Measuring Lake Water Clarity
A Secchi disk is an 8-inch disk with alternating black and white quadrants. The disc is lowered into the lake until it can no longer be seen by the observer. This depth of disappearance, called the Secchi depth, is a measure of the transparency of the water.
Transparency can be affected by the color of the water, suspended sediments and algae. Transparency diminishes as color, suspended sediments, or algal abundance increases. Water is often stained yellow or brown by decaying plant matter. Algae are small, green aquatic plants whose abundance is related to the amount of plant nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Therefore, transparency can be affected by the amount of plant nutrients streaming into the lake from sources such as septic tanks, sewage treatment plants, and lawn and agricultural fertilizer. Suspended sediments are often due to resuspension from lake bottoms, construction sites, agricultural fields, and storm runoff.
Trash Clean-up – Lake Bottom, Shoreline and Beyond! The Boon Family’s annual effort to remove trash from the bottom of Fourth Lake inspired this event and may inspire you as well! Read their story and more!
What began as a family tradition of sprucing up the area around their Fourth Lake camp has evolved into a widespread clean up event dubbed Maintain the Chain (MTC) that focuses efforts on the Fulton Chain of Lakes. MTC featured in the Adirondack Explorer. Wonderful article by Jamie Organski. Read all about MTC including the history behind the event.
PROTECT OUR LOONS
Thousands of birds are injured or killed each year due to fishing line entanglement. Heroic staff from the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation detangle a bird caught in fishing line (left). The Department of Environmental Conservation warns that loons are at risk for lead poisoning due to ingestion of lead fishing weights (right).
Lead fishing weights removed from the stomach of loons.
ALGAL BLOOMS and INVASIVE SPECIES
Left: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), rapid accumulation of algae in lakes that can be harmful to both wildlife and humans. Common colors are green, blue-green, yellow, brown, or red.
Middle: Eurasian Milfoil, is an invasive aquatic plant that destroys ecosystems. Due to the dense mats that it forms, it often makes activities such as boating and swimming difficult or impossible. Furthermore, clusters of these plants serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Right: Zebra Mussels are an invasive, fingernail-sized mollusk with dark, zig-zagged stripes on each shell. Zebra mussels negatively impact ecosystems in many ways. They filter out algae that native species need for food and they attach to--and incapacitate--native mussels.
Left: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is a tiny insect that feeds on hemlock trees. It can kill a tree in as quickly as four years once infestation has occurred (Courtesy of Adirondack Council).
Middle: Spotted Lantern Flies are in invasive pest from Asia that feed on a variety of plants such as maple and walnut trees, and thus pose a significant threat to New York's agricultural health.
Right: Phragmites, also called common reed grass, is an aggressive wild grass that overtakes wetlands and roadsides, growing as tall as 15 ft. These grasses impact views, damage infrastructure, and reduce property values (Courtesy of Adirondack Council)
The gypsy moth, now called the spongy moth, appeared in great numbers last year (2021) in the Eastern Adirondacks. The numbers were so great that the sound of them eating and defecating was audible in some places, providing one of nature’s creepier soundtracks. The caterpillars surge every 10 to 15 years or so, but healthy trees can generally survive a couple years of defoliation.