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More Asian clams found in Lake George as leaders fret costs

2011-08-08T22:43:00Z 2012-09-13T11:13:11Z More Asian clams found in Lake George as leaders fret costsJON ALEXANDER--jalexander@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
August 08, 2011 10:43 pm  • 

LAKE GEORGE -- Two more populations of Asian clams have been discovered in Lake George, and the skyrocketing price tag for controlling the invasive species has at least one local official considering a trip to Albany to lobby for cash.

Surveyors from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Darrin Freshwater Institute and the Lake George Association found two small Asian clam colonies late last week - one in Norwall Marina in Bolton Landing and another near the Treasure Cove Resort in Diamond Point.

The finds come on the heels of last month's discovery of a 5-acre Asian clam population in Boon Bay in Bolton. Before that, local officials and environmentalists had hoped the Asian clam population found last year in the South Basin was an anomaly.

"This is obviously going to increase the expense of the project," said Walt Lender, executive director of the Lake George Association.

Throughout the spring, the Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force - a collection of state regulators, local officials and environmental protection groups, planned an outright eradication of the South Basin population. But cash ran short, and the planned suction harvesting process was scrapped. Subsequently, a $500,000 project, using only mats designed to suffocate the algae-causing mollusk, was used.

The task force is reporting a 97 percent kill rate at the South Basin site with just the mats. But without a 100 percent kill rate, the hermaphroditic species could again take hold. At least an additional $200,000 would be required to eradicate the South Basin population, the task force estimates.

The Boone Bay site is being described as very similar to its South Basin counterpart and could cost just as much to kill.

And with two half-acre populations discovered in other locations, lakeside municipalities won't be able to foot the entire bill.

"The state has really got to step up to the plate on this one," said Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy.

The Lake George Park Commission did designate $75,000 toward the South Basin project, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation allocated another $25,000 in Environmental Protection funds.

But staring at an eradication bill that's likely to be in excess of $1 million, McCoy said it may be time to take the fight to Albany.

"I would think a contingent from Warren County should be going to Albany about this," McCoy said.

It remains unknown how many Asian clam populations exist in Lake George. Officials said the conclusions of an ongoing survey of the entire lake could indicate whether extermination is possible or if it transitions into a mitigation effort.

Task force members said a mitigation-style response could devastate Lake George's water quality.

Lender said communities in Nevada's Lake Tahoe area spend more than $1 million per year just to keep the clams from encroaching on the most environmentally sensitive areas.

The clams pump nutrients into the water, which in turn promulgates algae growth. Large algae blooms sap oxygen from the water, suffocating indigenous flora and fauna.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. 5756917
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    5756917 - August 11, 2011 10:09 am
    The clams are now becoming established in Lake George. Shame on every single organization and state agency charged with protecting the lake; this is all their fault. Years ago clams were found in Lake George and instead of taking drastic action on this, the LGPC continues to worry about where their next paycheck will come from, and the LGA and LGF just continue to bank the money from Froelich. But this is the norm. For Pete's sake, this is 2011 and Lake George still does not have a lake wide sewer system. Milfoil is still a problem, stormwater is a problem, leaking sewers a problem, and now clams. I don't want to hear about what everyone is doing; obviously it isn't enough. Do your job people instead of sitting at your desks.
  2. always thinking
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    always thinking - August 10, 2011 8:34 am
    I think they need to call the Dept of Agriculture in Florida and ask what worked and what didn't before they go spending a lot of money. Do the homework!
  3. something is wrong
    Report Abuse
    something is wrong - August 09, 2011 9:10 pm
    hammer54 said: "This proposed action of asking the State for money to "battle" a Lake George issue is the type of request that is breaking the state government and should not be approved or even be requested in light of current fiscal issues. The Lake George Association should fund removal and raise the money though increased business fees & lake user fees. It could be called a "Clam Tax". Citizens of New York State shouldn't pay a penny. Only the people who directly benefit from the lake or maybe Warren County should pay. "

  4. truthtruth
    Report Abuse
    truthtruth - August 09, 2011 1:35 pm
    There is a difference between the Lake George Association (LGA) and The Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) or (LG) The LGA is made up of volunteers and members who wish to keep our number one economic asset clean and clear for everyone to enjoy. All of the people who are bashing what they are trying to do Google Asian clam in Lake Tahoe and look at the devastation that they caused when they are ignored.The Mission of the LGA
    Mission
    "Working together to protect, conserve and improve the beauty and quality of the Lake George Basin."
    The Lake George Association (LGA) is the leading citizen group for the protection of Lake George. We advocate a reasoned approach to management of the Lake George watershed. Our programs are designed to ensure long-term stability of water quality and of the watershed's environmental and economic viability.

