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                    [post_date] => 2022-05-11 13:31:42
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The New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA) held its Annual Conference in Lake George, NY on April 29th and 30th.

This year’s conference, which was titled, “Maximizing Your Lake Data,” featured a diverse exhibitor hall, networking events, a silent auction, a student poster session and a variety of presentations and workshops. Princeton Hydro, a proud sponsor of the conference, led four presentations and exhibited.

[gallery link="none" ids="10811,10812,10810"]  

Below, we provide more information and a free download of each presentation:

Presentation Title: The Value of Developing a Long Term Database for Lakes and their Management Presentation By:  Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services, Dr. Fred Lubnow Learn more and download the presentation.  

Presentation Title: Assessing Trends and Quantifying the Internal Phosphorous Load of Lake Hopatcong Utilizing a 30-Year Continuous Database

Presentation By: Princeton Hydro Environmental Scientist Pat Rose, Senior Aquatic Ecologist Paul Cooper and Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services Dr. Fred Lubnow Learn more and download the presentation.   Presentation Title: CSLAP and Customized Monitoring - How Additional Data is Helping Sleepy Hollow Lake Presentation By: Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager Chris Mikolajczyk, CLM & Staff Scientist Jesse Smith along with Laurel Wolfe of The Association of Property Owners of Sleepy Hollow Lake Learn more and download the presentation.   Presentation Title: The Importance of Hands-On Field Education and Exposure with Regards to Monitoring Data Presentation By:  Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager Chris Mikolajczyk, CLM and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smiths College Learn more and download the presentation.    

NYSFOLA was founded in 1983 by a coalition of lake associations concerned about water quality, invasive species, and other issues facing New York's lakes. NYSFOLA, which has 200+ members across the state, is the only NY-statewide voice for lakes and lake associations. NYSFOLA is an Affiliate of the North American Lake Management Society, for which Chris Mikolajczyk is the current Board President.

For more information about NYSFOLA and the Annual Conference, click here. To read about some of Princeton Hydro's upcoming events, click here.

[post_title] => FREE DOWNLOADS: New York State Federation of Lake Associations Annual Conference Presentations [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => free-downloads-nysfola-presentations [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-05-11 20:11:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-05-11 20:11:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=10753 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10522 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-03-28 21:25:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-03-28 21:25:01 [post_content] =>  

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) hosted its 3rd Annual Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Summit! The all-day, virtual seminar included expert presentations and facilitated open-forum discussions related to HAB science, monitoring, response, management, treatment and communication.

Approximately 220 people from around the country participated in the virtual summit, which was free and open to the public. The audience of stakeholders included government officials (local, state, federal); lake and other environmental commissions; watershed associations; environmental nonprofits; businesses; academics; lake management and HAB treatment experts; and folks interested in protecting their community lakes.

Participants heard presentations about “Keeping Your Pets Safe from HABs,” “The Benefit of Riparian Buffers;” and “Stormwater Management and the Use of Green Infrastructure.” Additionally, two members of the NJDEP HAB Expert Team - Dr. Fred Lubnow Director and Dr. Meiyin Wu - gave a presentation on best management practices to prevent, mitigate, and/or control HABs. The 10-person expert team was established as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s plan to enhance scientific expertise around water quality management and bolster the State’s response to HABs.

The Governor’s HABs Initiative was launched in 2019 after lakes throughout NJ (and the entire Continental U.S.) suffered from HAB outbreaks, which caused local and county health agencies to close off all beaches and issue advisories. These unprecedented conditions had significant negative impacts on lake-related ecological, recreational, and economic resources. The Governor’s initiative designated $13 million in funding to local communities for HABs reduction/prevention; established the aforementioned HABs expert team; and coordinated annual HABs summits in order to encourage continued community education and discussion.

If you were unable to attend the 2022 HAB Summit, NJDEP has made the complete morning and afternoon sessions available online:

Watch the Morning Session: 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KzeIP4FY60[/embed]

Watch the Afternoon Session: 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSfJXhcaPCo[/embed]  

The NJDEP Division of Water Monitoring and Standards has an entire website dedicated to HABs. Click here to access educational fact sheets, stay informed on HAB alerts and advisories, and report a HAB sighting.

For more information about HABs, watch a live interview with Dr. Fred Lubnow on Jersey Matters during which he discusses what steps should be taken to prevent HABs, and check out our recent blog:

[embed]https://princetonhydro.com/lake-latonka-management-plan/[/embed] [post_title] => WATCH: NJDEP's 2022 Harmful Algal Bloom Virtual Summit [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => njdep-hab-summit-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-06 19:12:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-06 19:12:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=10522 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10283 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-03-07 06:12:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-03-07 06:12:46 [post_content] =>

Lake Latonka is a 260-acre man-made freshwater lake in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. The lake serves as the centerpiece of the Lake Latonka community, and is used for fishing, boating, swimming, and a variety of recreation activities.

The watershed of Lake Latonka encompasses 8,000+ acres of rural land, which is comprised predominantly by agricultural type land uses (57%) and forest (27%) with low-density residential (12%) occurring along the immediate lake shores. The area is bordered by Ohio to the West and located midway between the cities of Erie and Pittsburgh.

[caption id="attachment_10338" align="aligncenter" width="841"] Photo by Lynne Annis[/caption]  

The Lake, which was formed in 1965, has been studied and managed in some form since its formation with a record of consistent management and study since the mid-1990s. This work has included water quality monitoring, academic study of the sediment transport to the lake, herbicide and algaecide applications, and the development of generalized guidance for lake management. Additionally, some advanced management and restoration activities were implemented, including the installation of a community sewer system and maintenance dredging of the lake's inlet area.

