FAQs about the Proposed Use of ProcellaCOR in Lake George

What is the LGA’s position on ProcellaCOR, in a nutshell?

The LGA opposes the experimental use of ProcellaCOR in Lake George to manage Eurasian Watermilfoil because the risk of harm to our Lake is too great relative to the potential benefits. We urge the Lake George Park Commission to pause this approach until sufficient real-use studies are available that address the effects of this chemical on the ecosystem of waterbodies like Lake George — deep, cold, clear, steadily moving waters. With the currently effective management of milfoil through hand harvesting, there is no need for the drastic measure of introducing chemicals to Lake George. For a deeper dive, read our position paper. 

 

Other lakes are using ProcellaCOR. Why shouldn’t it be used in Lake George?

There are insufficient real-use studies of ProcellaCOR’s effects on the ecosystem and users of any water body comparable to Lake George. We urge the Lake George Park Commission to pause its pursuit to experiment with ProcellaCOR in Lake George.  

Just as the characteristics and bathymetry (depths) of Lake George are not comparable to smaller New York lakes like Minerva and Luzerne that have used ProcellaCOR, Lake George is also not comparable to Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, where the chemical has been applied. 

Lake George is long and narrow, creating a hydrodynamical-connected waterbody. This means what happens in one bay is going to reach other parts of this fully oligotrophic lake (low plant nutrients; high oxygen in deep waters).  

Lake Winnipesaukee, on the other hand, is wider, with bays further separated from each other and the central portion of the lake. Unlike Lake George, some of Lake Winnipesaukee’s bays are mesotrophic or eutrophic — they contain higher nutrient counts that more frequently cause harmful algal blooms. 

Because of these significant differences, Lake Winnipesaukee is not a comparable model for Lake George in terms of its response to ProcellaCOR. 

 

Is there a milfoil crisis? 

There is no milfoil crisis. Use of a chemical is a drastic and unnecessary move for a situation that is effectively controlled using hand-harvesting methods. In fact, Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick stated in a March 5 Adirondack Explorer article that milfoil is not a crisis. The LGA contributes $140,000 annually to the Lake George Park Commission’s hand-harvesting program.  

 

How do you know ProcellaCOR is not intended for use in waterbodies like Lake George?

The ProcellaCOR label states it is for use in calm and quiescent waters. Lake George is anything but that, as proven by The Jefferson Project’s circulation models.  

 

Is there a lot of risk in using ProcellaCOR in Lake George?

The limited published studies available, a risk assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency, and the ProcellaCOR label itself identify numerous risks and uncertainties. The LGA has documented these in detailed comments submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in February 2024. Lake George is too important to our economy and to our quality of life to be used as an experiment. 

 

What is the status of the court case (Lake George Association, Lake George Waterkeeper, Town of Hague, and Helena G. Rice vs. Adirondack Park Agency and Lake George Park Commission)?

On March 3, 2023, NY Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller ruled that an adjudicatory hearing is required before the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) votes to approve or deny the Lake George Park Commission’s (LGPC’s) application to use ProcellaCOR in Lake George. 

The APA and the LGPC appealed that ruling. The Appellate Court heard this appeal on March 27, 2024. A decision is expected four to six weeks after the argument. 

If the Appellate Court upholds the Supreme Court ruling, an adjudicatory hearing will be required, giving the LGA the opportunity to present the science supporting its case against using ProcellaCOR. 

If the Appellate Court overturns the Supreme Court ruling, the APA will reconsider the LGPC’s 2022 permits, with additional requirements. Since the 2022 DEC permits have expired, new DEC permits would be required. The LGA will continue to argue before both agencies that adjudicatory hearings are required based upon the new information that has been brought to light as reflected in the LGA’s recent public comments.

 

What could happen if ProcellaCOR is used in Lake George? 

Unintended milfoil growth. As a growth hormone, ProcellaCOR at elevated concentrations will grow Eurasian watermilfoil to death. However, at lower concentrations caused by dilution and drift, ProcellaCOR remains a growth hormone, potentially leading to increased growth of milfoil. 

Extended chemical lifespan. It could remain in the sediment for up to 55 days, and in deep waters for up to 111 days.  

Harm to native plants. It is not as selective as it has been promoted. It could kill native plant species in the Lake that are documented as susceptible to ProcellaCOR. 

Resistance build-up. Milfoil may become resistant to the herbicide, which could lead to the use of additional chemicals to manage it. 

• Ecosystem imbalance. Freshwater invertebrates, the basis of the Lake’s food chain, could be chronically affected, upsetting the ecological balance of the Lake, including mammals, such as otters, whose diet is largely composed of aquatic invertebrates. 

For further information and scientific sources for these bullet points, see the LGA’s objection letter

 

Do the LGA and Lake George Park Commission collaborate on other Lake protection initiatives?

The two organizations have a productive history of working together to safeguard Lake George that goes back decades. Two of our most successful areas of collaboration are the boat inspection program and mandatory septic system inspections. 

To support the Park Commission’s efforts, the LGA contributes $140,000 a year to the Commission’s hand-harvesting of milfoil. It also contributes $79,000 annually to the boat inspection program. And beginning in 2024, the LGA will give grants to qualifying property owners whose septic systems do not pass LGPC inspection for upgrade or replacement.  

Every year, LGA staff participate in the LGPC Asian clam survey and its milfoil swims. Staff also regularly assist with the identification of invasive species found during boat inspections. 

This year, the LGA has created a promotional rack card for the boat inspection program that will be distributed around Lake George during the summer season. And the LGA and LGPC recently began working on a geographic information system (GIS) collaboration to collect accurate stream data. 

Go to the ProcellaCOR landing page >>