|The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has moved into the next step in completing essential upgrades to the Bartlett Carry Dam. As a private owner of the dam, the Foundation is the lead for this essential project, which is expected to cost more than $2 million.
The dam is critical to maintaining Upper Saranac Lake (USL) water levels by as much as 6 to 10 feet; these lake levels are essential to recreation, tourism, and to the ecology of the lake. It has been the Foundation’s charge to maintain this decades-old structure since it was acquired in 1993.
The current working plan is to begin construction in 2023.
USF is looking to be on the front side of needed repairs as opposed to reacting to emergency situations such as the embankment leak that occurred in 2018. This project would alleviate numerous yearly reconstruction projects for the foreseeable future along with the uncertainty and expenses involved with reactionary repairs. The dam improvement project will also help us avoid major incremental maintenance and assure safety compliance standards.
The Foundation’s core strategy to pay for the repairs is to secure funding from a variety of sources. Applications for federal and state grants have been submitted and additional grant sources are being pursued.
We believe that it is in the project’s best interest to explore all practical funding before we go to donors with a request for assistance.
Amongst other sources of funding, the Foundation has applied for Congressional Direct Spending Requests. Applications have been made to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer. We are hopeful that our elected representatives will respond favorably to a request for funding for such an important local project.
How You Can Help
· The Bartlett Carry Dam is located at the south end of the 8-mile long Upper Saranac Lake and retains over 10 billion gallons of water over 225 million square feet.
· The dam is over 100 years old, and it has been patched and repaired several times.
· In 2018, emergency repairs to the dam were required because a dangerous sinkhole had formed along the dam, threatening to breach the structure.
· The current estimated cost of repairs/upgrade is more than $2 million.
· Breaching of the dam would be disastrous. The dam is located above a series of lakes leading to the Village of Saranac Lake. Flooding along these lakes and in the village would cause a major emergency and significant property and infrastructure damage.
· In addition, loss of the dam would have a disastrous effect on both the residents and the tourism industry, and the associated revenue.
· A breach of the dam would drop the level of the Upper Saranac Lake approximately 6 to 10 feet and the waters of Fish Creek by 5 to 8 feet, dramatically altering the beautiful shorelines and leaving hundreds of privately-owned properties unusable, as well as two public boat launches inoperable.
· Fish Creek Campground in Franklin County is the largest, most popular, and greatest revenue-generating New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Campground in the state. The loss of the dam and subsequent lowering of water levels would dramatically change the recreational opportunities enjoyed currently by residents of Franklin County and thousands of visitors.
· Up until 1993, the Bartlett Carry Dam was owned privately. The owner of the dam, at that time, could not afford the expense of maintaining the dam and sold the dam to the Upper Saranac Foundation (USF). The Foundation purchased the dam to assure that the dam would be safe and properly maintained.
· USF is a nonprofit, science-guided advocacy organization that addresses threats to the natural character, environmental quality, and recreational enjoyment of the Upper Saranac Lake Watershed. The Foundation is funded by donations from the public. This foundation has been used to operate very successful invasive species management programs and has conducted water quality monitoring and implemented protective measures in the Lake.
· Unfortunately, current annual levels of giving are not sufficient to pay for the badly needed repairs/upgrade to the dam.
· I fully support and strongly recommend Congressional funding for this initiative.
Here are the addresses for your Congressional representatives:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Charles Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510