Despite these ongoing efforts, the lake has suffered from water quality impairments primarily due to excessive phosphorus from surrounding agricultural land that flows into the waterbody via stormwater runoff. These nutrients fuel algal growth and contribute to the increased deposition of sediment and nutrients at the lake bottom.

Over time, the increase in biological oxygen demand has led to anoxia (i.e. no oxygen) in the lake’s deep waters, which causes phosphorus to be ‘pumped’ from the sediments during the summer months. This process is termed ‘internal loading’ and leads to an acceleration of lake productivity that has fueled harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Recognizing the importance of the lake within the community, the Water Quality Committee (WQC) of Lake Latonka commissioned Princeton Hydro to perform an in-depth diagnostic/feasibility study and, based on the study's findings, develop a comprehensive Lake Management Plan.

The diagnostic/feasibility study, in accordance with USEPA protocol, also analyzed background data; collected site specific water quality and fishery data; and computed the nutrient and hydrologic load. The study also included trophic calculations, the development of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals, and the establishment of site-specific management recommendations.

In order to meet Lake Latonka’s water quality goals most expediently, Princeton Hydro recommended five primary management measures:

  1. Phosphorus Loading Mitigation
  2. Biomanipulation
  3. Management of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
  4. Waterfowl Management
  5. Regular Water Quality Monitoring and Testing.

Phosphorus Loading Mitigation

Although phosphorus is a nutrient utilized for plant growth, excessive phosphorus in waterbodies has problematic effects in that it speeds up weed production, reduces water quality, and can lead to HABs. One of the most sustainable means of controlling nuisance weed and algae proliferation is to control phosphorus inputs or reduce the availability of phosphorus for biological uptake and assimilation.

For Lake Latonka, Princeton Hydro recommended an alum treatment as a primary method for reducing internal phosphorus loading. Alum (aluminum sulfate) is a commonly used nutrient inactivation product that controls the internal recycling of phosphorus from the sediments of the lake bottom. On contact with water, the alum binds with the phosphorus so it can no longer be used as food by algae. On the bottom of the lake, the alum creates a barrier that prevents the phosphorus from releasing into the lake’s sediments under anoxia.

In addition, recommendations were made to address phosphorous loading from the larger agricultural watershed. These recommendations lead to the formation a Watershed Sub-Committee, which has been monitoring water quality and identifying nutrient-loading "hot spots." As these areas are discovered, the community will work with local stakeholders to recommend watershed best management practices (BMPs) to reduce phosphorus and sediment loading at the source.

Biomanipulation

The diagnostic/feasibility study revealed a major change in Lake Latonka from a previous fishery study conducted in 2016: the establishment of gizzard shad. The gizzard shad, not found in any previous surveys, represented 29% of the total catch in the 2020 survey. These fish can, if present in significant densities, outcompete beneficial fish and aquatic species and alter the zooplankton population, which can lead to water quality impairment, HABs, and cyanobacteria.

Biomanipulation in lake management refers to the deliberate alteration of the lake’s ecosystem by adding or removing species. One of the main recommendations for Lake Latonka is to control the gizzard shad population by stocking the lake with hybrid striped bass (Morone saxatilis x Morone chrysops), which is a cross between striped bass and white bass that are not able to reproduce. The plan includes measures to bolster the walleye, largemouth bass, black crappie, and panfish populations to offer a robust recreational fishery. This "top down" approach to nutrient management serves as a complementary effort to the aforementioned phosphorus loading mitigation activities.

Management of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

[caption id="attachment_10336" align="alignright" width="273"] Photo by Lynne Annis[/caption]

As phosphorus is reduced and water quality conditions improve, algae will diminish in abundance and water clarity will improve, and the shallow areas of the lake will become excellent habitat for increased growth of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).

SAV is a critical component of a healthy lake and important habitat for juvenile fish and invertebrates. Additionally, SAV serves to precipitate suspended solids and assimilates nutrients that may otherwise be taken up by algae for growth. Still, elevated levels of SAV may prove to hinder recreational use of the lake.

The Plan for Lake Latonka recommends regular SAV surveys in order to monitor densities, document species composition, and ensure proper management. As SAV increases, pragmatic, measured management will be recommended to maintain an optimal balance of plant growth while allowing for recreational lake access.

Waterfowl Management

Resident populations of Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) contribute acute sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria to lakes via waste products.

Using loading coefficients derived from scientific literature, in combination with Canada geese population surveys, the team determined the approximate phosphorus load being contributed by the resident goose population each year is 88.6 lbs per year.

The Plan recommends a variety of deterrent/harassment actions as permitted through Federal and State agencies in order to minimize the resident population of these waterfowl.

Regular Water Quality Monitoring and Testing

The Management Plan also provided recommendations for routine water quality monitoring related to nutrient concentrations, algal types and densities, and safety for lake users. Lake monitoring helps track changes in water quality over time and is utilized to objectively assess the impacts of prescribed management measures. In this manner, monitoring can help to address potential issues before they become large problems.

Specifically, Princeton Hydro recommended growing season monitoring, which entails monitoring for five months each year, in order to build a lake water quality database for nutrients, in-situ measures, and plankton. Additionally, the team recommends robust contact testing at the beach and open water for E. coli sampling, fecal coliform, and cyanotoxins.

