LAKE GEORGE — Deltas around the lake have long been a headache for residents and local businesses.
Dirt and debris builds up in brooks and streams, making boating and recreation difficult and transporting nutrients that hurt water quality. It’s the reason Lake George is on a state list of impaired water bodies.
State, local and environmental groups have worked on dredging and sediment control projects throughout the watershed, but some people, including Lake George Park commissioners, are wondering if more needs to be done.
Lake George and its tributaries have been on a state list of impaired water bodies since 2002, but experts have differing views of what should…
The matter came up at the Park Commission’s Tuesday meeting when Hague resident Peter Voll presented his permit application for a dock extension.
Voll, who has lived near the Hague Brook Delta for about 35 years, asked to extend his private dock from 40 feet to 140 feet, and not because he was getting a bigger boat.
The delta, he told commissioners, is growing, and the water has gotten shallower.
Commissioner Dean Cook asked Voll for his thoughts about the delta.
“I don’t have measurements, but I have memories,” Voll said.
About two decades ago, he said, the delta was more of a sand bar. Now, the sediment build-up blocks the brook’s flow, and it’s proving problematic for using his boat. When it rains hard, Voll said, there’s an obvious flushing off the Route 8 corridor.
“It still comes ripping out into the lake,” Voll said. “You can see turbulence in the water as it flushes out.”
Hague Brook is one of several locations around the lake where the Lake George Association and the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District installed catch basins, which collect the sediment run-off. There are a couple of other catch basins in Hague; some in Bolton, including in Indian Brook and Huddle Bay; and one in the town of Lake George in English Brook.
Cook wondered if the catch basins have made a difference.
“Hague Brook is still eroding from non-point source pollution,” Cook said. “We have to seriously think about what we’re going to do.”
Pat Dowd, communications director for the Lake George Association, said the last time the sediment-catching basins were emptied was 2015. The association plans to work with local municipalities to get some of them dredged this summer.
Cook asked Dowd if the association knows where the sediment is coming from. Dowd said the lake association is working on some projects, but that heavier, more frequent storms are adding to the mix.
Randy Rath, project manager for the association, said in a phone interview that most of the basins are due for a cleaning, and he’s working on some stormwater infrastructure projects with the Soil and Water Conservation District upland of the delta. They hope to keep erosion problems down.
Last spring, he added, the area saw 1 inch of rain in 19 minutes.
“That’s just a tremendous amount of water in a short period of time,” Rath said. “That, coupled with a little erosion and storms like that, that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. It’s a water quantity issue you have to deal with.”
The Park Commission approved Voll’s dock extension unanimously.
“It’s the lake that has changed, not his (Voll’s) desire for a bigger boat,” said Bruce Young, chairman of the park commission.
A stipulation was added that if the delta was ever dredged, the dock length would be brought back in.