2015 Fall Progress Report
Fellow Lake Owners:
2015 will go down in the record books as the most productive mechanical harvesting year since the gathering of statistics. In-spite of a dysfunctional program to start the season, the project team was tremendously successful in changing the course of the program through bold and drastic changes which eventually was responsible for either meeting or exceeding expectations placed on us by scientific experts and most importantly the regulators.
I have to concede that this year was very difficult at times due to the lack of volunteers and the problems that are associated with dealing with a bureaucracy. This season unquestionably was a period of significant growth in which we relied heavily on outside experts in many areas that were unfamiliar to the project team. With their expertise and the project team having tighter controls on productivity and personnel, accountability improved considerably, which in turn produced unbelievable results. Our “can do” attitude proved vital toward convincing APA and NYS Environmental Conservation Department that we are worthy of respect and favorable recognition. They now believe that we have an infrastructure and leadership model to deal with the most difficult challenges.
It is hard to visualize how a harvester program can cut and collect 65,000 pounds of vegetation in one season. That is exactly what occurred this year. The poundage was over double what was harvested last year. Never in the history of this program has there been an all out effort to collect bio-mass missed by the harvester. This proactive approach to milfoil management was responsible for collecting 14,000 pounds which in turn prevented this massive amount of milfoil from sinking to the bottom of the lake and re-seeding and becoming a nuisance and problem next year. This was an amazing feat given the fact that it was done with borrowed equipment, various volunteers, surface collectors with little or no experience and hot weather conditions which at times made it extremely difficult for the team to conduct their work. I thank everyone who participated in this very demanding and labor intensive task on the lake.
Because of increased oversight, proper planning and better maintenance of the machine, the hours logged on the harvester was four times the operational hours as compared against last year. I am hopeful we can increase the hours of operation next year by starting the harvesting season one week earlier and then assessing the need to harvest after Labor Day. After conducting a recon of the lake two weeks after Labor Day, it was evident that harvesting would have been extremely productive if conducted a week or so after the last holiday of the summer.
The project team is investigating the feasibility of forming our own hand harvesting dive teams. This again would be another first for our lake. I do believe with proper oversight and management it would achieve results far beyond what has occurred in the past on Lake Hadlock. Hand harvesting is a discipline that is very specialized and in great demand not only in the Adirondack Park but hundreds of other lakes throughout the State of New York. The outside contractors who perform this work in our geographical area are fully engaged with other larger lakes and it is unknown at this point what, if any contractors, will be available in the foreseeable future. This study will continue into the winter and a determination will be made at some point prior to the spring of 2016 as to our strategy in dealing with this problem.
On September 15th, I submitted our $95,000.00 budget for 2016, which was about $10,000 over last year’s appropriations. I would like to point out that due to strict accountability of expenditures and good fiscal management, we will have about a $45,000 surplus at the end of the calendar year. This budget was designed on the four following tenets: continuous improvement of our mechanical harvester program, creating our own dive team to conduct hand harvesting, the purchase of used equipment to augment the harvester and having a fully paid workforce, thereby eliminating the need for volunteers. If approved, little or no tax increase will result because of the surplus and having over $100,000.00 in savings in the park district account.
Finally, the outstanding effort this year contributed greatly to our water clarity nearing 20 feet, water purity being classified as potable and our beautiful lake being trout compatible. That in my opinion is a very impressive list that so many of our sister lakes would love to have considering the challenges their facing going into the future. We must not rest on previous accomplishments. It is imperative that we keep the positive momentum going, which has in my opinion become contagious and produced positive results in other areas that the lake will benefit significantly from in the future.
Being good stewards of our lake, means engaging in the “relentless pursuit” of excellence and making a difference everyday when we consider our options and work toward achieving the objectives of the plan. The project team knows that the previous stigma that has dogged this lake for the last ten years is now disappearing because of hard work and effective leadership. We are not looking back but rather with excitement and anticipation, looking into the future and knowing there is greater achievements around every corner. The future of Lake Hadlock is predictable if we stay the course and never put our self interest before the ecology of the lake. Thank you.
Project Manager, Lake Hadlock Park District