Raising Funds for Milfoil Control

The Chateaugay Lake Foundation was formed in 2007 to raise funds for environmental protection of Chateaugay Lake. The immediate threat was the rapid spread of Eurasian milfoil throughout the lake. A milfoil management plan was developed with assistance from the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College. Estimated costs ranged from $1.5 million for an aggressive three-year program covering all of the shoreline, to lower cost options for phased treatment that would spread costs over a longer time. Resource constraints have dictated a phased approach, with a focus on the sites that are the most critical and the goal of expanding from there.

Four sites have been identified as priorities for treatment: the public boat launch, the sand bar at the entrance to the Narrows, the inlet to the Lower Lake, and the inlet to the Upper Lake (South Inlet).

Funding and Treatment History

Fundraising began in 2007 and control activities began the next year. Over $325,000 was raised through 2012. This supported active treatment by hand-harvesting and benthic matting at all of the priority sites except the South Inlet. The large bed in the South Inlet was marked off with hazard buoys to discourage boat traffic, pending future active treatment.

In 2013, positive results supported continuation of treatment, but funds needed to be replenished. The Foundation developed a Designated Donations program to allow donors to direct their donation for use in a specific segment of Chateaugay Lake: Upper Chateaugay, Lower Chateaugay, or the Chateaugay Narrows. Donors also have had the option of designating their donation for “wherever needed most.” The intent has been to fund ongoing maintenance control in treated areas, while building funds to launch expanded treatment in each part of the lake.

Designated Donations Update

The Designated Donations campaign has raised $201,000 for milfoil control as of the beginning of 2019. This has included about $24,000 for the Lower Lake, $7,500 for the Narrows, $28,000 for the Upper Lake, and $141,000 for wherever it is needed most. About $52,000 has been needed to maintain control at treated sites. Another $20,000 was used in 2018 for expanded treatment in the Lower Lake and Upper Lake, using matching funds from the Towns of Bellmont and Dannemora. Over $100,000 remains in reserve, with an ongoing effort to identify grants that could leverage these funds as match.

Treatment Plans and Cost

One of the lessons from the early years of the milfoil control project is that resources must match the scale of the problem. It usually takes at least three years to bring a dense milfoil bed under control. The Chateaugay Lake Foundation has developed estimates of treatment costs for each segment of the lake, based on mapping of milfoil beds.

The proposed three-year treatment plans can be expected to reduce milfoil densities significantly. Total costs for the three year plans are estimated at $783,000: $191,000 for the Lower Lake, $181,000 for the Chateaugay Narrows, and $410,000 for the Upper Lake. The treatment plans for each part of the lake can be approached in stages to manage these significant costs. To see the near-term goals that are a priority for each part of the Lake, click on the links below. For further background, see Milfoil Control Progress and Plans.

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