Welcome to Harris Bay
See below to learn about the characteristics of your bay and what they mean for your water quality.
Harris Bay Profile
Located in the Town of Queensbury in Warren County, the Harris Bay watershed flows into the Dome Island sub-basin of Lake George. This sub-basin is named for the famous dome-shaped island and contains the deepest location in the lake.
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 22% of the watershed (287 acres).
- Properties: Over 75% of the properties in the watershed are within the CEA (343 of 452).
- Streams: There is less than 0.4 miles of DEC regulated AA-Special streams, however there are nearly 12 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: 9.3 miles of roads: including 6.4 miles of Town roads, 1.8 miles of State roads, and 0.9 miles of Private roads. Of the 9.3 miles, 0.9 miles are within 100 feet of the shoreline and at a greater risk for introducing salt and other runoff to the lake.
Impervious Surface Is Impacting Water Quality
15% 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.
90% of the properties (275) in the Harris Bay watershed 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.
Areas to Protect From Development and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
The forested and scrub/shrub wetlands of the Harris Bay watershed area covers approximately 450 acres. That's over 34% of the watershed's area and it provides a critical service to Warner Bay's water quality by cleaning water flowing into the lake. It's an important area to protect.
22% of the watershed has steep slopes. Most are located on either side of the Dunham’s Bay Marsh and largely remains undeveloped. Logging, a large tree die off, and development in those areas would all likely lead to additional stormwater runoff.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is slowly spreading around the Lake, threatening the health of our Hemlock forests. Approximately 21% 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 0.6 miles from your watershed. HWA often spreads via birds and will likely arrive around Harris Bay soon.