Morning Read: Lake Georgers debate dredging

A lively debate is underway in Lake George about the effectiveness and environmental impacts of dredging to remove sediment deltas around the lake’s streams.

The idea of removing silt deltas has divided two of the most prominent environmental groups, the Lake George Association and the Fund for Lake George, according to the Glens Falls Post Star.

The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lake George Association have been trying for three years to obtain permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to begin scooping out tons of silt and sand deposited by the streams. Officials from the groups hope to have permits in hand to begin dredging at Finkle Brook next spring.

“They are not natural features,” said Conservation District Manager Dave Wick on Monday. “They are the results of upland development and stormwater runoff.”

Project proponents argue that dredging would improve recreational opportunities, especially at silt-laden sites like the Hague Town Beach, and improve fish-spawning opportunities.

But leaders of The Fund for Lake George disagrees with their longtime partners at the Lake George Association, and they have repeatedly questioned the proposal’s merits.

The Fund’s position has been there’s no proof the deltas are anything but natural features fed by local wetlands.

“The lake is a very dynamic and living entity,” said Peter Bauer, the Fund’s executive director. “Streams deliver sediment to the lake. That’s part of the process.”

This debate has been on-going, and it comes as Adirondackers begin a debate over dredging — and other management — of the Ausable River post-Irene.

The Burlington Free Press also ran a fascinating account of Vermont’s debate over river management this week, which you can find here.

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2 Comments on “Morning Read: Lake Georgers debate dredging”

  1. tootightmike says:

    Without looking at a map, I have to say that wetlands do not deliver sediments to the lake…only running streams. Wetlands capture sediment because of the slowed current. I grew up near a small reservoir that silted up completely. Where there used to be boats and fishermen, there are now lawnmowers. This was entirely due to new construction of a nearby interstate and accompanying sprawl just a mile upstream.

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  2. Alan Gregory says:

    All the more reason, it would seem, to severely limit development in the lake’s watershed. Besides, “development” equals “sprawl.” And sprawl fragments wildlife habitat.

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