LAKE PLACID — A newly released report says road salt builds up in the deep water of Mirror Lake over the winter months.
As a result, according to the 2017 Water Quality Report for Mirror Lake, the water at the bottom of the lake is denser than that at the surface during spring turnover, holding back the complete mixing of the lake.
“The lack of complete mixing in the spring threatens the future health of the lake," Ausable River Association Science and Stewardship Director Dr. Brendan Wiltse said in a press release. "If fall turnover is interrupted, a cascade of negative effects would follow, harming much of the lake’s aquatic life.”
That includes its population of lake trout, the release said.
DATA AND SCIENCE
The Ausable River Association and Adirondack Watershed Institute, which released the report together, say road salt pollution continues as the primary concern for the lake's health.
The document provides details on road salt sources, their direct impacts and options for reductions.
"Continued monitoring and focused efforts by the local and state government, the community and stakeholders are essential to identifying and measuring the effects of potential solutions," the release said.
The two organizations have undertaken study of Mirror Lake — "the jewel of the Village of Lake Placid and a focal point for the community" — for the past three years.
"The goal of this work is to provide stakeholders with the data and science necessary to make informed and effective decisions about how best to protect the lake," the release said.
CONTINGENT ON FUNDING
The 2017 report highlights the need to understand how much salt is applied to the Mirror Lake watershed and how it moves to the lake.
“Without knowing the amount of salt being applied, we have a hard time estimating the reduction necessary to set Mirror Lake on a path of recovery," Wiltse said.
"It also makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of efforts to reduce salt use.”
The Ausable River Association is working with the Town of North Elba, Village of Lake Placid and other stakeholders to assess road salt application rates, but that work is contingent on funding to implement salt application monitoring programs, the release said.
"The report documents the importance of parking lot and sidewalk salt application within the watershed, highlighting the need for the issue to be addressed at more than just the municipal level."
Find the full report at www.ausableriver.org.