LGA and Waterkeeper Document Flaws in Latest Herbicide Permit Applications

March 16, 2023

Continuing our effort to stop the first-ever use of a chemical herbicide in Lake George without proper scientific analysis of potential consequences, the Lake George Association and Lake George Waterkeeper today provided New York State regulators with detailed comments as to why the latest herbicide permit applications from the Lake George Park Commission are seriously flawed and should be deemed incomplete.

The LGA and Waterkeeper continue to urge the Park Commission (a New York State agency) and Gov. Kathy Hochul to withdraw the state’s applications to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency for use of the herbicide ProcellaCOR as an experimental treatment for Eurasian watermilfoil until the many unanswered scientific questions can be resolved. Click here for more information and link to email the Governor and other state officials.

The Park Commission’s 2022 APA permits to apply ProcellaCOR in the Lake were vacated by New York State Supreme Court Justice Robert Muller earlier this month citing a faulty APA review process, but the Park Commission has submitted identical applications for 2023.

In today’s letter to the APA and NYSDEC,  the LGA and Lake George Waterkeeper detailed a number of serious scientific deficiencies in the latest applications, including:

  • Failing to identify the presence of wetlands within the proposed treatment areas;
  • Mischaracterizing the likely size of the dilution zone and spread of the chemical outside of the proposed treatment areas by using a model that does not account for water movement due to wind and natural currents, and treats the Lake and treatment area as a stagnant pond rather than a free-flowing waterbody with complex circulation patterns, hydrodynamics, and stream inflow;
  • Relying on an inadequate methodology for surveying the abundance and variety of aquatic plants in the proposed treatment area, including state-protected species;
  • Failing to provide any assessment of the fish and macroinvertebrate communities, including species composition, population, occurrence, and distribution.

“Once you put an herbicide in the Lake, you can’t take it out. Lake George is simply too special an ecological and economic resource to risk long-lasting damage to its water quality, plants, and organisms from an unnecessary experiment,” said LGA President Eric Siy. “The hand-harvesting method of milfoil removal, a program on which the LGA partners with the Park Commission and provides significant annual funding, is safe and it’s working. There’s simply no emergency that justifies a rushed and inadequate scientific review.”

“The LGA and Lake George Waterkeeper remain ready, willing and able to partner with the Park Commission on the thorough scientific analysis that Lake George deserves,” Mr. Siy added.

“Science must prevail when it comes to protecting the Queen of American Lakes,” said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky. “New York State decided decades ago that this Class-AA Special drinking water source, the state’s highest quality classification, is deserving of special protections. We agree, and that’s why we’re working so hard to keep this chemical out of the water until we fully understand the potential consequences.”