Invasive species, like the spread of deadly algal blooms, has dominated headlines this summer.
The issue received a boost last month when Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior Senator, visited Lake Placid to champion the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, one of the three proposed Great Lakes Bills that would accelerate the federal government’s review process when it considers whether to ban the importation of animals and plants, among other measures.
Combating invasives is a bipartisan issue that has sweeping ramifications across the region.
Their pervasive spread costs the federal government damages of $120 billion per year and their presence in the Adirondack Park — including blue algae, milfoil, zebra mussels and the spiny water flea — has the opportunity to derail the chief economic driver of the region — tourism, an industry that generated $144 million in local taxes last year and is the keystone to the North Country’s future, one that complements emerging developments in the biomass energy industry, agriculture and international trade sectors.
Excessive amounts of algae, alongside manmade contaminants, chokes off oxygen and leads to dead zones within bodies of water, places where life cannot exist.
Readers may be familiar with the problems facing Lake George.
There, dead zones have been reported, little storms of stagnation — pockets of slimy algal ooze paired with synthetic pollutants that have posed as a mortal threat to aquatic survival. Exhaustive efforts are under way to keep these combatants in check, including a proposed study in September that will enlist volunteers to scope the shores for the Asian Clam.
Another example of a dead zone is Tupper Lake. Beneath the austere gunpowder-gray sheen of Big Tupper belies a sense of unnatural gloom.
While the lake itself is just fine, a recent peek into the human habitat shows a disproportionate percentage of those fortunate enough to be working are employed in the public sector, a number expected to shrink as restruction at Sunmount Developmental Disabilities kicks a wider swath into a struggling private sector that often, has no place for them.
The invasives threatening Tupper Lake are the two radical environmental organizations who threw up another roadblock to the Adirondack Club and Resort Project earlier this month with another legal challenge.
The motion, filed by the two groups made in the Appellate Division, Third Department, is just another ruinous attempt to flush people out of the Adirondack Park, a coordinated action attempting to destabilize the economic stability of the region to pursue their fanatical environmentalist agenda.
Earlier this summer, a state appellate court voted 5-0 that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) did not err in awarding Preserve Associates the permits to undertake the largest construction project approved by the APA, the construction of 600 vacation homes near the Big Tupper Ski Area.
The announcement follows the 10-1 ruling in 2012 that the APA conducted a thorough review and the project would not have an adverse environmental impact on the 6,000 acres in question, 90 percent of which were to remain undevelopment after years of negotiations with various stakeholders.
Environmental organizations are an integral component to the Adirondack ecosystem. They act as indispensable counterweights to commercial interests and their advocacy is often overlooked by natives who are often frustrated at navigating the cumbersome bureaucracy that is an unfortunate counterpart to our unparalleled natural beauty.
The Adirondack Council led the charge on forcing Adirondack Club developers to implement greener energy standards and to reduce potential light pollution. They also pushed for clustering that would have reduced the amount of development across the acreage and more intensive wildlife studies to be conducted by the APA.
Despite their efforts, they failed on the last two accounts and the project continued forward. But the Adirondack Council opted to chalk the defeat up to what they perceived as internal flaws within the organization and have opted to pivot their strategy to influence the discussion in other areas.
They should be commended for that. We agree with them that the APA should be compelled to scrutinize those issues when addressing development projects while politely disagreeing to the exact scope.
This long-term plan to ensure the discussion amongst various stakeholders in the Adirondack Park remains civil is in contrast to the scorched earth approach favored by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, spiteful and vituperative legal maneuvering designed to antagonize Tupper Lake residents and stick the people trying to improve the local economy with the court fees in the process.
These actions are causing direct economic consequences to good people.
Like the fight against the invasives, ensuring the sustainability of the human ecosystem should be an issue that transcends partisan and ideological squabbling. This includes good schools, competitive jobs and a sustainable year-round economy centered around infrastructure development for our small communities.
Anything less is unconscionable.