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The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District has some interesting water-quality projects underway, and a group of state and local officials got a tour of a few on Wednesday.

Several could be seen at Gurney Lane Recreation Area in Queensbury.

Nick Rowell, a natural resource specialist with the district, said a 630-square-foot rain garden helps filter stormwater on the site. The plants suck up nutrients. Too many nutrients in water bodies can lead to problems like algal blooms.

There are also a couple of dry wells, which collect water during heavy rainstorms before going into a pond on site. They are below grates in the bottom parking lot of the recreation area.

The pond, Rowell said, is part of the Halfway Brook watershed.

The projects were all funded through the state’s Water Quality Improvement Program.

Rowell also showed the tour group a floating wetland recently installed on the pond.

The platform is a mat that has native aquatic plants attached. The mats are let loose on the pond, floating around and allowing the plants’ roots to eat up more nutrients. The mats also have the capability of interlocking like Legos, so more could be added

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at these floating islands as a way to help combat harmful algal blooms.

Rowell said the district is experimenting to see what plants grow best and may connect more mats in the future.

Adirondack lakes symposium

The Adirondack Lakes Alliance is hosting its Fifth Annual Lake and River Association Symposium for lake and environmental associations around the park.

The program is called “Preparing for Challenges: Tools, Resources and Coordination” and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 1 at the Joan Weill Student Center at Paul Smith’s College.

The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch.

Jane Smith, associate director of the alliance, said the focus of the symposium will be getting lake associations to think about the watersheds they are in. Oftentimes, lake associations become too focused on their individuals lakes, she said.

To register and learn more, go to adirondacklakesalliance.org.

State invests in renewable energy program

The state has announced a $15 million program, Future Grid Challenge, which is slated to help utilities integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid.

The program is run by the state Energy Research Development Authority. Up to $3 million will be offered to grid technology companies and research institutions to address challenges in the transition to renewable energy.

The program also supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate to make 70% renewable electricity by 2030, and have a carbon-free power grid by 2040, according to a news release.

“New York is leading the fight against climate change and prioritizing more resiliency and reliability during extreme weather events,” Cuomo said in a news release. “These investments will add renewables such as wind and solar to create a grid of the future that serves the needs of communities across the state and drives us toward a clean, fully carbon-free power grid.”

To learn more about the program and applying, go to nyserda.ny.gov.

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter

@gwendolynnn1.

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