[caption id="attachment_10339" align="aligncenter" width="793"] Photo by Jim Janzig[/caption]   Simply put, there is more to lake management than weed and algae treatments alone. A customized plan acts as a “blueprint” that guides proactive, long-term lake management and care while remaining flexible enough to adapt to new challenges that may arise. Our scientists, engineers, and Certified Lake Managers can assess the status of a waterbody and provide a holistic management plan that is based on the waterbody's unique physical, hydrologic, chemical, and biological attributes. A management plan identifies water quality issues, determines the causes of those issues, and provides the guidance needed to correct the issues. The results are far more environmentally sustainable than simple (and often unnecessary) reactive weed and algae treatments. During the Pennsylvania Lake Management Society Annual Conference held on March 2 & 3, Senior Aquatic Ecologist Michael Hartshorne gave a presentation about the the creation and implementation of the Lake Latonka Management Plan: If you're interested in reading more on the topic of lake management, click here: [visual-link-preview encoded="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"] [post_title] => Reducing HABs & Increasing Biodiversity in Lake Latonka [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lake-latonka-management-plan [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-03-09 14:08:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-03-09 14:08:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=10283 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9891 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2021-11-24 08:48:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-11-24 08:48:53 [post_content] =>

Over the past year, the Deal Lake Commission (DLC) has implemented a variety of stormwater management projects aimed at reducing the volume of stormwater runoff, decreasing total phosphorus loading, and preventing debris, sediment, and pollutants from flowing into waterbodies throughout the Deal Lake, Wesley Lake, and Sunset Lake Watersheds.

These projects encompass a strategic combination of stormwater best management practices (BMPs), including structural BMPs, non-structural controls, and green infrastructure techniques. These stormwater management projects were funded by a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant awarded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to the DLC.

Let’s take a look at some of the recently completed initiatives:

 

Manufactured Treatment Devices

Manufactured Treatment Devices (MTDs) are pre-fabricated stormwater treatment structures used to address stormwater issues in highly developed, urban areas. MTDs capture and remove sediments, metals, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants from stormwater runoff before the runoff reaches surrounding waterbodies and/or storm sewer systems.

This year, Princeton Hydro worked with the DLC and Leon S. Avakian Engineers to design and install three MTDs throughout Asbury Park, NJ with the purpose of improving water quality in Sunset Lake.

[gallery columns="2" ids="9896,9897,9894,9895"]  

Students from the Asbury Park High School Engineering Academy, led by their teacher Kevin Gould, were invited to observe one of the MTD installations. The educational field trip was combined with a presentation from Princeton Hydro’s Senior Aquatic Ecologist Dr. Jack Szczepanski, which was titled, “Ecology and Engineering in Asbury Park.”

Click below to watch one of the recent MTD installations: [visual-link-preview encoded="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"]  

Rain Garden Renovation

Rain gardens are a cost effective, attractive, and sustainable way to minimize stormwater runoff and filter out pollutants. This aesthetic, low-maintenance addition to any outdoor landscape creates a functioning habitat that attracts pollinators, beneficial insects, and birds. And, in a small way, it helps reduce erosion, promote groundwater recharge, and minimize flooding.

The DLC along with the Deal Lake Watershed Alliance, Asbury Park's Environmental Shade Tree Commission (ESTC), Asbury Park Department of Public Works (DPW) and Princeton Hydro completed a major renovation to an existing rain garden located in front of the Asbury Park bus terminal and municipal building.

The rain garden, which was originally constructed by the ESTC, was not functioning properly due to one of the inlets being completely obstructed by sediment. The DPW helped clear the sediment and regrade it, while the ESTC removed invasive weeds and replanted it with native shrubs, perennials, and flowers.

For more information about rain gardens and instructions on how to build your own, check out our recent blog: [visual-link-preview encoded="eyJ0eXBlIjoiaW50ZXJuYWwiLCJwb3N0Ijo5NjQ2LCJwb3N0X2xhYmVsIjoiQXJ0aWNsZSA5NjQ2IC0gSG93IFRvIEJ1aWxkIGEgUmFpbiBHYXJkZW4gaW4gMTAgU3RlcHMiLCJ1cmwiOiIiLCJpbWFnZV9pZCI6OTY1NSwiaW1hZ2VfdXJsIjoiaHR0cHM6Ly9wcmluY2V0b25oeWRyby5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC91cGxvYWRzLzIwMjEvMDkvSU1HXzk2Mzktc2NhbGVkLmpwZyIsInRpdGxlIjoiSG93IFRvIEJ1aWxkIGEgUmFpbiBHYXJkZW4gaW4gMTAgU3RlcHMiLCJzdW1tYXJ5IjoiRWFybGllciB0aGlzIHllYXIsIFByaW5jZXRvbiBIeWRybyBQcmVzaWRlbnQgR2VvZmZyZXkgR29sbCwgUC5FLiBjb25zdHJ1Y3RlZCBhIHJhaW4gZ2FyZGVuIGluIGhpcyBmcm9udCB5YXJkLiBIZSBkb2N1bWVudGVkIHRoZSBwcm9jZXNzIGFuZCBwdXQgdG9nZXRoZXIgc3RlcC1ieS1zdGVwIGluc3RydWN0aW9ucyBvbiBob3cgdG8gYnVpbGQgeW91ciBvd24uIiwidGVtcGxhdGUiOiJzaW1wbGUifQ=="]

Floating Wetland Islands

Floating Wetland Islands (FWIs) are a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution used to mitigate phosphorus and nitrogen stormwater pollution. FWIs are designed to mimic natural wetlands in a sustainable, efficient, and powerful way. They improve water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients that could fuel harmful algae blooms; provide valuable ecological habitat for a variety of beneficial species; help mitigate wave and wind erosion impacts; provide an aesthetic element; and add significant biodiversity enhancement within open freshwater environments.

The DLC worked with Princeton Hydro to design and install a total of 12 floating wetland islands, six in Sunset Lake and six in Wesley Lake. A team of volunteers, led by the DLC and Princeton Hydro, planted vegetation in each of the FWIs and launched and secured each island into the lakes.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="8942,8945,8936,8935"]  

Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant related efforts will continue in the Spring of 2022 with the design and installation of “bioscape” gardens and tree boxes. Stay tuned for updates!

