Cook Bay

Cook Bay community meeting

Welcome to Cook Bay

See below to learn about the characteristics of your bay and what they mean for your water quality.



Located in the Town of Dresden in Washington County, the Cook Bay watershed flows into the Sabbath Day Point sub-basin of Lake George. This sub-basin sits just north of the Narrows bub-basin and is the shallowest of the 5 sub-basins.

The Critical Environmental Area (CEA), a band of land extending back 500 feet from the shoreline and considered the most ​influential land to the lake's water quality, makes up 16% of the watershed (36 acres).

  • Properties: Nearly all (87%) of the properties in the watershed are within the CEA (48 of 55).
  • Streams: Technically, there is a single DEC regulated AA-Special stream mapped in the watershed. The stream that shows on the map is the legally defined location of the stream. The actual stream (Foster Brook) that is depicted on the map does not flow into Cook Bay but rather it flows into the Lake just north of Cook Bay. It is believed that Foster Brook was moved in the early to mid-20th Century. However, even though Foster Brook doesn’t flow into Cook Bay, there is flow into the Lake from a wetland in that location. There are almost 2.4 miles of intermittent streams that only flow during portions of the year (Spring runoff or rain events) or run year-round and are unregulated by DEC at this time.
  • Roads: 0.9 miles of roads: including 0.5 of County roads, 0.3 miles of Town roads and 0.1 miles of Private roads. There are 0.2 miles of roads within 100 feet of the shoreline and are a greater risk for introducing salt and other runoff to the lake.

Impervious Surface Is Impacting Water Quality

11% of the land in the CEA is covered by impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs, or driveways. Impervious surfaces covering more than 10% of the CEA will have an impact on water quality. You can improve your water quality by avoiding further impervious surface development, capturing any stormwater runoff between these surfaces and streams or the lake shore, and converting existing surfaces into something that water can sink into, like permeable pavers. Consider planting a shoreline buffer as a protective cushion for the lake.

Nearly 95% of the watershed's area is forested. The forested areas cover approximately 208 acres and protect Cook Bay's water quality by providing cover and breaking up rainfall while their roots systems create soil conditions that allow for greater infiltration. It's an important area to protect.

83% of the watershed has steep slopes. Logging, a large tree die off, and development would all likely lead to additional stormwater runoff. Most steep slopes are upland of County Route 6A.

View the Impervious Surface Map


Septic Systems

All of the properties (55) in the Cook Bay area are on private septic systems. Improperly treated wastewater from aging, failing or inadequately designed septic systems is impacting Lake George water quality, threatening human health with organic matter, bacterial and viral pathogens, and feeding algae growth with excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, that can potentially lead to harmful algal blooms (HABs). If you’re a septic system owner, Lake George needs you to contribute to water quality protection by taking the actions outlined in the link below to ensure your septic system is operating properly.

Stop Wastewater Pollution


Areas to Protect From Development and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is slowly spreading around the Lake, threatening the health of our Hemlock forests.  Approximately 59% of the tree cover is Conifer (evergreen) trees, some of which are Hemlocks. Hemlock stands within your watershed have the potential to become infested without proper monitoring and management. The closest confirmed infestation is 3.5 miles from your watershed. HWA often spreads via birds and will likely arrive around Cook Bay soon.

View the Conifer Map


Become a Lake Protector