Fund Renews Pledge to Finance Science-Based Solutions to Lake’s Problems
Money being the sinews of war, The Fund for Lake George has launched a “Legacy Strategy” to harness the scientific knowledge generated by the Jefferson Project to arrest the decline in the lake’s water quality.
According to Jeff Killeen, the chairman of The Fund’s Board of Trustees, the organization is “the bridge” between the scientific understanding of the lake and the policies and actions necessary to defuse the threats to the lake that will be revealed through new data.
“Our Legacy Strategy is not only a blueprint for the protection of Lake George, but an affirmation of our founding purpose: to be an organization committed to scientific research for understanding Lake George and to informed advocacy; to be an underwriter of scientific research and an underwriter of science-based solutions that will keep Lake George pristine for generations,” said Killeen.
Killeen invited those attending the organization’s annual meeting at the Sagamore on August 16 to help fund “the science-based solutions” to the lake’s problems.
According to Killeen, eleven individuals, families and institutions have already become lead sponsors of the Legacy Strategy, based on substantial financial contributions.
Those founding members of LG-30, or Legacy Group 30, include Bob and Ginger Bailey, Sally and Buddy Faulkner, the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation, George r. Hearst III and Christine Hearst, Dr. John E. Kelly III and Helen-Jo Kelly, Jeff and Judy Killeen, Janet Kireker, Charlie and Marie Kireker and the Henry M. Rowan Family Foundation.
But, Killeen added, “I hope people will join us as investors at any level. Every gift matters, and every gift of any amount is deeply appreciated.”
The Jefferson Project
The Jefferson Project, the collaborative program of The Fund for Lake George, Rensselaer and IBM to use advanced technology to make Lake George the first comprehensively studied water body in the world, was itself a focus of The Fund’s annual meeting.
When Dr. John Kelly, the Lake George resident who’s IBM’s head of global research, first discussed the Jefferson Project at The Fund’s annual meeting last year, he remarked, “We do not have new data yet, but a year from now, we will have started to see it, and I can assure you, it will be breathtaking.”
Kelly’s prediction proved accurate. As it happens, “breathtaking,” is a word that was commonly used to describe the video displays that were shown at the meeting, although they are, in fact, rudimentary examples of what is to come.
“They’re the tip of the ice berg,” said Kelly, who is also a trustee of both The Fund for Lake George and Rensselaer.
Among them: a full-color, simulated flight through the lake’s subsurface from Ticonderoga to Lake George Village.
The simulated voyage was the product of underwater topographic maps produced by Substructure, a New Hampshire based firm that spent much of last fall and this past spring traversing the lake with multi-beam sonar equipment suspended from the hulls of custom designed boats.
“This is mapping that’s never been done before, at a resolution and level of detail that’s never been seen before,” said Kelly.
According to Dr. Harry Kolar, the IBM engineer who narrated the simulated voyage up the lake, ’ “this is baseline data, a data set that’s foundational and necessary for the development of three dimensional models of circulation,” said Kolar.
The circulation model is one of a series of tools that will be used to help scientists understand the influences the lake’s water quality.
Starting this fall, dozens of sensors will be installed in the lake to feed data to IBM’s supercomputers and then to the new visualization lab that is now under construction at Darrin Fresh Water Institute.
The lab will serve as research and technological hub, where data will be integrated for analyzing, modeling and forecasting the lake’s physical, chemical, and biological processes, said Dr. Jon Dordick, Vice President for Research at RPI.
“By understanding the state of the lake, we can secure the fate of the lake,” said Eric Siy, The Fund’s executive director. “Information is power; there is nothing like the Jefferson Project anywhere on the planet.”
Reversing the Decline in Water Quality
According to Jeff Killeen, the Darrin Fresh Water Institute’s “State of the Lake,” the study based on thirty years of monitoring the lake’s water chemistry, which was financed by The Fund and which was also a focus of the annual meeting, has generated enough information to make practical solutions to some problems feasible.
The damage from salt used by highway departments to keep roads in the Lake George watershed free from winter ice, for instance, is now thoroughly documented.
“We will start raising funds to assist in the strategies to address that problem,” said Killeen.
Killeen said that The Fund will also work with municipalities to improve wastewater treatment systems, which have been identified as sources of excessive nutrients.
“Using Lake George Village as a model, we will be working with municipalities to help underwrite the building of appropriate, new wastewater treatment facilities,” said Killeen.
Killeen said The Fund will also seek financial support for the Jefferson Project’s research, including the costs of sensors.
“One of our roles as a Jefferson Project partner is to lead the fundraising for this vital work,” said Killeen. “We’re not only the bridge from theory to practice, we’re the bridge between the Jefferson Project and the community.”
And the organization will also be a bridge between the scientists and the lake’s policy makers and residents, said Killeen.
“As data becomes available, we’ll package that knowledge and put it before the public, functioning as an educator as well as a grant maker and micro-funder,” said Killeen.