November 21, 2022
As the Lake George Association prepares to fully launch its new Lake Protector program, it’s only fitting that Randy Rath is playing a crucial role.
Randy has been applying his technical expertise in geography, geographic information systems, and climate change to help homeowners, businesses and municipalities protect Lake George for two decades.
As he marks his 20th anniversary with the LGA, we congratulate him on his accomplishments and his well-earned reputation as a Go-To, Can-Do resource for Lake protection projects of all types and sizes.
A Glens Falls High school graduate, Randy first stuck his toe in the waters of Lake protection during a summer break while pursuing a PhD in geography and climate science at the University of Utah. The LGA was interested in using geographic information systems (GIS) as a protection tool and hired him on a part-time basis to get their program established. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Buffalo and University of New Mexico already in hand, he was more than up for the challenge.
At the end of that summer, Randy returned to Utah. But he soon decided to put his doctoral plans on hold. His newfound interest in Lake protection – and a burgeoning relationship with a young lady he met over the summer – were calling him back home, and the LGA was only too glad to welcome him back.
Randy officially began his LGA career as a GIS Specialist, working three days a week on LGA projects and two days under contract to the Lake George Lake Champlain Regional Planning Board. Two years later, he added the role of Project Manager to his responsibilities and dedicated his full attention to the LGA. Today he is our Lake Protection & Geospatial Systems Analyst, assembling data from a wide variety of sources into maps that provide an in-depth look at the geography and other characteristics of land throughout the Lake George watershed and how they impact water quality. Randy has also worked closely with property owners and municipal officials to help them plan, implement and obtain funding for Lake protection measures, with a particular emphasis on stormwater management.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with the LGA.,” Randy says. “And the people around the Lake -- whether they’re property owners or work for a municipality or with another environmental organization – there’s just a lot of good people. They call me and say, ‘We’re working on this project. Can the LGA help me out?’ And being able to help them make things happen, and know you’re doing something good, that’s been the best part for me.”
Over the years, Randy says, he’s seen a sea change in people’s interest in Lake protection and their willingness to collaborate with an environmental organization like the LGA. “I’ve seen that transition from, ‘Oh, those guys are here. I don’t want to work with them,’ to ‘Hey, this project’s working, it’s really doing a good job. Can you take a look at this now?’ And that’s rewarding.”
Now, Randy and the LGA are taking that property owner education and assistance to an exciting new level with the launch of our Lake Protector program. For much of the past year, Randy has been applying his geospatial technology skills to creating a database that will build Personal Protection Profiles for property owners who sign up as Lake Protectors to take direct protective actions on their property.
Using a wide array of publicly available data on the physical characteristics of land throughout the watershed, Randy is helping assemble property-specific profiles that show property owners priority water quality threats in their area of the Lake, how the physical characteristics of their property may well be contributing to the risk, and what they can do to reduce that risk and improve Lake protection. Equipping residents and businesses with their own Profiles is the first step toward providing curated Protection Plans. Randy is on the LGA’s technical team that will provide direct assistance to property owners as they implement these Plans. More than 200 Lake Protectors have signed up so far and the first Profiles are scheduled to be delivered this winter. Given mounting threats to the Lake, all
“We’re taking all of this complex data and creating profiles that are understandable to property owners,” Randy says. “From there, we’ll be able to go out and help the folks living around the Lake participate directly in reducing threats to water quality, especially from stormwater runoff and inadequate wastewater treatment, which contribute to the risk of more and larger harmful algal blooms.”
“I think everybody that's on the Lake, whether they've been here for generations or only a few years, they just love the Lake and what it does for them. And I think that, ultimately, everybody wants to do the right thing. Our job is to help them by giving them the guidance and support they need to succeed.”
The LGA is pleased – and the entire Lake George community is fortunate – that Randy chose to return home 20 years ago and put his skills to work for the betterment of our Lake.
Oh, and by the way, the young lady that played a pivotal role in his homecoming? Kim and Randy have been married 21 years and have a daughter, Reagan, who’s a junior at the University of Maine, and a son, Carson, who’s a senior at Glens Falls High.