“From the school up, that (drainage) work got taken care of when the school was renovated. (It runs off into large dry wells).
Yet despite that run-off, full of potential pollutants, the quality of the lake water is and remains “excellent”.
But, as Mark says emphatically, that “doesn’t mean we can become complacent”And making sure that doesn’t happen is a group of volunteers on the Schroon Lake Watershed steering committee, who help oversee the distribution of some of the $300,000 state grant that the towns of Schroon, Horicon and Chester received last year to re-channel storm water discharge into Schroon Lake.
Some background: The Schroon Lake Watershed committee was established to create the 2010 Lake management plan. It was made up of various state agencies, the Schroon Lake Association, the East Shore Schroon Lake Association, soil and water experts from Warren and Essex Counties, as well as lake management expert Steve LaMere.
“The steering committee is a citizen’s oversight group for the grant. The unique thing about the grant is that it's for three different towns in two different counties where water runs into the environs of Schroon Lake and the tributaries that run in and out of it. The main thrust of it, around $200,000 is devoted entirely to storm water runn -off.
The solution for the Dock Street project will be a series of filtration beds near the town boat launch, hidden under the parking lot. Storm water run-off will be treated through the filtration beds, before flowing into the lake.
So why has it taken so long to address the Route 9 problem in downtown Schroon?
“It's so expensive. Schroon doesn’t have the money”
But make no mistake, while this is a grant, the money is only granted based on what Mark calls “matching money,” up to $150,000.
What that means is that all county, volunteer and town efforts directed towards lake maintenance has a unique dollar value, which can be used to match the grant.
Volunteers from SLA and ESSLA are awarded $20 per hour for volunteer work, so every single hour goes into the match. It's not just the associations, it's the towns and county efforts as well -- if there’s a guy on a backhoe that’s $100 an hour. By comparison $20 is chump change, but it all goes to help getting the grant.
“There are people (from both lake Associations that have 100 hours into it. Everything we do contribute, from hours devoted to fund raising to maintenance to our scout program to the stewards at the boat launches, it all helps”.
Those devoting volunteer hours on the C-SLAP ( Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program, a volunteer lake monitoring and education program that is managed by state Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Federation of Lake Associations) for testing water quality also have their hours counted.
Potentially either complicating, or complimenting the Dock Street Project, is a plan by the Department of Transport to rebuild the bridge near the Yellow Coach Motel. If management on both projects is coordinated, it may reduce the doubling of efforts and save money.
“There is a half decent chance that could happen this summer, so think of this situation, they are digging up Route 9, they are digging up the bridge and they are digging up Dock Street. That will be an interesting problem”. The question is how many times do you have to dig?
Part Two Friday: Schroon Lake versus the Invasive Species.