...

To learn more about the Deal Lake Commission, click here. To read about one of Princeton Hydro’s recently completed stormwater management projects, click here.

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This article was originally published in the Musconetcong Watershed Association's "Instream Update" eNewsletter.

The Musconetcong River begins at New Jersey’s largest lake, Lake Hopatcong, and flows southwest for 42 miles before emptying into the Delaware River. At the headwaters in Lake Hopatcong, the community has been battling with harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs can cause significant water quality issues in lakes and ponds, often forming a visible and sometimes odorous scum on the surface of the water. Blooms are primarily caused by warmer temperatures and increased amounts of nutrients (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) from stormwater runoff.

In 2019, the local community suffered immensely from HABs, which was the most prolific bloom the lake has experienced over the last two decades, resulting in public health advisories to be issued for recreation on the lake. Because Lake Hopatcong is a popular summer vacation destination, this outbreak unfortunately stunted the local economy, restricted recreational usage of the lake, and impacted fish and wildlife.

The Lake Hopatcong Commission and Lake Hopatcong Foundation, in partnership with municipalities, counties, the state, local groups like the Musconetcong Watershed Association, and Princeton Hydro, have been working to improve water quality for years by prioritizing stormwater mitigation and septic management policies within the watershed.  So why was the summer of 2019 so intense?

Analysis of 30 Years Water Quality Data 

Princeton Hydro scientists have been collecting water quality data in Lake Hopatcong for 30 years. This includes dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature, as well as concentrations of total suspended solids, total phosphorus, nitrate‐N, ammonia‐N and chlorophyll a, and various biological factors. There are not many lakes in New Jersey that have such a robust and consistent public dataset, which presents a rare opportunity to study long-term trends. We dove a little deeper into this information to see what many have caused the 2019 blooms. 

We analyzed a statistically significant dataset of surface water temperatures and found that average July surface temperatures in Lake Hopatcong have been steadily increasing over time.  We also have 20+ years of observational data that documents an increase in frequency, duration, and magnitude of HABs over the same time period. In fact, HABs have recently persisted all the way into the winter months, enabling “green ice” to form on the lake surface, as observed in December 2020.

In summer of 2019, the Lake Hopatcong region was hit with a dramatic amount of rainfall. These weather patterns resulted in some of the highest early summer total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in Lake Hopatcong in over 20 years. The mean June TP concentration was 0.043 mg/L; the last time it exceeded 0.04  mg/L was in 1999. In order to have acceptable water quality conditions in the lake, the mean TP concentrations should be at 0.03 mg/L or lower.

It has been well documented that phosphorus is the primary limiting nutrient in Lake Hopatcong. Meaning, a slight increase in phosphorus can result in a substantial increase in algal and/or aquatic plant biomass. The water quality analysis identified the cause for the HABs (the high frequency of storms in June 2019 transporting nutrients, in particular phosphorus, to the lake) and identified why they persisted over the growing season (internal phosphorus loading).

Climate Change as a Driver for HABs

Climate change is leading to more frequent, more intense rainstorms that transport run-off pollutants into waterways, coupled with hotter days to warm the water. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, “AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” confirmed that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and that this human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.  It predicts, “increases in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, and heavy precipitation, agricultural and  ecological droughts in some regions, and proportion of intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover and permafrost.” In the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., most climate models indicate that the landscape will become warmer and wetter.

Looking at our observations and 30-year dataset for Lake Hopatcong, our preliminary analysis shows that climate change — increased precipitation (which flushed the phosphorus into the lake) followed by intense heat to warm surface water temperatures — was a significant variable that led to the devastating HABs at Lake Hopatcong in 2019. 

Other communities have experienced similar trends too. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HABs have now been observed in all 50 states, ranging from large freshwater lakes, to smaller inland lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Our neighbors in Upstate New York suffered from 1,000+ HAB occurrences during the 2019 season, including a HAB that covered 600+ square miles of Lake Erie causing beach closures and fish kills.

A study recently published in Nature journal reviewed three decades of high-resolution satellite data for 71 large lakes globally and determined that “peak summertime bloom intensity has increased in most (68%) of the lakes studied, revealing a global exacerbation of bloom conditions.” The study called for water quality management efforts to better account for the interactions between climate change and local hydrological conditions.

We are witnessing these impacts firsthand at Lake Hopatcong and within the Musconetcong River Watershed.  And, according to the IPCC report, these climate change-induced instances (i.e. intense rainfall followed by intense heat) may become even more frequent. To further understand the connection between climate change and HABs at Lake Hopatcong, Princeton Hydro is conducting a more rigorous study that includes more distinct data. We hope this will provide some insight on how to manage expected climate impacts in lakes and watersheds.

Taking Action in the Musconetcong River Watershed

While the IPCC report conclusions may be depressing, there is still much we can do at both a global and local level to limit future climate change. The key here is limiting cumulative CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane) emissions and quickly reaching (at least) net zero CO2 emissions. And, to specifically reduce occurrences of HABs While the IPCC report conclusions may be depressing, there is still much we can do at both a global and local level to limit future climate change. The key here is globally limiting cumulative CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane) emissions and quickly reaching (at least) net zero CO2 emissions. And, to specifically reduce occurrences of HABs fueled by climate change in Lake Hopatcong, eliminating sources of phosphorus from entering the lake is critical. So what can we do in the Musconetcong River Watershed?

