I want to thank everyone for contributing to the wonderful and enjoyable summer I experienced as Lake Manager. It was truly a fantastic summer capped with numerous sunny days and warm, clear water. I have had the pleasure to meet and talk to many concerned and caring lake residents who are as passionate as I am about maintaining the quality of Upper Saranac Lake and its shore line.

I especially want to thank all of those who contacted me with Rapid Response calls for milfoil sightings, concerns regarding possible violations of ordinances/regulations and general environmental inquires – all for the benefit of the lake.  The question that continues to arise is how are we doing with the milfoil; is there more, is it under control? The fact of the matter is we will be harvesting approximately 1,000 pounds more milfoil this year, than last. Why is this? One possible reason includes what could have been a better growing season due to warmer and clearer water.  Another reason may be explained by the better water visibility that allowed us to spot milfoil easier. I have been able to locate over 170 milfoil locations around the lake. These areas were marked by the “Milfoil Project” buoys that identify the location for our dive teams.

Possibly the greatest reason for increased harvesting amounts are the more evolved techniques and practices being utilized by our divers, AIM (Aquatic Invasive Management). We are now utilizing underwater microphone communications and the implementation of a swift action two diver rapid response team that can quickly move to identified milfoil locations for harvesting. Our divers have also covered the entire 44 mile circumference of the lake, something that didn’t happen last year.

The increased productivity doesn’t indicate, by any means, that we are losing control. In fact, the increase is possibly an indication we may even be catching up on what has been missed in previous years. Upper Saranac Lake continues to be the model for milfoil control throughout the Northeast.

With this said, we continue to ask for your support, not only financially but also in identifying issues. Unfortunately the number of Rapid Response calls reporting milfoil has dropped which is surprising as the productivity of the plants has increased.  I feel that it is more important now than ever to keep an eye on the lake and report anything that seems out of the ordinary. There are a lot of threats that can compromise our lakes environment – not just milfoil. These threats have the potential to impact us as much as milfoil has, if not more. We need to stay diligent, aware and conscientious of these threats as they grow closer to our doorstep. Despite all the resources going into invasive species prevention, invasive species are still making headway.  Within the park we can now add to the list the following unwelcome threats;

  • Asian clams in Lake George: Their waste can/has triggered algae blooms, clogged water intake pipes and the sharp shells befoul swimming beaches. These mollusks’s have the ability to self-fertilize and release up to 2,000 juveniles per day.
  • Spiny Water Flee now in the Great Sacandaga Lake is an invasive zooplankton that affects the food web. The invasion of this species is ecologically harmful, because it competes with native species near the base of the food chain. They are also a serious nuisance in recreational fishing because their bodies collect on and compromise fishing gear.
  • Zebra mussels were recently found entering Lake Placid. Upper Saranac Lake currently doesn’t see a threat from Zebra mussels due to our lake’s low calcium levels which discourage their growth. We do need to be concerned with Quagga mussels a distant cousin of the Zebra mussel which is now in Seneca Lake. They are considered invasive because of their potential to cause economic and ecological damage. They lack natural predators, increasing their ability for proliferating and spreading, clogging intake pipes and disrupting native ecosystems.
  • Brittle Naiad has recently been found in Hadlock Pond and Lake George. Brittle Naiad, similar to milfoil, inhibits and crowds out growth of native aquatic plants and can make fishing and boating access difficult.

The list of constant threats can be overwhelming and these are just a few that have been identified “close to home.” So what can you do? Prevention is the most effective control. Boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts need to take precautions to avoid transporting these and other invasive species. In fact the Town of Santa Clara has just passed an aquatic invasive species prevention law making it unlawful to transport invasive species.

We need to educate ourselves and our neighbors about invasive species. Early detection is the next impediment to invasive species. Everyone can keep an eye out for new and unusual plants growing along their shoreline. Utilize the rapid response system we have in place by calling me at 518 796-1052. If we all work together to spread the word about invasive species and how we can help stop their spread, we really can make a difference.

Guy Middleton
Lake Manager