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Bottom of Great Sacandaga Lake eyed for mineral trove

2010-09-18T17:00:00Z Bottom of Great Sacandaga Lake eyed for mineral troveBy Don Lehman dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
September 18, 2010 5:00 pm  • 

Minerals beneath Great Sacandaga Lake are being eyed by investors, and the man behind the proposal believes it could bring hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars to the region.

A group of scientists and speculators led by a former resident of the region has proposed dredging the lake to remove metals.

Texas resident Arthur Ambrosino, who grew up on the lake, said he has been researching and discussing the dredging of minerals from the lake bottom for 15 years.

He would not specify the minerals that would be sought.

But he said that dredging the lake's southern basin for just one specific mineral, magnetite, could yield $1.5 billion worth of the material, generating jobs and revenue for a region that could use them.

Other minerals that are used to make titanium oxide, a compound found in paint and sunscreen, can be found in abundance beneath the lake, according to Ambrosino.

The dredging would be done by a method known as sand harvesting, and would result in the lake being made up to 20 feet deeper in places, he said.

So far, the proposal is being met with cautious optimism.

Dredging could improve the lake's coldwater fisheries, and also help combat erosion on the lake's shores, said Randy Gardinier, chairman of the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation.

However, the federation has not taken a position on the proposal, he said.

"There are a lot of questions," Gardinier said. "The lake doesn't have a lot of structure, and you'd have to make sure you keep the structure that you do have."

The 42-square mile lake is a flood-control reservoir that straddles the county lines between Saratoga, Fulton and Hamilton counties.

Fluctuating lake levels have been an issue for decades on the lake, as have high temperatures, Ambrosino said. "The lake's surface water temperature was 84 degrees at one point this summer," he said. "In the short term and the long term, you would see improvement."

The dredging equipment would use curtains to restrict the turbidity, but Ambrosino said the lake has historically been too clear and turbidity could actually help.

Gardinier agreed that deepening the lake and creating more coldwater refuges would help trout fisheries and the overall lake in a number of ways.

"I agree with Mr. Ambrosino, the problem isn't the lake level but the level of the lake," he said. "If you remove some of the lake bottom, you create more storage."

The group has not made any formal applications to the state or Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, which controls the lake's levels.

Neither the HRBRD nor the DEC would comment on the proposal in light of the fact that no formal permit applications have been made.

Ambrosino has launched a website about the proposal, www.gsldeepening.com.

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

(10) Comments

  1. Kyle York
    Report Abuse
    Kyle York - September 20, 2010 5:01 pm
    APRIL FOOLS Day's come Early this year!
    Not sure how this got past Ken... ore ANY basic sniff test.

    The desert-like photos were damm desolate, a bone-dry Lake on the edge of lifeless dust...UNLESS we dredge! RIGHT???

    No. Simply laughably wrong. With that desert exposed, there are still 15 billion cubic ft of H20, a lake that's very much ALIVE. Hook a Great Northern with an ice jig for a REAL photo op!

    AmbroFolks-- No matter how DEEP you go, NOTHING changes WATER MANAGEMENT 101. The hillsides feeding the GSL watershed are 1,044 sq miles, all run-off heads for the GSL. ANNUAL precip is CONSTANT. The HRBRRD game EVERY YEAR is to LOWER the lake by MARCH, let her FILL in JUNE, then drain all year down to the MARCH LOW...TAKING CARE not to FLOOD the HUDSON as you dump. Water IN, water OUT.

    But the JOKE is UP when you read-- "The GSL community is in control of their own destiny and these public-benefit agencies actually work for us."

    -Kyle York
    Livin' the "Fool's GoldRush" of 2010
  2. parwana
    Report Abuse
    parwana - September 19, 2010 11:12 pm
    "Other minerals that are used to make titanium oxide, a compound found in paint and sunscreen, can be found in abundance beneath the lake, according to Ambrosino."