In 2019, NJ Department of Environmental Protection committed $13.5 million via their Water Quality Restoration Grant programs for local projects that aim to improve water quality and help prevent, mitigate and manage HABs in New Jersey’s lakes and ponds. The Lake Hopatcong Commission landed a $500k grant via the program to evaluate and implement a variety of innovative, nearshore projects to address HABs at Lake Hopatcong. Projects included performing an alternative non-copper-based algaecide treatment and one of the largest nutrient PhosLock treatments in the Northeast on the lake as well as the installation of Biochar bags, near-shore aeration systems, and floating wetland islands.  This could not be possible without the help of all project partners including Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Morris County, Sussex County, Jefferson Township, Borough of Hopatcong, Borough of Mt. Arlington, and Roxbury Township, who collectively contributed over $330k in match support.  The Lake Hopatcong Commission also landed a subsequent $206,000 grant via NJDEP’s 319 program a few months later, with $44,000 in match support from the four municipalities and Lake Hopatcong Foundation and Commission, for the design and implementation of four in-lake/watershed projects to prevent and mitigate HABs on Lake Hopatcong.

The results of these projects were significant. Over the last two years, the mean June TP concentrations were lower than 2019 (0.033 mg/L in 2020 and 0.020 mg/L in 2021). These in-lake and watershed efforts have had a positive impact on reducing available phosphorus and, in turn, reducing the size and magnitude of HABs on Lake Hopatcong.

Just this month, Lake Hopatcong Commission landed another $480k from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grant, which was backed with $489k more in match support from Lake Hopatcong Commission, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Musconetcong Watershed Association, NJDEP, Borough of Hopatcong, Township of Roxbury, Mount Arlington Borough, Morris and Sussex Counties, Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, Rutgers University, NJ Highlands Council, and Princeton Hydro.  The project team will design and implement three streambank stabilization projects in the watershed, which were identified as priority projects in the 2021 Upper Musconetcong River Watershed Implementation Plan. 

“Managing loads of phosphorous in watersheds is even more important as the East Coast becomes increasingly warmer and wetter thanks to climate change. Climate change will likely need to be dealt with on a national and international scale. But local communities, groups, and individuals can have a real impact in reducing phosphorous levels in local waters.”

Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatics for Princeton Hydro

Changes in hydrology, water chemistry, biology, or physical properties of a lake can have cascading consequences that may rapidly alter the overall properties of a lake and surrounding ecosystem, which can lead to negative consequences like HABs. Recognizing and monitoring the changes that are taking place locally brings the problems of climate change closer to home, which can help raise awareness and inspire environmentally-minded action.


The Musconetcong Watershed Association is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of the Musconetcong River and its watershed, including its natural and cultural resources. Since 2003, Princeton Hydro has been working with MWA in the areas of river restoration, dam removal, and engineering consulting. Click here to read our Client Spotlight blog featuring MWA’s Executive Director Cindy Joerger and Communications Coordinator Karen Doerfer.

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The Princeton Hydro team is proud to be participating in and sponsoring a variety events focused on conserving, restoring, and protecting our precious water resources. In this edition of our Events Spotlight, we provide a snapshot of upcoming events this Fall and information on how to get involved:

 

October 5: "Facebook Live" Q&A with Princeton Hydro HAB Experts

Do you have questions about harmful algal blooms? Now is your chance to get answers! Join us on Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30 PM EDT for a "Facebook Live" conversation with two of Princeton Hydro's HAB experts, Dr. Fred Lubnow and Mike Hartshorne. Participants will get an overview of HABs and engage in a live Q&A session. You can submit a question by joining the live feed and typing in the comments. Get more info and register.

October 11-15: SAME MEGA Maryland - Small/Minority Business Conference for A/E/C

This year’s conference features a mix of in-person and virtual events,  including informative keynotes; local, State, and Federal agency panels; networking sessions; training workshops; webinars; and two special field trip activities. Princeton Hydro is honored to sponsor MEGA Maryland, which is seen as the premier event for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Our Director of Marketing, Dana Patterson, will be exhibiting at the in-person portion of the event. Get more info and register.

October 13: NJ Invasive Species Strike Team Professional Conference

Presented by the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and hosted by Duke Farms, the 2021 Annual New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team Conference will focus on the use of prescribed burning to combat invasive species. Princeton Hydro is sponsoring this event, which is being held outdoors under a tent. We look forward to seeing you there in October! Get more info and register

October 14: Linden Blue Acres Tour - Green Infrastructure & Floodplain Restoration

Join NJ-AWRA and Princeton Hydro for a tour of the Award-Winning Linden Blue Acres Green Infrastructure & Floodplain Restoration Project. This project set the precedent for enhancing ecological and floodplain function on flood-prone properties acquired by the NJDEP Blue Acres Program. This event is approved for one (1) credit hour of continuing education for Certified Floodplain Managers. Get more info and register

 

October 18: Fall 2021 Regional Lake Communities Symposium 

Western Connecticut State University presents its Fall 2021 Regional Lake Communities Symposium “Fall Science at Night Virtual Seminar Series." The seminar, titled “Threats to Our Lakes: Beyond Aquatic Invasive Plants,” welcomes members of the public, students, and scientists to participate in a variety of workshops focused on local lake conservation and management. Princeton Hydro’s Director of Aquatic Programs Dr. Fred Lubnow is presenting “The Lake Hopatcong (NJ) Story.” Get more info and register

October 19-20: 2021 Living Shorelines Tech Transfer Workshop

Join Restore America's Estuaries, American Littoral Society, NJDEP and the Chesapeake Bay and New Jersey field offices of the USFWS for the Living Shorelines & Nature - Based Methods Tech Transfer Workshop. The workshop, which is being held both virtually and in-person at the Grand Hotel in Cape May, NJ, features field trips to local restoration projects, workshops, networking events, and an exhibit hall. Princeton Hydro is a proud sponsor of the event and our Director of Marketing & Communications Dana Patterson is exhibiting! Please note: Attendees must provide confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination as part of registration. Get more info and register

