Aggressive Attack on Milfoil Planned for This Year
Dave Wick, the executive director of the Lake George Park Commission, said last year that with sufficient resources, Eurasian milfoil could be all but eliminated from Lake George within three years. That ambition now looks more realistic than ever.
“This year promises to be the most aggressive yet in the effort to manage Eurasian milfoil in Lake George,” said Wick.
Wick said that $400,000, from a variety of sources, will be devoted to removing the aquatic invasive plant, which was first discovered in Lake George in 1985.
“This is the greatest amount of resources we’ve ever had to devote to the problem in a single year,” said Wick.
Aquatic Invasives Management, or AIM, the Saranac Lake-based firm retained by the Lake George Park Commission and other groups to harvest milfoil, expects to clear 90 to 95% of the lake’s 155 known sites this summer, Wick said.
“If we can’t knock milfoil out, we can knock it back, significantly,” said Eric Siy, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George, whose organization will contribute $150,000 to this year’s effort.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed that $100,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund be dedicated to controlling milfoil in Lake George.
Lake George is the only body of water in New York State to receive a specific, line item appropriation, said Morris Peters, a spokesman for the state’s Division of the Budget.
An additional $100,000 grant provided by State Senator Betty Little in last year’s budget was not disbursed in time for last year’s program, and it will be utilized this year, said Wick.
Little has secured annual appropriations for milfoil control in Lake George since 2006.
With $50,000 from the Lake George Association, available revenue rises to $400,000.
While the LGA and The Fund will contract separately with AIM, “we have one unified, integrated strategy,” said Wick.”
The Fund’s contribution includes seed money for an “Adopt-a-Bay” program, through which municipalities, homeowners and businesses can keep a bay free of milfoil once it has been cleared through routine maintenance.
The Fund will match contributions from stakeholders, said Eric Siy.
“With a few dive days every year, we can keep a bay clear,” said Dave Wick. “We want to make milfoil a thing of the past. With our most recent efforts and with the financial commitment of our partners, we are already reducing milfoil to levels not seen in decades,” said Wick.