Walter Lender, Executive Director of the LGA, speaks during an Essex County Committee meeting chaired by Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney.
Essex County is poised to spend $2,500 to help get rid of an evasive species in Lake George.
The Economic Development/planning and publicity committee of Essex County moved a resolution to the full board to give the money to the Lake George Association (LGA), which is in the second year of an Asian Clam eradication program on the waters that border Ticonderoga.
“I know that Essex County only has a little portion of the lake, but this is a lakewide issue that needs to be dealt with,” LGA Executive Director and Ticonderoga resident Walter Lender said. “This is a lakewide project. We want to eradicate it while we can, which is now.”
Lender said that the project has been effective over the first year, when the county also gave $2,500 to help deal with the problem.
“We feel that when we are done, we will have irradicated the problem to where we will only have to work with spot treatments to kill of the remaining Asian Clam population,” Lender said. “The big investment is last year and this year.”
Lender said that dealing with the Asian Clam infestation was also a concern to the regions pocketbooks.
“It's an issue that is important to the local waterways and the local economy,” he said. “Feed off the nourishment in the lake and take away from the native species, and their shells are something that you do not want to be walking on.”
Overall, Lender said that LGA is making an $800,000 investment into the issue this year, along with the help of the counties and communities that call Lake George theirs.
“It's critical to our economy, that lake,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “It is money that is well spent. This is something that is definitely tourism-related, and I think that we should look into using some of the bed tax money for that.”
“It's a very small investment on the part of Essex County to protect the future of Lake George and the local economy,” North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said. “It really is a no-brainer.”
Lender said that he could not give a specific reason for the infestation of Asian Clams in Lake George, but there were several ways they could have been introduced.
“They could have been in ballast tank water or bait wells, or attached to boats,” Lender said. “Someone could have dumped an aquarium into the lake. There is no way to point a finger and know for sure.”
While Lender said he did not know for sure how the clams entered the lake, he was sure how they were going to leave.
“The most effective treatment is laying down large mats at the bottom of the lake that deprives the clams of any food or nourishment,” he said. “It is about a 45-day process and it has been very effective. After this year, we believe that we will just be doing follow-up treatments to deal with a small amount of remaining Asian Clams.”
The motion passed unanimously through the committee, which is chaired by Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney.