From the SLA: A stake in the lake
By Fran Rotunno Fish and Rachael DeWitt
When designing the banner for the first issue of the SLA Newsletter in the spring of 2011, we chose the following headline for the banner…”For all those who have a stake in the lake”. Over the years and especially since the major Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in the fall of 2017, the SLA board has taken steps to expand on that banner headline theme via written materials, newspaper articles and small group presentations and collaborating in providing educational forums to encourage all who have a stake in the lake to become stewards of the lake and for the lake.
The response from the community has been significant. Community members have stepped up to the plate to learn how they can individually take small steps to promote the health of the lake water, dozens have joined in to monitor the lake for the appearance of Harmful Algal Blooms and obtain water samples during storm events. Much of this community stewardship was ignited by the HABs and the SLA Board intends to continue to promote and expand this type of community response.
While this community steward response to the HAB events is very important, the board is also keenly aware that we have to continue to focus on the continued threat of invasive species to our lake water and the lake as a community resource and economic driver. The Great Lakes have 183 invasive species, Skaneateles has five. That number could easily rise from just one boat bringing in a new invasive. Here in Skaneateles we are less than 40 miles away from Lake Ontario, and their problems are knocking on our door. If you would like to learn more about invasive species and the problems facing our freshwater lakes, we highly suggest reading the book, “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,” by Dan Egan. We need to act now before our problems get worse. SLA is ramping up our Invasive Species Steward Program to protect our lake and prevent this from happening.
Recognizing that the threat of additional invasive species, especially the dreaded Hydrilla found extensively in nearby lakes, needed expanded attention, the SLA board applied for and received a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to expand our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward Program.
The funds received enabled us to start our Stewards working at the beginning a May and keep them on duty into October. Further, with the grant funds we were able to have the Stewards in place longer hours during the day and more days at more launch sites around the lake. We accomplished this by hiring adult Stewards from the community in addition to the high school and college students we have always employed. Along with funds to pay for the additional personnel and hours, our grant funds also enabled us to purchase a small shed to be kept permanently at the NYS DEC Launch site on West Lake Rd. With our Stewards starting earlier in the season, earlier in the day and staying later in the season and later in the day, providing them with shelter was important and the grant funds allowed us to do this. Most of you know that grant funds are intended to provide an organization with an element of structure or equipment or to provide initial funding for an expansion of service. However, grant funds are never intended to supplant the need for ongoing funding of an organization’s program. In order for the SLA to continue the expansion of our Invasive Species Monitoring Steward coverage of Skaneateles Lake launch sites we need to have every 2017 member who has not yet joined for 2018 to join now and we need several hundred additional members more than we had in 2017. Our membership is growing but in these last weeks of 2018 it needs to grow significantly more.
You can join the SLA for the first time or renew your membership for 2018 online at SkaneatelesLake.org or call 315-685-9106 and ask for a Member Registration Form to be mailed to you. Our SLA annual memberships are rolling and effective for one year from the date paid.
We thank the following for or supporting the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days: Frank Suits, Allyn Family Foundation, Elizabeth & John McKinnell, Deborah & James Tifft.
We thank the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day: Laura & Sean O’Keefe, Heather & David Wheat, Judy & Philip Hider, Patricia & Ralph Troisi, White & White Antiques and Interiors (Bev & Steve White), Gretchen & Caleb King, Gina & Geoffrey Wickwire and an Anonymous Donor.
We thank the following for sponsoring a Steward for a day: Casmir Bobowski, Karen & David Hempson, Nancy Peck, Virginia & Jeffrey Stannard, The Higgins Family, Judith & Steven Zdept, Jacqueline & David Eng.
We thank the following for their contributions to the David Lee Hardy Fund: Susanne Guske & Lee Klosowski, Karen & David Hempson, Nancy Peck, The Higgins Family, David Altmeyer, Connie Brace & Paul Higman, Robert Hogan, Aster Weddings, Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Company, Thomas Potter.