October 19-22: ANJEC 2021 Environmental Congress

We are thrilled to sponsor the 48th Annual Environmental Congress, which is being held in an all-virtual Zoom format. Each day includes a variety of workshop sessions on topics like stormwater management, environmental justice advancement in New Jersey, and local climate action. The closing session on Friday includes entertainment by Musician Maxwell Kofi Donkor. Get more info and register

October 26: Colorado Lake & Reservoir Management Association Conference

Princeton Hydro’s Senior Project Manager and Senior Aquatic Ecologist Chris L. Mikolajczyk, CLM, is giving a Halloween-inspired presentation titled "In Celebration of All Hallows Eve: Reflections of a Study on One of the Spookiest Lakes in the U.S." This free, one-day conference will be held virtually and is open to he public. Get more info and register

October 26-28: NJ Association for Floodplain Management 16th Annual Conference

The 16th Annual Conference will be held at the Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. With more than 40 speakers lined-up, conference workshops will focus on a robust array of floodplain management topics, including flood hazard identification and mapping; flood hazard mitigation; technical assistance and training; and natural resource protection and enhancement. Princeton Hydro is happy to sponsor this event and our Director of Marketing, Dana Patterson, will be attending and exhibiting. Get more info and register

 

November 1-4 and 8-11: Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation Biennial Conference

The theme of the 26th Biennial CERF Conference is "CERF at 50: Celebrating Our Past, Charting Our Future." The virtual, eight-day conference aims to connect science and society in the collective goals of preserving coastal and estuarine habitats, resources, and heritage. The conference, which is expected to draw 1,300+ scientists and researchers from all over the world, includes a virtual exhibit hall, networking events, a film festival and a variety of workshops. Johnny Quispe, Princeton Hydro Natural Resources Project Manager, is presenting on November 3 at 10 AM as part of the session on "Transdisciplinary design and adaptation for sustainable, resilient urban coastlines: realizing triple-bottom line outcomes." His presentation features The South River Ecosystem Restoration & Flood Resiliency Enhancement Project. Get more info and register.

November 3-5: Fifth Annual Watershed Conference

The Watershed Institute’s 5th Annual Watershed Conference will be in a hybrid format with participants selecting socially distanced, in-person sessions at the Watershed Center and Reserve or choosing to attend virtually if they prefer. Princeton Hydro is sponsoring the event and leading two workshops. Our Director of Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management, Dr. Clay Emerson, P.E., CFM, along with Kathy Hale, Principal Watershed Protection Specialist, NJ Water Supply Authority, is presenting on “Naturalizing Detention Basins.” And, Vice President Mark Gallagher, along with Patrick Ryan of the NJDEP, is presenting on "Understanding Permit Requirements for Conservation Activities." Get more info and register.

November 6-10: American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting 2021

Science professionals from throughout the world will come together for this hybrid-format event offering both virtual and in-person participation opportunities. This year's conference, themed “Investing in People, Habitat, and Science” includes scientific sessions, a poster hall, a tradeshow and exhibits, and a variety of Plenary Speakers. Princeton Hydro President Geoffrey Goll is presenting on, "Dam Removal in History, Current State of Removal, and Future Needs." Get more info and register

 

November 9-10: Northwest New Jersey Rivers Conference

The Northwest New Jersey Rivers Conference is coordinated by the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, with the support of partner organizations in the Highlands and Ridge & Valley regions of New Jersey. Together, these groups are collaborating to restore water quality under the four-state Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The 2021 Conference, held in an online-only format, will focus on three key themes, "Sustainability & Economic Development," "Land Use Planning & Conservation," and "Water Quality Monitoring & Management." The conference is free and open to the public, and includes a variety of presentations, workshops and a virtual exhibitor hall. Princeton Hydro is exhibiting.  Get more info and register

November 15-18: North American Lake Management Society 41st International Symposium

Princeton Hydro is sponsoring the NALMS 2021 International Symposium, which will be held virtually. The event consists of multiple panels and discussions focused on the value of water for economics, ecology, and culture. Senior Project Manager Christopher L. Mikolajczyk, CLM is giving a presentation titled "A Public-Private Approach to Lake and Watershed Management in the Highlands Region of New Jersey.” Our Director of Aquatic Resources, Dr. Fred Lubnow, is presenting on "Monitoring and Management of HABs in New Jersey Waterbodies From 2019 to 2021." Get more info and register

November 21: Camden Environmental Summit

This one-day virtual summit, hosted by the The Camden Collaborative Initiative, focuses on preserving the environment in the city of Camden. Princeton Hydro is proud to sponsor this event, which is free for Camden residents and students, and $25 for all other attendees. Get more info and register.

 

Stay Tuned for More! 

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Welcome to another edition our Client Spotlight series! Each blog provides a peek into our partnership with a particular client. We value our client relationships and pride ourselves on forming strong ties with organizations that share our values of creating a better future for people and our planet. 

Meet Medford Lakes Colony

Medford Lakes Colony is a not-for-profit organization that organizes social, community, and recreational activities for the Town of Medford Lakes, New Jersey. The Colony grew out of a resort development in the early 1920’s in the heart of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens on the edge of the Pinelands National Reserve. The area was first settled hundreds of years ago by the Lenni-Lenape tribe of Native Americans.

Today the Colony lakes are still dotted by log cabin homes built according to the original plan for the community nearly a century ago.

For this Client Spotlight, we spoke to Medford Lakes Colony’s Lake Restoration Chair, Jim Palmer

Q: What makes your organization unique?

