September 23, 2022
The Lake George Association has appointed Lake George native and accomplished environmental project manager Monika LaPlante to the newly created position of Managing Program Director.
Reporting directly to LGA President Eric Siy and working closely with the organization’s science, technical and education teams, Ms. LaPlante will oversee and coordinate the day-to-day development, implementation and management of the LGA’s science-to-solutions programs with the goal of sustained Lake George protection and the continued creation of a working model for protection of fresh waters worldwide.
“Monika is an outstanding addition to the LGA ’s Lake-protection team,” Mr. Siy said. “With master’s degrees in biology and computer science, experience as an environmental project manager, and a lifelong love of Lake George, she is ideally positioned to serve in this key leadership role as we build a new generation of science- and technology-guided programs to tackle compounding threats and deliver lasting water quality protection.”
The new role fulfills a career promise Ms. LaPlante made to herself more than a decade ago. As a senior at Lake George High School in 2008, she was awarded an LGA scholarship and told her family and friends she would have a career with the LGA one day. Her interest in protecting her hometown lake grew even stronger during college, as she spent three summers with the LGA’s Lake Stewardship program, inspecting boats for invasive species, and two summers as a research assistant with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing.
“This is truly a dream come true,” she said. “I always knew the LGA is where I ultimately wanted to be, and every step in my academic and professional careers prepared me for this opportunity. The LGA is at the forefront of turning science into solutions and that’s a perfect fit for me. Every one of the LGA’s Lake-protection programs is built upon sound science and data, and I look forward to applying both my scientific and technological skills to protecting the Lake I grew up on.”
“Lake George is a lake unlike any other,” Ms. LaPlante added. “It stands alone in its beauty, its geography and its water quality, and by working together with our community, the LGA is ensuring it will stay that way.”
Of priority importance for Ms. LaPlante is the growth of the LGA’s new Lake Protector Program, which utilizes an array of data to educate, equip, and empower property owners across the Lake George watershed to take direct actions to reduce the impacts of stormwater, wastewater, and other water quality threats. The Lake Protector Program is integral to powerful new programming to curb the formation of Harmful Algal Blooms, which have devasted other lakes and lake-based economies across the country, and to stem the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid invasive insect, which threatens the Lake George basin’s hemlock forests that are so important to water clarity and health.
In addition, Ms. LaPlante will coordinate the LGA’s collaboration with RPI and IBM Research on the Jefferson Project environmental research program, which gathers and analyzes vast amounts of physical, chemical and biological data from across the watershed to identify and monitor water quality threats. The LGA then uses this data, as well as data gathered by the Lake George Waterkeeper program, to inform implementation of its Lake-protection strategies. In working with The Jefferson Project, Ms. LaPlante will be reunited with her former RPI research advisor, Kevin Rose, Ph.D., an associate professor in freshwater ecology who serves as Acting Director of the Project.
"Our scientists at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute are looking forward to working closely with Monika. Her experience working with high frequency environmental sensors while she was a graduate student at Rensselaer nicely complements our ongoing work in The Jefferson Project,” Dr. Rose said. “Monika’s new position at the LGA will effectively leverage her many talents and experiences, and I anticipate this being a great opportunity to coordinate our lake education, monitoring, and research programs even more closely."
Ms. LaPlante joins the LGA after five years as Data Manager at Archbold Biological Station, a world-renowned, not-for-profit research station located in Florida’s Everglades and dedicated to long-term ecological research. In that role, she oversaw all of the data gathered by the station, including water quality and weather data from sensors around central Florida.
Ms. LaPlante holds a bachelor's degree in environmental science from Northeastern University, a master’s in computer science from Pace University, and a master’s in biology from RPI. When not protecting Lake George, she is an avid scuba diver and volunteers with the Saratoga County Animal Shelter for which she has fostered more than 80 animals.
The Lake George Association is the preeminent Lake-protection organization, providing technical and financial assistance to property owners; world-class research and direct protection programs through The Jefferson Project, the Lake George Waterkeeper, and an array of public-private partnerships; public education programs; and public policy advocacy, all with the goal of protecting the Lake’s water quality today and for the future. For more information, please visit LakeGeorgeAssociation.org.