If you see a boat out on the lake today or tomorrow driving, stopping and then driving again with some people throwing something over the side at each stop, they’re not crazy. It is the Cortland County SWCD conducting a macrophyte survey of Little York Lake.
Macrophytes are the plants and algae that occupy the lake. We often refer to them as “weeds.” Some are native and some are invasive, particularly the variable leaf milfoil and the starry stonewort. We’re trying to remove or control the invasives and let the native plants reassert control.
Samples are being taken at 50 meter interavals in a grid pattern covering the entire lake. A double sided rake is thrown over the side of the boat, hauled up, and the “catch” examined, identified and documented. Goodale Lake, feeding into Little York Lake, has been mapped as well.
The macrophyte survey will produce a map showing us what plants we have and where they are located. Combined with work that LYLPS has done in past years, this will give us a road map to navigate our management plans.
The survey is being funded by a grant from the Finger Lakes PRISM to Cortland SWCD with support and input from LYLPS. Thanks to our boat captain volunteers: Lindy Vangeli, Dean and Gerri-Ann Hartnett, Don Fisher and Jarrett Regard plus our mappers, Kathy McGrath and Hannah Whalen. And thanks to Amanda Barber for securing the grant.
Our treatment for Starry Stonewort has been scheduled for Friday morning, July 17th with a rain date of July 24th. Riparian owners will receive notifications by U.S. Mail as well. The treatment area is outlined in this map as areas E,F and G.
The only water use restriction during this treatment is for drinking water. We will be conducting water testing following the treatment (as we do for every treatment) and will update the community when this restriction is removed. Note that lake water should never be used as drinking water in any case.
Saturday DEC confirmed that our water sample from the cove adjacent to Elm Street contained a harmful algae bloom (HAB). We are still waiting on details from the lab to determine the specifics of the organism, its toxicity and treatment.
Detailed information on HABs is contained on this DEC page. The map identifying all recent HAB reports is available here. There are images attached to the report in addition to the one in this post (click to view full-sized).
Until we have more details and an action plan (in the next few days) we strongly urge everyone to avoid contact with the water in that area of the lake (see the map).
In the meantime, if you see anything that looks unusual, please email a picture to [email protected] or text it to 607-218-2550.
We have had two dogs suddenly die after exposure to the lake. Both dogs were in the same area of the lake, along the south-western section of Elm Avenue (see map).
LYLPS board members along with the director of NYSFOLA inspected the area on Monday afternoon looking for evidence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). These bacteria are responsible for harmful algae blooms (HABs). HABs can make people ill, but they can kill dogs.
The following information comes from Webmd:
The algae produce two different toxins: one that causes neurological problems, and one that leads to liver failure, according to David Dorman, a professor of toxicology at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Signs that a dog has ingested blue-green algae include twitching, weakness, seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although it is more common to see symptoms within minutes or hours, it might be days before the toxins take effect.
Blue-green algae are commonly confused with green algae — both can create dense material on the water’s surface that can interfere with activities like swimming and fishing, and may have a similar smell, the Environmental Protection Agency says. But, unlike green algae, blue-green algae can be fatal.
During our inspection we did not see anything that looked like blue-green algae, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t present in the lake. We took a sample of an unusual material floating on the surface in the suspect area and will have an evaluation in the next few days. We are also waiting for an autopsy from the second dog.
Unfortunately, other than avoiding them, there is not much that can be done about them, though research in how to eliminate them has been ramped up in recent years. For now, it is important for everyone to stay vigilant and alert LYLPS if you see anything that looks like a HAB by emailing location and hopefully a picture to [email protected] or texting 607-218-2550.
Signs are posted and the weather looks good for the first of our planned lake treatments. On Thursday morning we are treating the variable leaf milfoil. Treatment is scheduled to begin at approximately 10 a.m. and should take a few hours.
While there are minimal water use restrictions, we are asking boaters to stay off the lake during the treatment period.
Check back here and we will post when the treatment is completed.
This week we received our permits from DEC and are planning our initial treatment on Thursday, June 18th. All lake and downstream property owners will receive a notification postcard in the next day or two.
We will update this post with more details as we have more details.
