a few years waiting for enough funding to be available.”
Sediment Basin Protection And Cleanout
Another project we are trying to schedule this fall is removing sediment built up in basins around the Lake – basins that were designed and installed to keep such sediment and other suspended solids from flowing into the Lake and diminishing water quality.
“The basins capture sediment every day of the year from the brooks and streams around Lake George,” Rath said, “keeping that material out of the Lake. The sediment accumulates in the basins for a few years, and is checked regularly by LGA staff and staff from the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District to determine when they are full of sediment and need to be cleaned out.”
“We inspected them this summer and determined that they are getting close to full, and we hope to be able to schedule emptying them this fall – that’s our plan and goal,” Rath said.
The last time sediment was removed from the basins was 2015, when more than 1,400 cubic yards of material was removed – enough captured material to full an NBA-sized basketball court to the height of eight feet.
A contractor will come in and remove the material, placing it in dump trucks to be hauled away.
Highway Departments around the watershed, including those in the towns of Hague, Bolton and Lake George and Lake George Village DPW, will help haul the material.
The sediment basins were installed with the assistance and expertise of a number of organizations, including the LGA, Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, Warren County DPW and regional towns.
“Imagine the decline in water quality and the increase in the deltas, sediment and potential pollutants that would have happened if these sediment basins weren’t installed and hadn’t captured all that material,” said Walt Lender, LGA Executive Director. “It is important for these basins to continue to function properly in order to protect the Lake’s water quality and keep sediment and nutrients out.”
Extra nutrients in the Lake can cause excessive plant growth, can diminish water quality and can feed blooms of algae, whether they are Harmful Algal Blooms or just the regular algae that Lake George has.
“It’s part of the LGA’s mission to protect the Lake’s water quality. This is an important – if soggy! – way that we continue the protection we started 134 years ago,” Lender said.
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.