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November 22, 2022  - Welcome to the Skaneateles Lake Association's (SLA) monthly e-newsletter distributed the last Thursday of each month (or for this month the Tuesday before Thankgiving).

Clear Lake. Pure Water. promotes watershed wide protection of Skaneateles Lake by sharing news on SLA's and community partner work around the watershed along with tips and takeaways on how we can all play a part in lake protection through Lake Friendly Living efforts. 

In this issue please find the following:
  • Community Outreach & Education - SLA hosts "Tour of Watershed Champions" for City of Syracuse Students as part of initiative supported by SLA's Legacy Fund and CNY Community Foundation.
  • Invasive Species - Update on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid efforts.
  • Septic Enhancement Grants - still available in Cayuga, Cortland, and Onondaga Counties.
  • Membership & supporting SLA through Amazon Smiles with online holiday shopping.
Please enjoy and wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for your support!
Photo - Expeditionary Learning Middle School Students on the shores of Skaneateles Lake with Dr. Bahram Salehi of SUNY-ESF.

Over 50 City of Syracuse 7th Graders connect with lake protection professionals as part of SLA education program
In early November, the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) welcomed 57 students from the City of Syracuse’s Expeditionary Learning Middle School as part of the career development component through the Skaneateles Lake Emerging Watershed Scientists (SLEWS) program that is supported by SLA’s Legacy Fund, the CNY Community Foundation, and City of Syracuse School District.

In addition to developing science curriculum for middle and high school students within the Skaneateles Lake area, the SLA recognized a need to connect City of Syracuse students to learn about and have opportunities to help care for Skaneateles Lake as their source of drinking water. The inaugural visit to Skaneateles Lake was to meet a variety of professionals working around Skaneateles Lake.

“It was a jam-packed morning with many opportunities to meet some champions around the lake helping address different problems,” said Frank Moses, Executive Director of SLA.  “We are very grateful that representatives from Fesko Farms, CNY Land Trust, Anchor QEA LLC, and SUNY-ESF made themselves available to share their experiences working to help protect Skaneateles Lake.”

The tour originally was scheduled to visit High Hickory to learn about land preservation and Eastern Hemlock tree protection with CNY Land Trust Executive Director Simon Solomon and Director of Stewardship Paul Porter, but the buses were delayed, and the tour had a great kickoff at Fesko Farms.
Owner and operator Kim Brayman with son Everett teach City of Syracuse students about strip cropping that helps slow down storm runoff.
The tour through Fesko Farms was led by three generations of the family. Chris Fesko, her daughter Kim Brayman, and Kim’s son Everett led the way on the buses introducing many strategies on how a working dairy farm employs Best Management Practices (BMPs) to help keep manure and other nutrients in the soil upland and help avoid over loading into the lake. Students learned about strip buffers, cover crops, and manure storage and other management techniques during their visit.
Principal Tim Johnson with Anchor QEA LLC describes benefits of watershed improvement project to City of Syracuse 7th graders
Next, the students traveled to visit a completed watershed improvement project in the uplands of Willow Creek that SLA helped finance with in-kind support from Brillo Excavating and Waste Disposal and engineering expertise provided by Principal Tim Johnson and his team at Anchor QEA LLC.  Johnson greeted the students and gave them and overview of how streams can carry sediment and nutrients into lakes that can then feed Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Students then learned about a solution used on Willow Creek to divert high flow waters with a log structure into a detention basin that would capture sediment to help keep the lake clean.
Dr. Bahram Salehi and PhD candidate student Sina Jarahizadeh of SUNY-ESF demonstrate a drone flight for City of Syracuse students.
Lastly, students travelled to the SLA offices at St. James Church where they learned about SLA and met with Dr. Bahram Salehi and PhD candidate student Sina Jarahizadeh from SUNY-ESF’s Salehi-Geolab. Sina and Dr. Salehi taught students about how technology like satellites and drones are being used to help monitor and better understand lake water quality. The students were able to see a high-tech drone in action as it flew over the water.  

“All in all, it was a unique and meaningful educational experience for the Expeditionary Learning Middle School students,” said Jason Toner, 7th grade science teacher. “We are thankful for the opportunity SLA and all the site hosts provided and look forward to learning more in the field and on the water in the late spring.”
Photo: Hemlocks in 10 Mile Creek ravine

Frank Moses, Buzz Roberts, Fran Rotunno Fish

I am sure most have heard before Dr. Robert Werner’s statement made in the 1970s in regard to Skaneateles Lake…..”if we lose the Hemlocks, we lose the lake”
More recently, SLA members like the late Bob Duckett, Ron & Roseanne Gaye and Steve Kinne and the CNY HWA Hunters, the NYS Hemlock Initiative, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension have helped bring to light the threat of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) that is infiltrating Skaneateles Lake’s Hemlock trees from the south.  As the SLA’s Milfoil Survey Team was conducting its annual survey of the lake to plan for next year’s matting of milfoil, SLA Board Member, Bill Dean, who was on that team, noted that significant swaths of Hemlocks infected with HWA were being seen more north on the west side of the lake.
Photo: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) egg sacs infecting a tree near 10 Mile Creek. 