    Um, presumably that would be either titanium or oxygen. And since oxygen seems unlikely I would guess titanium.
  3. ama2002
    Report Abuse
    ama2002 - September 19, 2010 2:28 pm
    As concerned scientists, the Great Sacandaga Lake (GSL) is only one of thousands of places here in the United States and around the world, where this revolutionary new concept can be employed. The MAJOR concept/issue is FRESHWATER IMPOUNDMENT and how to pay for them. Where you have perfect geological circumstances, downstream from High-Grade Metamorphic Rock terrains like in the Sacandaga Basin, you can sandharvest minerals of economic importance to COMPLETELY pay for freshwater impoundments. It just so happens that the minerals shed/eroded from these nearby southern Adirondack terrains have tremendous economic value, which will solve all of the pertinent issues associated with the GSL and can be an enormous benefit to the areas economy. I hope you will search gsldeepening.com or Great Sacandaga Lake Deepening Project to learn more....
    Arthur Michael Ambrosino
  4. farmer
    Report Abuse
    farmer - September 19, 2010 10:22 am
    Luckily this is not likely to ever be more than a plan. THe mining operation wuld likely disrupt the ecology of the whole lake. I have never heard of the "Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation" but wonder about its expertise to comment.
  5. retired
    Report Abuse
    retired - September 19, 2010 8:33 am
    SPECULATOR — Spiny water fleas, an aquatic invasive species, have been found in Sacandaga Lake in the southern region
    Will they be addressing the recently confirmed Water Flea situation which is living there? I would hope that first, they do not introduce any new plants or insects etc. which are not thriving in the lake, and I also hope that they take precautions to prevent the transfer of similar pests from Sacandaga Lake to other bodies of water.
  6. DWC121
    Report Abuse
    DWC121 - September 18, 2010 10:32 pm
    hermit - Here's some more thoughts. Sacandaga Lake is a man-made lake. Before the Sacandaga valley was flooded, the land adjacent to the original river was owned by individual people. That land was purchased by NYS. By legislative act, the Regulating district was created to manage the lake. I don't know if NYS turned the new LAKE BED over to the Regulating district to manage (in addition to the water itself), or if the LAKE BED is managed by NYS.

    For what its worth (from the Regulating District website)... "New York State also owns the land that the Regulating District acquired to create the Great Sacandaga Lake, including the now submerged lands and an above water buffer zone lying around the lake between the reservoir’s high water line and adjoining private property. ..." www.hrbrrd.com/upperhudson.html .

    For heavier reading, here's an article about lake beds from the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services: www.orps.state.ny.us/legal/opinions/v6/100.htm
  7. Rieux
    Report Abuse
    Rieux - September 18, 2010 10:13 pm
    the hermit: So when those mean old people were throwing rocks at you and when they were arrested, did that make any of the local newspapers ? Just wondering how long ago that happened and I'm glad they missed !
  8. the hermit
    Report Abuse
    the hermit - September 18, 2010 9:07 pm
    This is a good comment DWC. as a fisherman I've come across several arguments about who owns the bottom of a stream yet the water belongs to the state. Yet I have succesfully won several times. In my situations as long as I go in on state land and come out on state land I'm fine as long as I stay within the high water marks. I was even litterally stoned by a few property owners who much to thier surprise were arrested for asault. So in at least one of those "stonings" I am one of the only people who can fish that part of the stream any time I want from the stream or the shore I can even have a picnic on thier lawn. The other fella had to pay a heffty fine and barely kept from spending 30 days in the hole!! I know around Lake George you can legally move rocks around your water front as long as they never actually raise above the water or leave the water. It should be an iteresting argument though.
  9. maxpain
    Report Abuse
    maxpain - September 18, 2010 8:57 pm
    oh boy
  10. DWC121
    Report Abuse
    DWC121 - September 18, 2010 6:40 pm
    If someone starts dredging the Great Sacandaga Lake, be careful. I believe the lake bed is owned by the Black River/Hudson River Regulating District.

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