As mentioned in our last email, we are planning a community Q&A session on Wednesday, May 20th at 7 p.m. Due to ongoing restrictions we will hold the meeting using a Zoom call.
Please register for the meeting by clicking here. Note, we will send the Zoom invitation to registrants at 5 p.m. on the 20th. This invitation will include a phone number if you prefer to listen.
We continue to make progress on collecting donations and preparing for our treatment, but we need all the support we can get. If you haven’t already, please visit littleyorklake.com/beattheweeds and make your donation today.
We hope everyone in your household is safe and sound during this pandemic.
Our lake association board has continued to work on the planned summer treatment program during the NYS on Pause and this post is intended to give you an update and ask for your donation.
We are planning to treat new areas for variable leaf milfoil and begin treatment for Starry Stonewort, the green mat-like plant that covers large stretches of the lake. For details click here.
In mid-March we submitted our permit applications to DEC and mailed notification letters to all riparian owners in the affected area. If you are a property owner at the lake or downstream to Cortland you should have received the notification letter which explains the treatment and the potential water use impacts.
It is important to continue this work even during the pandemic. The “weeds” are still growing and there will be life after we figure out this virus. Please send your donation by check to LYLPS, P.O. Box 56, Little York NY 13087 or donate online at littleyorklake.com/beattheweeds no later than May 10th.
Individual letters were mailed to all lake property owners on 2/29 explaining the treatment plan and individualized costs. Since everyone is benefiting from the lake improvements, we are asking everyone to donate.
The treatment plan with the updated treatment maps can be found here. If you are in the treatment area (as stated in your letter) we are asking you to register here to confirm your interest and commitment to have your lake front treated.
If you don’t receive a letter by 3/6 please email us at [email protected] or call us at 607-218-2550 and we will provide further details.
We will be following the same notification process as last year. You will receive a letter identifying the specific herbicide/algaecide, planned treatment date(s), water use restrictions (if any), and the time period within which you may express any objections and/or questions.
The LYLPS board has had a busy fall reviewing last summer’s milfoil treatment as well as other efforts. We have developed and approved a work plan for 2020 and are in the process of briefing various public entities. This includes the County Ag & Planning and Highway Committees as well as the Soil and Water Conservation District.
Here is a short summary of the plan:
Support the installation and roll-out of the boat decontamination station at Dwyer Park
Continuing support, through C-OFOKLA, of the boat steward program, CCStoptheInvasion.org
Monitor the lake through CSLAP
Conduct regional CSLAP training on May 8th
Expand the monitoring by joining the Finger Lakes PRISM macrophyte program
Treat variable leaf milfoil in previously untreated areas
Test treating starry stonewort
Support new drawdown permit process
Establish shorescaping program in collaboration with SWCD
Continue support of septic education program
Continue to build community
Maintain the lake management plan
As you can see, we have a lot on our plate, but all of it is important and part of our ongoing efforts to restore and maintain the lake.
Of course, one of the more visible components is conducting additional treatments for variable leaf milfoil as well as addressing another major invasive species, starry stonewort. Our treatment plan can be found here.
We issued an RFP in January and received two bids. We have decided to move forward with Solitude Lake Management, the same firm we used for our treatment last year.
We plan to treat milfoil beds in areas where we didn’t treat last year. We plan to conduct the treatment during the early growing season, in May. This year we intend to use a different herbicide, Procellacor. It has been in use for several years in other states and was registered for use in New York last year. This herbicide has been demonstrated to have even less impact on the environment than Navigate and we will use less of it.
Starry stonewort is an algae and requires an algaecide. We are working with the Starry Stonewort Collaborative of the Finger Lakes Institute, Solitude, and DEC to determine the best approach. Treatment will likely occur in July. More information will be provided shortly.
We will follow a process similar to last year:
File for a permit in late February
Notify all affected riparian owners of our intent to treat and approximate dates
Conduct a public meeting to discuss any concerns
Raise money to cover the treatements
Complete the treatments
Of course there are many additional steps involved, but this presents the main points.
One of the key benefits of our treatment program last year was the reduced amount of milfoil floating on the lake. This benefited everyone. This year we are going to ask everyone to donate to support the cost of treatment. We are also going back to the county with a request that they pay for their share once budgets have been finalized.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please email us at [email protected]