Hemlocks are essential to a healthy Skaneateles Lake and are a valuable asset in helping to prevent Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).  Hemlocks are one of the best steep bank and ravine sediment control strategies available to reduce the amount of phosphorus that can feed HABs.  Hemlocks reduce carbon from the atmosphere and keep streams cool.  Hemlocks are especially important in the Skaneateles Lake watershed with its many steep ravines because they are the best natural solution in these areas to helping reduce nutrient/sediment loading into Skaneateles Lake. Their ability to establish root systems on steep slopes and help keep stream cool and thus lake temperatures lower is in high demand now that Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are of major concern. HABs and the toxins they can produce thrive in warmer nutrient rich waters.

The effort to combat and control HWA is being carried out by both Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) and the Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA).

The Skaneateles Lake Association has designated $50,000 from the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake to fund HWA management efforts.  Board Members Buzz Roberts and Patty Orr have surveyed many areas of deep ravines along with Zeb Strickland, a licensed pesticide applicator with extensive experience int treating HWA.  Their survey efforts resulted in identifying large swaths of infected hemlocks on both preserve and private lands that could be treated.  The SLA also received input from private landowners who had identified infected Hemlocks on their properties.  We were especially fortunate to have Zeb Strickland on our team as he is willing and able to rope and repel into deep ravines….which he did to carry out treatments.

To date the SLA has funded treatment of large swaths of Hemlocks infected with HWA on both the south west and sought east side of the lake.  Unfortunately, the HWA Team noted areas of Hemlocks where the damage to the trees from HWA was so severe that treatment was not possible and the trees could not be saved.
Photo: Dead Eastern Hemlock "Ghost" Trees along southwest shoreline of Skaneateles Lake.

In addition to treating large swaths of infected Hemlocks, the SLA has been a resource to property owners to help them identify HWA infection if they were suspicious of it in their individual trees and refer them to licensed pesticide applicators with whom they could contract .

The SLA’s plan is to continue all of its efforts to control and combat HWA next year.  We know that none of this effort would have been possible without the generous donations of our members to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake and hope that all of our members will become supportive of the Fund at the most generous level possible.
Support the Legacy Fund Today!
All of the SLA’s efforts relative to HWA were enhanced by the experience and expertise of SLA Board Member, Dr. Dana Hall, who had initiated and coordinated a similar effort for the Owasco Lake Association where he as also served as a Board Member and Board President.

There are two bright notes to end this article.  One to share with all of you the sheer beauty of the many ravines that are a component of the Skaneateles Lake watershed with many areas of natural vegetation and many small waterfalls.   We encourage those of you who can to get out to the public areas available and enjoy the beauty.  The second bright note is that we need to envision the treatment of HWA as a bridge to the future use of silver flies to combat HWA.  Cornell University is assessing the use for release into areas infected with HWA as the silver flies actually eat the Woolly Adelgid.  Neither pesticide treatment nor silver flies will completely eliminate HWA, but both are tools in our packet to help Save the Hemlocks and Save the Lake.
Photo: Dr. Buzz Roberts releasing Silver Flies at Fillmore Glen State Park on Owasco Lake as part of a pilot project with NYS Hemlock Initiative led by Dr. Mark Whitmore at Cornell University.

You can join the SLA and donate to the Legacy Fund for Skaneateles Lake online at or call Fran Rotunno Fish at 315-558-3142 for additional information and an SLA Member Registration Form.
Septic Enhancement Grants

Funding is still available for septic system replacement or upgrades for eligible residents in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed.  Please click on the respective County below regarding program details. Failing septic systems can add nutrients to our lake and add to the problem of Harmful Algal Blooms. Thank you for considering making upgrades to better protect Skaneateles Lake. 

Cayuga County

Cortland County

Onondaga County
SLA Membership & Support

Please help share the word with your neighbors encouraging them to become members of SLA if they aren't already.  

Also, shopping online for the holidays?  You can now support SLA as you shop. Consider locking in SLA as a default organization to support. Visit HERE for more details or follow step by step instructions below.

Visit  - Log in to your Amazon account - Select "Get Started"

Enter "Skaneateles Lake Association" into search bar and select "Search"
Click on the "Select" button next to Skaneateles Lake Association Inc.
Click on the "Yes" box and select "Start Shopping" - Enjoy your holiday shopping and thank you kindly for your support!
Copyright © 2022 Skaneateles Lake Association, All rights reserved.

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