Adirondack Council expands staff
Hires Blake Neumann as Clean Water Advocate
RAQUETTE LAKE — The Adirondack Council recently announced another addition to its conservation team, Blake Neumann, who will fill the newly created role of clean water advocate.
Neumann will work with local partners to develop and implement water quality protection and aquatic invasive species management strategies for Raquette Lake and surrounding watersheds.
“This is a big step for the Adirondack Council and the park,” said Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Our main office in Essex County makes it easy for our staff to keep tabs on what is happening in the Lake Champlain and Hudson River watersheds, but not so easy to interact with scientists, advocates and residents in the northwestern Adirondacks, where the lakes and rivers flow to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. We are also concerned with the future of the Moose River and Fulton Chain Lakes. We are thrilled that our supporters have made it possible for us to assign full time staff to this vital task.
“It is easy to overlook just how large the Adirondack Park really is,” he added. “It is bigger, for example, than Massachusetts and Rhode Island, combined. So it is essential that the park’s largest environmental organization have a physical presence in several locations. We have wanted to expand into the Raquette Lake and the Old Forge/Inlet area for some time.”
Neumann comes to the Adirondack Council from Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he was working on water quality projects with the Nature Conservancy. There, he was working to bridge funding gaps and guide strategic planning for flood resilience measures, on a watershed scale.
Watershed is a name for all of the lands over which water flows into a single river or other major water body.
Neumann also brings expertise from his work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he coordinated research and outreach activities. Neumann holds a Master’s degree in Water and Wetland Resource Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Master’s of Public Administration and Environmental Policy from Syracuse University.
Neumann’s hiring builds upon the Adirondack Council’s clean water program, which has provided leadership securing state funding and clean water infrastructure grants for Adirondack communities since 2015. Since then, more than $58 million in clean water and drinking water grants have reached Adirondack communities. The program has published numerous reports assessing the water infrastructure needs of the Adirondacks, and most recently published a report on the park’s septic system repair and replacement needs.
“I could not be more excited to be joining the Adirondack Council in helping protect the park that inspired me to go into the field of conservation from a very young age,” Neumann said. “I am looking forward to getting started with our community partners and stakeholders across the Raquette Lake Watershed to help ensure the pristine quality of their waters long into the future. I hope that our model will provide a compelling blueprint for other Adirondack communities to be forward-thinking and collaborative in their approach to protecting one of our greatest resources across this region: our water.”
Over the past two years, the Adirondack Council’s conservation team has grown from two full time staff to six.