The Upper Saranac Lake Watershed Management Team held the first of three public meetings on Feb. 18 to help inform a management plan for the Upper Saranac Lake (USL) watershed.
The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) was awarded a $68,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop a management plan for the USL watershed; USF contracted with the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) to assist in the effort. The resulting document will define community priorities related to watershed resources and establish the framework for future state funding grant proposals.
The online meeting familiarized attendees with the watershed and the management planning process and presented results of the 2020 USL public survey. The meeting also provided opportunities for the public to contribute ideas toward the future management of the watershed.
“Last month’s meeting was a great opportunity to provide an overview of the project and the watershed, and review the public survey results,” USF Lake Manager Guy Middleton said. “The small group discussions were thoughtful and informative, and we were very impressed with the effort put forth by the participants.”
Invested public identified and ranked a list of resources as at risk in the watershed in surveys conducted in the summer of 2020. At February’s meeting, participants broke into small groups to discuss the list and identified recommendations for protecting these resources to help inform the plan. Topics included clean drinking water, natural shoreline, character of the lake, aesthetic enjoyment, and native plants and animals.
Between now and the next public meeting, the management team will draft a set of goals and recommendations to be presented in May. At the second meeting, the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on these goals and recommendations. The final plan will be complete in the fall of this year.
The project planning team consists of AWI Executive Director Dan Kelting, AWI Deputy Director Zoe Smith, and USF Lake Manager Guy Middleton. A group of advisors consisting of representatives from state, county, and local agencies as well as nonprofits and residents of the watershed are also part of the team that is guiding the plan.
A project web page has been developed to provide details and updates about the management plan and meeting announcements, materials, and recordings from the sessions. The management team is also accepting comments and ideas throughout the project period by emailing either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.