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'Only taken four years to get here': Lake George Park Commission approves stormwater, stream corridor regulations

'Only taken four years to get here': Lake George Park Commission approves stormwater, stream corridor regulations

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Lake George stormwater runoff

The Lake George Park Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved changes to its stormwater regulations and adopted stream corridor protections for the first time, putting an end to a more than four-year process. The regulations aim to keep pollutants from entering Lake George.

LAKE GEORGE — A pair of regulations aimed at preventing pollutants from entering the lake were approved by the Lake George Park Commission on Tuesday, marking the end of a yearslong process.

The Park Commission unanimously approved changes to its stormwater regulations and adopted stream corridor protections for the first time, requiring all state-regulated streams within the Lake George Park to have a 35-foot buffer.

Both regulations were unveiled last year, but have been in the making since 2017, when the Park Commission first began contacting the nine municipalities within the park to gather input about updating the stormwater regulations for the first time 20 years.

The regulations were last updated in 1998.

“The first item on the agenda today has only taken four years to get here,” said Bruce Young, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners, just before the regulations were approved.

In addition to creating a 35-foot buffer for streams, the regulations prohibit the use of fertilizer on properties within 50 feet of any body of water or wetland within the park, and require property owners to address how stormwater will be managed when making upgrades to their homes.

The regulations aim to keep pollutants like fertilizer and road salt from entering the lake.

Such pollutants not only affect the lake’s water quality, but have an adverse impact on local wildlife and could potentially feed harmful algal blooms.

Work to preserve the water quality of Lake George has been ongoing for years, but the discovery of the first harmful algal bloom in the lake’s southern basin last year sparked widespread concern that more needs to be done.

Some have argued that the new regulations do not go far enough, and that the 35-foot stream buffer should be extended to 100 feet.

But the Park Commission contends that the new regulations strike a balance of protecting the lake while creating a uniform policy throughout Lake George Park that also takes into consideration the rights of property owners.

The new regulations were praised by the Lake George Association, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve Lake George.

“The updates and new regulations are an important next step in the protection of the lake,” Walt Lender, the executive director of the Lake George Association, said in a statement. “The regulations now form a base level of protection all around the lake, ensuring uniform protections no matter where you are in the watershed.”

Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.

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