Applying Stream Buffer Science to the Lake George Watershed Lake George Stream Corridor Management Stakeholder Meeting



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Applying Stream Buffer Science to the Lake George Watershed

  • Lake George Stream Corridor Management Stakeholder Meeting

  • May 28, 2008


Unique Considerations in the Lake George Watershed

  • Lake George as a Resource

  • Streams of the Lake George Watershed

  • Regulatory Environment

  • Growth/ Land Use

  • Key Decisions



Lake George is an Exceptional Resource



Value of the Lake to the Community

  • Fishing

  • Unfiltered Water Supply

  • Tourism

  • Water Clarity/ Recreation



Streams of Lake George

  • Lake George has 132 streams in its 230- square mile watershed.

  • These streams are primarily very small, high quality, forested tributaries.

  • Annually, 56% of the water budget is carried to the lake as surface runoff through streams *







Water Quality Concerns in the Lake

  • Lake and its tributaries impaired for sediment (New York State DEC)

  • South Basin is mesotrophic, affected by development in this portion of the watershed.



Most Streams “Not Impacted” or “Slightly Impacted” for macroinvertebrates

  • Most Streams “Not Impacted” or “Slightly Impacted” for macroinvertebrates

  • Impacted streams downstream of developed areas

  • Some stream show water quality differences between downstream and upstream locations



Existing Buffers of Lake George - I





Existing Buffers of Lake George - III



Existing Buffers of Lake George - IV



Some Water Quality Concerns in the Streams of Lake George

  • Some Impaired Streams*

    • Finkle Brook
    • Foster Brook
    • East Brook
    • West Brook
    • Prospect Mountain Brook
    • English Brook
    • Huddle Brook
    • Indian Brook
    • Hague Brook
    • * Source: New York State Draft 303 (d) List of 2008


Land Use in the Lake George Watershed



Regulatory Authority in the Lake George Watershed

  • Towns and Villages

  • Lake George Park Commission

  • Adirondack Park Agency

  • New York State DEC

  • Federal Agencies



Major Goals for Lake George Stream Buffers

  • Temperature

  • Water quality (phosphorus)

  • Sediment (filtering and erosion prevention)

  • Habitat



Key Technical Decisions

  • Streams to include

  • Buffer width

  • How to measure the width

  • Management within the buffer

  • Stream crossings

  • Waivers/ exceptions



Decision 1: What is a Stream?

  • Base stream layer from SWCD mapping

  • Should other streams be added?

  • Different treatment of perennial versus intermittent streams?

  • On-site stream identification?

  • Other criteria for non-mapped streams?



Decision 2: Buffer Widths

  • 20’ to 200’ typical buffer widths

  • Lake George primarily has fairly small (1st and 2nd order streams)

  • Extremely high quality resource



Decision 3: Vary Widths?

  • Perennial versus intermittent

  • Large versus small streams

  • Expand buffer to include:

    • Floodplains
    • Habitat areas
    • Wetlands
    • Steep slopes


Decision 4: How to Measure the Buffer

  • Stream Centerline

  • Edge of Stream?

  • High Water Mark?

  • Other?



Decision 5: Management Within the Buffer

  • Mature vegetation throughout

  • Mix of managed and mature vegetation

  • Setback from structures only?

  • Three-zone buffer?



Decision 6: Stream Crossings

  • How many should be allowed per stream mile?

  • Design criteria

  • Other considerations?



Decision 7: Exceptions or Waivers?

  • Small lots

  • Previously developed areas

  • Stormwater practices



Plan for the Rest of the Day

  • Break (about 15 minutes)

  • Technical questions

  • Comments/ feedback for buffer regulations




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