SARATOGA LAKE’S SAFEKEEPING
Saratoga Lake Protection & Improvement District
Contributor: Cristina Connolly, SLPID County at Large Chair
Article ran in the Roohan Realty’s Summer Newsletter
The “Jewel of Saratoga County,” Saratoga Lake encompasses a 300 square mile watershed (larger than that of Lake George!), and is classified as a grade A lake for water quality in New York State.
As with any body of water, native aquatic plants and weeds are vital to the lake’s health and ecosystem. Unfortunately, the health of these vital ecosystems is under attack.
Invasive plant species spread between water bodies with boater activity, altering the habitat and ultimately the ecosystem function of a lake. Since 1986, the Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District (SLPID) has been actively working to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and preserve water quality through things like their lake steward program and NYS boat launch station. Herbicide treatments to manage milfoil and other invasive weeds are also conducted regularly, and have been successful to the extent that no treatment is needed for 2019.
What will be needed this summer, however, is treatment for water chestnuts at the mouth of the Kaydeross Creek.
Water Chestnuts (Trapas natans) were introduced to the northeastern US in the 1800’s. Not to be confused with the kind typically in Asian cuisine, this plant species is native to Eurasia and Africa, and poses a massive inconvenience to swimmers, fisherman, and recreational boaters alike. For years, SLPID has worked to eradicate them from the lake by hand/machine pulling and spot treatments. This hard work is paying off & the plants are gradually decreasing in density.
Some of SLPID’s other duties include:
- weekly water testing & CSLAP testing
- lake surveys, studies & yearly boat counts
- watercraft inspections and-boat wash stations
- monitoring water levels, temperature & shorelines
- educational outreach, floating classroom & in-school education
With these efforts in place (and the establishment of the county sewer district around the lake in 1981) invasives are decreasing and Saratoga Lake has improved from a grade D in 1986 to its current status of grade A. The diversity of wildlife is outstanding, with an increase in fish, turtles, birds, bald eagles, osprey and loons common in the springtime.
Lake health is important locally and globally. And while government regulations can help maintain order on aquatic ecosystems, it’s also the responsibility of property owners to maintain the integrity of their shared resource by preventing and reporting any activity that would disrupt the ecosystem or biodiversity. Boaters are encouraged to CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY before entering any body of water to stop the spread. Property owners are encouraged to take the SLPID pledge by saying NO to fertilizers, pesticides & chemicals, minimizing runoff, and stopping pollution.
For more information, visit SLPID.org, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.