The Medford Lakes Colony is a nearly 100-year-old, private, not-for-profit organization. Our organization is actually older than the municipality in which we reside. We “own” the 21 lakes in our town. We are nearly an all-volunteer organization with only an Office Manager and a Maintenance Manager on our payroll. Everything else is done by volunteers.

Q: What does your organization value?

Everyone in our town will agree with the following statement: The most important asset in our town is our lakes. And maintaining the water quality in those lakes is a high-value responsibility. But with that said, we are a town in the New Jersey Pinelands, with all our lakes surrounded by trees. That presents us with challenges every year.

Sioux Levee

Q: How long have you been working with Princeton Hydro? 

The Colony started working with Princeton Hydro back in the late 1990s. I have personally been working with Princeton Hydro for around 10 years. I have partnered with nearly a dozen Princeton Hydro people, from Princeton Hydro President Geoffrey Goll, PE down to many individual Project Engineers. 

Q: What types of services have we provided to your organization?

Princeton Hydro has provided recurring dam inspection services, as well as design, permitting, and oversight work for both planned and emergency dam repair and maintenance work. There are multiple dams for which Princeton Hydro completes the NJDEP Dam Safety inspections. There have been multiple large spillway repair projects where Princeton Hydro has been the Engineer-of-Record, completing the official designs, getting Dam Safety approval, and doing the full project management. The Princeton Hydro engineers and project managers have always been great partners on these projects.

Q: Do you have a favorite or most memorable project we’ve worked on together?

Three years ago we had an emergency situation at our Wauwaushkashe Dam. Over the previous several years, unknown to us, the culvert pipe was getting increasingly clogged with organic material. Then, one Sunday, it became completely plugged. 

Ballinger Lake Dam Restoration

The upstream lake filled till the water was a foot above the top of the outbound spillway and was threatening to overtop the dam. Through the network of volunteers we have in Medford Lakes, we were able to get a contractor out within 24 hours to clear the plug. Princeton Hydro was brought into the project because the full repair was going to require engineering design, project plan development, submission to Dam Safety, and ongoing oversight to ensure the repair was completed correctly. Princeton Hydro managed that full process with a very quick turnaround. Who would have thought that pine needles could plug a 30-inch corrugated culvert pipe?

Q: What are some exciting things your organization is working on right now?

In this line of work, around managing dams and water quality, we don’t like “exciting.” Waking up one day to a plugged culvert pipe and a lake about to overtop a dam is the kind of “excitement” we would prefer not to have! 

We are moving along with a program to install aeration bubblers in most of our lakes. We have them in about one-third of the lakes completed right now. Subject to budget constraints, we should have them in all relevant lakes within the next two years. We are also in the first year of a small longitudinal data collection project. Last fall, the Colony purchased a YSI Proline data logger which allows us to collect temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) levels. I have partnered with another volunteer, and we have collected data from nearly a dozen lakes on multiple dates in May, June, July, and August. We have defined locations in each lake and we gather data in one-foot increments in the entire water column at each location. We are able to see water stratification developing in some of the lakes as the summer moves on and temperatures rise. I have identified a couple locations where we have underground springs flowing into specific lakes. This is just the start of a broader data collection and the analysis program the Colony wants to implement to understand the long-term dynamics of this watershed. 


Click here to read the previous edition of our Client Spotlight blog series, which features The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey:

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Lake Hopatcong Commission partnered with Lake Hopatcong Foundation, with in-kind contributions from the NJDEP, municipal governments, Morris and Sussex Counties, Musconetcong Watershed Association, Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, Rutgers University, NJ Highlands Council, and Princeton Hydro, to address three priority streambank stabilization projects within the Upper Musconetcong River Watershed.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced that the Lake Hopatcong Commission would receive $480,650 through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF). The DWCF aims to conserve and restore natural areas, corridors, and waterways on public and private lands to support native migratory and resident wildlife and fish, and native plants; and to contribute to the social health and economic vitality of the communities in the Delaware River watershed. Major funding for the DWCF is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s great to see funding awarded to the Upper Musconetcong River Watershed at the federal level. The Commission was created to promote public health and welfare through the preservation of Lake Hopatcong for recreational and conservation purposes. These projects are consistent with our organizational goals and will enhance water quality and recreational access within the watershed,” said Ron Smith, Chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Commission.

The grant will fund the design and implementation of three streambank stabilization projects, identified as priority projects in the 2021 Upper Musconetcong River Watershed Implementation Plan as prepared by Princeton Hydro for the Lake Hopatcong Commission. They will address important stormwater issues that had been previously identified.  The projects are:

  • Musconetcong River Streambank Stabilization and Floodplain Enhancement in Hopatcong State Park (Roxbury Township). This portion of the Musconetcong River at Lake Hopatcong’s outlet has been identified as having serious stormwater and flooding issues. An approximate four-acre section of streambank will be restored and stabilized. As part of this effort, invasive species will be eradicated and the existing floodplain rehabilitated through the establishment of native vegetation.
  • Glen Brook Streambank Stabilization in Memorial Park (Borough of Mount Arlington). Glen Brook is a major stream entering Lake Hopatcong at Mount Arlington Beach. It is a significant source of stormwater runoff and has been identified as having a negative impact on water quality. Approximately 75 linear feet of Glen Brook immediately downstream of Memorial Pond will be regraded and vegetated to naturally treat runoff into the lake.
  • Lakefront Public Access & Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance at Witten Park (Borough of Hopatcong). Witten Park, a forgotten public area, will be restored and serious stormwater issues will be addressed. The severely eroded Sperry Spring, which feeds Lake Hopatcong, will be rehabilitated and a regenerative stormwater conveyance will be installed. This device will convey and treat stormwater runoff down a naturally occurring slope, reconnecting it to the original floodplain. 