    Call the LGA and become a member or reserve a space on the Floating Classroom you may learn something.
  5. lauren
    Report Abuse
    lauren - August 09, 2011 11:55 am
    There is probably, just like milfoil, an economical chemical solution that some elitist environmentalists (rich) have damned as too easy, potentially harmful, poisonous, or whatever.
  6. citydweller
    Report Abuse
    citydweller - August 09, 2011 11:51 am
    Asian clams and most of the other invasive species in the lake have been brought there primarily by boats. Instead of asking the state (all of us) for money I absolutely agree that there should be an appropriatly stiff Lake George boat launch fee coupled with a mandatory, on-site boat cleaning prior to any launch. I don't think that use of some Bed Tax money would be out of line either

    To say that it all comes from boats from out of the area forgets the close proximity of Lake Champlain where all of these things exist - and then some (think eels).
  7. ProtectLG
    Report Abuse
    ProtectLG - August 09, 2011 10:02 am
    The LGA has recruited volunteers to staff some of the public boat ramps on Lake George to inspect inbound boats and trailers for invasive species. I applaud the generosity of those volunteers!
    There are more many more lakeside access points than volunteers.
    What may also be helpful are roadside inspections by DEC, funded by an increase in boat permit fees – the use fee. We also have an ongoing battle against invasive beetles. Perhaps combining efforts would help.
    How about DEC staffing an inspection station at the Exit 18 rest area that also SELLS the required boat permits. The one-stop convenience would appeal to many time-strapped vacationers.
    I encourage others to post positive suggestions.
  8. 5756917
    Report Abuse
    5756917 - August 09, 2011 9:56 am
    I agree with hammer 54. This is a project for the millionaire's club of hot shots at the LGA and Lake George Fund. A good project for a combined Froehlich grant, don't ya think? What about Decker and that group? Get together people and take care of it without hitting up the taxpayers for money.
  9. bill hilly
    Report Abuse
    bill hilly - August 09, 2011 9:27 am
    This year the clams, last year milfoil and the year before that it was the zebra mussels. Can we work on capturing funding next year to eliminate the tick? I'm also getting tired of them awful flying bugs. Instead of throwing more money at a worsening problem, why don't we eliminate the root cause. Stop transport of all boats from other bodies of water. You did it with firewood and baitfish, yet boats from other waters bring those infestations here. Next, EVERY septic system on the lake is upgraded to current standards. That should do it and it didn't cost the taxpayer a dime.
  10. sasquatch
    Report Abuse
    sasquatch - August 09, 2011 9:13 am
    Some Republican idiots brought the critters in on their boats. I say put a $20/day tax on all boats for use of the lake, including kayaks. Tax the user, tax the citizens, tax anyone who transports a boat over roads in NY State. Until someone admits at a bar that they brought the clams in. Then convict them, take their house, boat and cars and sell them all. Raise the NYS sales tax from 4% to 6%. Raise the Warren County sales tax from 3% to 5%. Eleven percent for all.
  11. lgcurious
    Report Abuse
    lgcurious - August 09, 2011 9:11 am
    Gotta love the politicians - hands are out for state money even though there is none to be had. I know maybe Warren County can use the bed tax $$ instead of putting it into the pockets of Americade founders. Or - how about this - state DEC $$ can be had if the person who sits in the DEC car at Dog Beach under a tree to protect the lake from people was fired or redeployed to remove clams...
  12. hammer54
    Report Abuse
    hammer54 - August 08, 2011 11:16 pm
    This proposed action of asking the State for money to "battle" a Lake George issue is the type of request that is breaking the state government and should not be approved or even be requested in light of current fiscal issues. The Lake George Association should fund removal and raise the money though increased business fees & lake user fees. It could be called a "Clam Tax". Citizens of New York State shouldn't pay a penny. Only the people who directly benefit from the lake or maybe Warren County should pay.

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