Photo (L to R) – Aboard “The Bob” - (Dr. Robert Werner Research & Education Boat) - SLA Board Members, Dr. Bill Dean, Co-Chair of Lake Ecology Team; Dr. Paul Torrisi, President; Dr. Buzz Roberts, VP and Lake Ecology Team Co-Chair conducting a Milfoil Survey.
As you read the report, please consider how important SLA membership is in advancing this effort as well as overall NYS support of the Environmental Protection Fund that allows Onondaga County to commit funds to SLA through the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance. Many thanks to Onondaga County and our members and donors!
Please encourage more membership to SLA to support programs like this and enhance the volume of our voice for Skaneateles Lake.
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Skaneateles Lake Eurasian Watermilfoil Control
2022 Annual Report
Photo – patch of Eurasian Watermilfoil on Skaneateles Lake
PROGRAM & FINANCIAL OVERVIEW
The Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) implements a Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) control program on Skaneateles Lake that has reduced that species coverage to a level requiring “maintenance” control.
While most associated program costs, totaling close to $200K, are paid for by SLA memberships and other funding sources, the $40K in FLLOWPA* funds, administered by Onondaga County, has also provided valuable needed assistance. (*FLLOWPA – Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance is funded though the NYS Environmental Protection Fund)
SLA’s overall commitment to preventing and addressing invasive species through the Boat Launch Steward Program, Hemlock Tree Protection, and Milfoil Control represents over a $300,000.00 annual investment in Skaneateles Lake and its watershed that could not be possible without dedicated SLA members, SLA Legacy Fund and other donors, and public funding support.
Photo courtesy of Ty Denslow – Milfoil Control work boat with matting on board
2022 MILFOIL CONTROL OPERATIONS
Through services provided by Aquatic Invasives, Inc., divers underwent a training program that started on May 24, 2022, and began diving related to deploying benthic mats on May 31st. The mats are constructed from geotextile material; 12 ft. wide and each mat is approximately 60 ft. long. They are rolled up on a 14 ft. 2 X 4. Multiple mats are loaded on to the pontoon boat and carried to the priority sites identified the previous summer. The last set of mats were deployed on July 26th.
In total, 325 mats were deployed covering approximately 6.25 acres of milfoil this year. Each mat is left on the milfoil patch for a minimum of 8 weeks to insure complete elimination of any milfoil under the matting. After that time has elapsed, divers return and roll up the mats. The mats are then tied to the 2 X 4 and stacked on the bottom for pick up later. That last set of mats were retrieved on October 23rd.
Photo – Side-scan Sonar imaging with Milfoil signature on the newly built Dr. Robert werner Research & Education Boat.
MILFOIL SURVEY - DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING
Each summer after the mats are deployed, the entire littoral (shallow depth) zone of the lake is surveyed using visual verification through rake tosses and sonar with GPS to locate existing milfoil patches to be addressed the next year. Using software from BioBase, patches are mapped, and a polygon is drawn around each patch to determine its area.
Priority sites are based upon area size with highest priority going to the largest patches that exhibit Eurasian watermilfoil density of 70% plus within the patch based on visual observation. Other factors such as lake depth, slope of lake bottom and boat launch activity are decision factors in matting locations.
The 2022 priority sites with number of mats deployed at the approximate GPS location are listed here:
Table 1 – 2022 listed matting locations with quantity of mats at each location. Map photo – geographic distribution of 2022 matting areas.