Lake Lonely has been experiencing what is called an algae bloom. Basically, when excessive nutrients such as fertilizer or phosphorus enter a still water area as a result of runoff, it creates an environment in which microscopic life, typically phyloplanktin, multiply rapidly. When these small organisms die and decay they absorb large amounts of oxygen. This loss of oxygen serves to threaten the animals and fish who rely on the body of water.
I am a fisherman and I have heard anecdotally that the fishing in Lake Lonely has experienced a steep decline. This lake had been rich in perch, bass, pickerel, pike, and sun fish.
The increasing scarcity of potable water has become a growing concern for public health officials both nationally and internationally. An extreme example is the situation in Flint, Michigan.
All of us should be concerned when any body of water has its quality threatened.
It is unclear what the source of the Lake Lonely problem is. The obvious suspects are:
- Saratoga National Golf Course. This project was controversial from the beginning due to its proximity to wetlands in general and Lake Lonely in particular. In the minutes of the Planning Board meetings when the original application was under consideration, SNGC promised to monitor the water to insure their pesticides and fertilizers had no adverse impact. It is unclear how long they were obligated to continue their monitoring. I have been told that a class from Skidmore did some sort of study that found no problems early in the process. In my meeting with the Mayor’s office, no one was knowledgeable as to what was required of Saratoga National Golf Course in terms of continued monitoring of Lake Lonely’s water quality.
- Spring Run Brook dumps into Lake Lonely. Much of the runoff from our city ends up in Spring Run Brook which in turn ends up in Lake Lonely.
In early May when I met with the Mayor’s staff, they said they would discuss with Mayor Yepsen contacting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to try to determine who is responsible for evaluating the water quality in Lake Lonely and what action the city might take to address what appears to be a growing problem there.
I received an email from the Mayor on May 11 saying that they wanted to pursue this issue. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that I had been told I would be advised of any actions they took, I have heard nothing since.