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Salt on our Roads:
a peril to our Lakes

Working with The Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), the Water Watch committee has overseen the monitoring of the Blue Mountain Lake watershed for over 25 years. After successfully reducing the threat of acid rain in the Adirondacks, "the program was changed from one that performed nutrient analysis on specific segments of two tributaries (Museum and Potter Brooks); to one that takes a more comprehensive look at the five major streams flowing into the lake" according to the 2021 Watershed Monitoring Report (click to read).

 

The goal of this enhanced program is to gain a better understanding of nutrient loading to the lake and the impact of road deicers. In other words, it has become clear in the last decade that road salt poses one of the greatest threats to the health and vitality of Blue Mountain Lake. It has been shown that in areas where there are sub-watersheds along the eastern shores of BML that salted roads experienced median chloride exports that were 25 to 100 times greater than the least-impacted conditions on other parts of the lake where road salt does not enter the streams/lake. Contamination also doesn't end in spring. A "significant portion of the salt applied to roadways is migrating to the groundwater... during the low flow period of summer and early autumn... because streams are supplied primarily by groundwater during this time." This indicates, according to AWI, that this is "indicative of groundwater contamination."

In addition to continuing our work to monitor the Blue Mountain Lake watershed, the Water Watch committee  will engage the NYS Department of Transportation on how to reduce road salt in the watershed as we build partnerships with other lake associations throughout the Adirondack Park to explore how investment and technological  innovation can aid us in our efforts to protect our waterbodies and drinking water. 

 

Learn more about the need to reduce road salt in the Adirondacks by reading the Adirondack Council's 2009 Report Low Sodium Diet: Curbing New York’s Appetite for Damaging Road Salt posted below.

Help us Keep Aquatic Invasive Plants and Species OUT of our Lakes by following these simple rules BEFORE launching a boat in Blue Mountain, Eagle or Utowana Lakes:

CLEAN.

After boating, before you leave the launch:

Remove all visible plants, animals, fish, and mud from your boat, trailer, or other equipment and dispose of in a suitable trash container or on dry land. Don’t transport any potential hitchhiker, even back to your home. Remove and leave them at the site you visited.

DRAIN.

After boating, before you leave the launch:

Drain water from bilge, live wells, ballast tanks, and any other locations with water before leaving the launch. Invasive viruses, zooplankton, and juvenile zebra mussels and Asian clams can be transported in even just a drop of water!

DRY.

Before you launch to go boating:

Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely. Drying times vary depending on the weather and the type of material. At least five days drying time is recommended.

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