Association: Salt remains biggest threat to Mirror Lake

MLWA files annual report to village

LAKE PLACID — The Mirror Lake Watershed Association submitted its annual report to this village’s board Monday, and road salt remains the top concern for the body of water Mayor Craig Randall has called “this village’s crown jewel.”

“Road salt may be the most significant threat to Mirror Lake water since the Mirror Lake Watershed Association was first appointed as a watchdog of the water quality of Mirror Lake and the Chubb River,” the report reads.

The report was complimentary of the village for the planned installation of a drainage system that will remove water that currently drains directly into Mirror Lake from a portion of Mirror Lake Drive — from the Boathouse Restaurant to the Hampton Inn garage.

The village’s plan is to pipe the salty drainage water to a dry pond near the Lake Placid Club Golf Course where the earth will filter the salt without harming lakes and rivers.

“This will not solve the problem of salt water being added to Mirror Lake from Main Street and from other portions of Mirror Lake Drive,” the report reads. “But it’s a first step.”

At Monday’s board meeting Randall and trustee Peter Holderied said the village department of public works is applying much less of its de-icing agent this winter, Cargill’s ClearLane, which it’s using for the first time. The board made it clear that the ClearLane de-icer, which is sodium chloride-based, has worked well thus far, despite its steep price tag.

“It’s appreciated,” Randall said of the MLWA’s report. “I do wish that they would recognize a little bit more — and they do — (that) we are making many steps to try and mitigate the critical issue in the reduction of salt in the lake. But I think the proof will be in the installation of the storm drain system in the spring and hopefully we will start to see more mitigation.

“We certainly have mitigated the amount of salt that we used this winter,” he continued. “I think the product that the village is using, even though it’s — I would say — remarkably more expensive, we are using less of it because we are not broadcasting it right up against the building and the curbs.”

Randall added that though ClearLane has worked, it is only useful where directly applied, thus creating situations on some curbs and atypical locations throughout the downtown area where ice and snow remains to a greater degree.

“We did have a couple of experiences with curbs,” Randall said, “which our machinery can’t reach, so we do have to be thoughtful about that.”

Cargill claims ClearLane is anti-corrosive and better for the environment than traditional road salt, as its magnesium chloride enables it to work at lower temperatures The village is also using new spreaders this year that the village said enable it to reduce its application amount as opposed to the broadcast spreaders the village formerly used.

Cargill claims that when ClearLane is applied, 80 percent of it remains within 18 inches of where it lands. This compares to approximately 50 percent for traditional salt.

The MLWA also outlined that it joined the Adirondack Lakes Alliance last year, a group that works with lake and river associations in the Adirondack Park to collaborate on issues affecting lakes.

The association also reported it is working on a three-year plan in collaboration with the AuSable River Association and the Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College to monitor Mirror Lake for storm water drainage impacts and to develop a population survey of fish, plants and other organisms. The collaborative plan will also monitor how the organisms are affected.

And last spring scuba volunteers led by Jim Grant removed large foreign objects from the lake, including park benches and coolers and smaller items such as soda cans, beach toys and plastic debris.

The number of blooms of the invasive plant Purple Loosestrife has greatly decreased around the lake compared to 2015, according to the association.

“We feel we have this invasive plant in control in our area,” the report reads.

The MLWA added that the invasive plant Yellow Iris was not spotted this season on the shores of the lake, although it still occurs on the shores of Lake Placid. And the association said it is going to monitor Mirror Lake and Mill Pond for milfoil.

The association meets every second Monday of each month at 5 p.m. at the beach house at Peacock Park, in the David H. Ackerman room on Parkside Drive.

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