Upper Saranac Lake is one of the most intensely studied lakes in the Adirondacks. The lake has been the subject of numerous scientific research projects, a 30-year water quality monitoring initiative, and an invasive plant management program that has served as a model for lakes around the world. The Water Quality Update provides a synopsis of the health and trends of water quality for Upper Saranac Lake.

The report includes information obtained from the Environmental Monitoring Platform, analysis of hydrological and chemical loading through the lake’s tributaries, meteorological data, and aquatic plant monitoring data.

Long term data sets, such as this report for Upper Saranac Lake, are invaluable and provide a broad view of lake ecology and watershed function. Analyzing the watershed in the context of time improves our capability of understanding slow and highly variable ecological processes and provides reliable information to support lake management.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Phosphorus concentrations of the surface water have exhibited a positive downward trend since the early 1990’s while bottom waters remain unchanged.
  • Algal biomass continues to be relatively low and has sustained improvement in the north basin of the lake.
  • Cyanobacteria blooms are observed on occasion; lake wide blooms have been rare since the early 1900s.
  • Water clarity continues to decrease in both basins. The average transparency across the summer is nearly a meter less than it was in the early 1990s.
  • USL possesses a sufficient amount of acid neutralization ability to combat acidification.
  • Milfoil density levels continue to be reduced. Eurasian water-milfoil could now best be classified as a rare plant in Upper Saranac Lake.

The report is now available and can be found on the Upper Saranac Foundation’s web page at: https://usfoundation.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/USL_update_2019_V1_draft.pdf

A detailed explanation of the water quality of USL can be found in the Upper Saranac Lake State of the Lake Report on the USF web page at: http://usfoundation.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Upper-Saranac-Lake-State-of-Lake-Report-2018.pdf