Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky will be honored at an upcoming New York Water Environment Association meeting for his study of nearshore algal blooms.
Navitsky has used biomonitoring, which involves collecting and testing algae samples, since 2008. Issues with organic waste, most likely from sewage pollution, were documented at Silver Bay, Diamond Point, Oneida Bay and Dunham’s Bay.
The results have led to a septic system replacement program at Dunham’s Bay in Queensbury, and a multi-layered prioritization map to identify septic system problem areas in the town of Lake George.
Navitsky presented his work at a June 12 New York Water Environment Association meeting, which led to this latest recognition. The association will present Navitsky with the Linn H. Enslow Memorial Award at its annual meeting on Wednesday in New York City. The award recognizes a non-member for a technical paper or presentation, according to a news release.
“It’s satisfying to kind of get recognized by your peers,” Navitsky said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It kind of ... felt like the work we’re doing, and the concept that the hypothesis that we’ve kind of put together, is valid.”
Navitsky said a lot of the biomonitoring was done with the help of aquatic biologist Corrina Parnapy and environmental consultant Kathy Bozony. With their expertise and Navitsky’s engineering and land-use knowledge, the team was able to pinpoint the areas in Lake George where septic systems may be polluting the waters.
Navitsky presented his latest effort at a Lake George Town Board meeting, which showed that one-third of septic systems close to the lake are operating past their life expectancy. One-third of septic systems have operated an unknown number of years.
The waterkeeper used public survey responses, available town data and algae biomonitoring results to create a map of potentially problematic septic system areas in the town close to the shore of the lake. He hopes to use this same method in other parts of the watershed.
The Fund for Lake George named Navitsky the Lake George waterkeeper in 2002.
“The Lake George region has a tremendous resource in Chris Navitsky,” said Eric Siy, executive director of The Fund, in a news release. “The work Chris does on a daily basis to identify and address the risks to the lake’s water quality are making a real difference today and for future generations. To have Chris recognized by his peers from across the state attests to the importance of his work.”