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Our Forests in Peril

Threats to the quality and enjoyment of Adirondack lakes come not

only from invasive aquatic plants and species, but from various

diseases and invasive species threatening our forests. ​

​The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) poses the greatest threat to

our forests. HWA targets Eastern Hemlocks - one of the foundational trees

of all ADK forests.   Native to Asia, HWA was first reported in Eastern North

America in the 1950s and in Connecticut in the 1980s. With its arrival in Lake George this threat is now right at our doorstep.

Adelgids  are small insects (1mm) with a white woolly covering that is secreted over the body. They are asexual - just one female produce up to 300 offspring 2x every year. Their mouths latch onto branches of their host tree feeding on young twigs, causing needles to dry out and drop prematurely and cause branch dieback. This means that the arrival of just one HWA on a tree (often transported by birds) can over a period of less than ten years destroy every Hemlock in that forest.

Why does this matter? Eastern hemlock trees comprise approximately 10% of the ADK forests. They are fundamental to maintaining erosion control and water quality. They are also among the oldest trees in NY (some more than 700 years old.) Hemlocks typically occupy steep, shaded, north-facing slopes and stream banks where few other trees grow successfully. Equally important, they provide critical habitat for many of New York's freshwater fish, including native brook trout, and provide shelter for deer in winter.

While cold winter days (reaching -30 degrees below zero) have kept the HWA at bay because they cannot survive those cold temperatures) our warming climate makes their arrival here just a matter of time. HWA was first spotted in Lake George in 2017 at which time the DEC treated the trees with insecticides to try to eradicate it. In 2020 DEC confirmed the HWA infestation on hemlock trees in the Glen Island Campground on the shores of Lake George.  While the DEC is committed to an ongoing, multi-year initiative to help limit the spread of HWA and protect priority hemlock that provide habitat and water quality protections, options are limited to prevent the widespread loss of Hemlocks in the Lake George regions. 

To learn more about HWA the video below is a. helpful place to begin. We will continue to monitor the threat of HWA and other threats to our forests and provide ongoing information to the community.  

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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