The Upper Saranac Lake Watershed Management Team held the second of three public meetings on May 6. The online meeting was an opportunity for the public to hear from the project team about the plan’s preliminary goals and provide feedback on these goals. The team administered a public survey in the summer of 2020 and held the first public meeting in February 2021.
A project web page has been developed to provide details and updates about the management plan as well as meeting announcements, materials, and recordings from the sessions. The latest video presentation describes the vision and overview of the plan, and details its preliminary goals.
The Upper Saranac Watershed Management Plan guides a vision of a watershed that sustains exceptional water quality and healthy ecosystems that are managed and protected through science-based decisions, advocacy, and collaboration. The actions in the plan support the freshwater and terrestrial resources and promote social and economic benefits for residents and visitors of the watershed.
Over the next few months the management team will develop action items supporting these goals. Action items will be posted on the project webpage for additional public input. At the third meeting, the project team will present a proposed draft plan. The final plan will be complete in the fall of this year.
- Protect the quality and ecological function of water resources for drinking water, recreation, public health and safety, and climate resilience
- Maintain habitat for native plants and animals to ensure their long term viability in the watershed
- Promote wise stewardship and responsible use of recreational resources in the watershed such that these assets are well maintained and protected and can be enjoyed safely by residents and visitors
- Protect and enhance the aesthetic values and special characteristics of the watershed
- Address priority watershed issues through improved local planning, regulatory programs, and other municipal actions that are integrated, collaborative, and forward thinking
- Implement targeted outreach and communication to stakeholders within the watershed to increase awareness about best management practices and lake stewardship
- Encourage a culture of community and a greater sense of involvement in guiding the future of the Upper Saranac watershed
“The plan is a guiding document to help protect the quality of the waterways and the future of the watershed,” said Dan Kelting, executive director of Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. “We want the plan to reflect the concerns of the people who live here and who visit the waterways and lands in the watershed.”
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 involved.
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.
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