The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has been awarded a $15,276 grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) to help underwrite the cost of expanding successful efforts to control and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the Upper Saranac Lake (USL) watershed.
This is the fourth consecutive year that USF has received this grant. The funding is dedicated to the initial intensive harvesting portion of AIS removal in Follensby Clear Pond, prior to USF’s commitment to support ongoing management efforts, ensuring the long-term sustainability of this project.
Over the first three years of the grant, USF has dedicated a total of 847 diver work hours and has removed 14,652 pounds of Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) from Follensby Clear Pond. While the ultimate objective is to eradicate milfoil from the 495-acre pond, USF has established a clear track record of long-term management of AIS.
Expansion of USF’s management was directed towards Follensby Clear Pond following a 2017 aquatic plant survey that identified EWM in the pond. In 2019 a culvert at the outlet of Follensby Clear Pond was replaced and enlarged by the New York State Department of Transportation. The culvert created an even greater threat of AIS spreading downstream towards Lower Fish Creek Pond and USL through fragmentation.
Working collaboratively as stewards of the Lake Champlain Basin, USF applied for its first LCBP aquatic invasive management grant in 2020 and completed its objective by clearing the targeted 18 acres, yielding 6,600 pounds of EWM. Unfortunately, USF found additional EWM beds that year, as well as individual plant growth located sporadically throughout the entire pond. This prompted USF to expand its intensive management from 2021 through 2023. EWM density levels have begun to decrease — the expansion of the management area now includes harvesting the entire littoral zone of the pond.
The Follensby Clear Pond AIS Removal Project enhances USF’s larger watershed protection program, which uses a combination of AIS prevention, detection, monitoring, control activities, outreach, and education. Invasive management of upstream tributaries such as Follensby Clear Pond prevents the export of AIS downstream toward USL, protecting shore owners’ investments from infestations.
Funding for this grant is provided by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. For more information on the Upper Saranac Foundation and AIS control please visit our website.