With summertime’s heavy rains and downpours abundant, this is a good time to think about a stormwater pollution prevention plan for erosion and sediment control.

Our fragile lakeshore properties demand the utmost care in managing stormwater runoff to avoid harming the lake. Impervious structures such as pavement on driveways, buildings, and roofs increase the velocity and energy of stormwater. Direct runoff can introduce both nutrients and pathogens to water bodies. One potential effect of this can be an increase in plant and algae growth offshore from a camp. Waterfront property values drop dramatically with increased weed and algae presence.

What you can do to help protect the Upper Saranac Lake Watershed:

  1. Maintain native vegetative buffers along the lakefront and tributaries. State Adirondack Park Agency regulations prohibit removal of more than 30% of shorefront vegetation within six feet of the water and 30% of trees within 35 feet of the water.
  2. Avoid the use of fertilizers. If you have to use lawn products use only phosphorus-free fertilizers, and never fertilize the strip directly along the shoreline. Pesticides and fertilizers can harm fish, cause algae blooms and accelerate the lake’s eutrophication.
  3. Reduce the total amount of impermeable surfaces by replacing them with natural walkways, gravel, or permeable pavements. Avoid the use of asphalt near the lake.
  4. Replace expanses of lawn with landscape patches of trees, shrubs, and mulch to capture and hold rainwater, and divert on-site runoff and rain gutters to gardens or small depressions where water has time to infiltrate the soil.
  5. Never wash anything near or directly in the lake. Using soap, or a cleaning agent, to wash dishes, pets, or people contributes pollutants to the water. Avoid washing boats or cars where the detergent can get into the lake.
  6. Consider developing a “rain garden” — landscaped depressions in your yard or on your property that are designed to capture stormwater flow from roofs, driveways, and other hard surfaces and filter it into the ground and away from the lake.