“Environmental impacts associated with development pressure in the upper Musconetcong Watershed around Lake Hopatcong have contributed to reduced water quality. By implementing these projects, we will be able to continue our efforts to improve water quality by reducing phosphorus and sediment entering Lake Hopatcong and the Musconetcong River all while enhancing local wildlife habitat and increasing recreational access around New Jersey’s largest lake,” said Kyle Richter, Executive Director, Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

The grant application requested $480,650 from the DWCF with a combined local in-kind match of more than $489,000 from the Lake Hopatcong Commission, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Borough of Hopatcong, Township of Roxbury, Mount Arlington Borough, Morris and Sussex Counties, the Musconetcong Watershed Association, Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, Rutgers University, NJ Highlands Council, and Princeton Hydro. This is the first grant that has been awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission from NFWF.

“Lakes in the Upper Musconetcong Watershed, like Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong, have experienced degraded water quality and unprecedented harmful algal blooms from excessive nutrients in stormwater runoff and aging septic systems. We are proud to partner with Lake Hopatcong Commission, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and local stakeholders on this multi-site stream stabilization project to reduce nutrient runoff, enhance wildlife habitat, and improve public access in the watershed,” said Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatic Resources at Princeton Hydro.

To learn more about The Lake Hopatcong Commission, visit lakehopatcongcommission.org. To learn more about The Lake Hopatcong Foundation, visit lakehopatcongfoundation.org and check out our recent blog. To learn more about Princeton Hydro's natural resource management services, visit princetonhydro.com.

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Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are rapid, large overgrowths of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, aren’t actually algae, they are prokaryotes, single-celled aquatic organisms that are closely related to bacteria and can photosynthesize like algae. These microorganisms are a natural part of aquatic ecosystems, but, under the right conditions (primarily heavy rains, followed by hot, sunny days), these organisms can rapidly increase to form cyanobacteria blooms, also known as HABs.

HABs can have severe impacts on waterbodies causing significant water quality issues and often forming a visible and sometimes odorous scum on the surface of the water. HABs negatively impact economic health, especially for communities dependent on the income of jobs and tourism generated through their local lakes and waterways. And, HABs can produce toxins that are incredibly harmful (even deadly) to humans, aquatic organisms and animals, including beloved pets, wildlife, and livestock. 


How HABs Affect Animals

The health impacts and symptoms can vary depending on the size and type of animal, how an animal is exposed to the cyanobacteria, how long they were exposed, which type of toxin was present, and how much toxin was present.

Swimming in waters with even low concentrations of cyanotoxin may cause skin rashes, ear/throat infections, and gastrointestinal distress. When ingested, the impacts can be even more severe. The toxins can cause liver, kidney, and nerve damage, and, at high concentrations, cyanotoxins can be lethal.

"Aeration System" by Chris Mikolajczyk, Photo Contest Submission

Animals are often the first effected, in part because they are more likely to swim in or drink from bodies of water that contain cyanobacteria. Dogs are among the most vulnerable victims because they will swallow contaminated water when playing in waterbodies where the existence of toxins may not be noticed. Livestock and wild animals are also susceptible to injecting toxins when drinking from contaminated water sources. 

Earlier this year, researchers released a study concluding that a neurotoxin generated by cyanobacteria is responsible for the deaths of eagles and waterbirds. After about 30 years of research, scientists were able to determine that cyanotoxins are the cause of a wildlife disease called vacuolar myelinopathy, a fatal neurological disease that affects various waterbirds, raptors, and, most commonly, bald eagles.


Common Signs of Cyanobacterial Poisoning

Signs of cyanobacterial poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to a few hours after exposure. In severe cases, animals, specifically dogs, can show signs of cyanobacterial poisoning within a few minutes. Common symptoms can include:

  • Elevated heart rate and difficulty breathing
  • Excessive salivation or drooling
  • Disorientation, inactivity, or depression
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Skin, eye, nose, or throat irritation
  • Neurological symptoms, including muscle weakness, dizziness, stumbling, seizures, or paralysis

Seek veterinary care immediately and/or call the Poison Control Center if you think your pet or livestock may have symptoms caused by harmful algae, cyanobacteria, or their toxins.

24-Hour Pet Poison Hotlines
Animal Poison Control Center: (800)-213-6680
ASPCA: (888) 426-4435.


Protect Yourself & Your Pets

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently released the following safety guidance related to animals and HABs:

“Keep animals, your pets, or livestock out of any surface scums or heavily discolored water, or  rinse them with clean water if they are exposed to blooms. HABs can stick to and become concentrated on animal fur, creating a health risk when the animal grooms itself. This is particularly important because HABs may release a fast-acting nerve toxin that can be dangerous for pets, especially dogs that swim in blooms…”

2021. NYSDEC. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Additional Information.

There are more steps you can take to protect yourself and your pets from getting sick from harmful algae and cyanobacteria:

  • Before you go swimming or fishing, check for advisories.
  • Do not swim, boat, fish or play in water that: smells bad; looks discolored; has foam, scum, mats, or paint-like streaks on the surface; or has dead fish or other animals washed up on its shore or beach
  • If you see a bloom or what you suspect may be a bloom, keep yourself, pets, and livestock away from the water. 
  • The CDC says, “When in Doubt, Stay Out”

A great tool for tracking and reporting HABs is the bloomWatch App. You can use bloomWatch to locate HABs and you can report potential HAB sightings to your local officials. Get more info here. Additionally, the NYDEC’s New York HAB System displays the location of current freshwater (non-marine) HABs throughout New York State; check it out here.

For additional HABs-related health and safety guidance, visit NYSDEC's Information about Harmful Algal Blooms webpage

A great tool for tracking and reporting HABs is the bloomWatch App. You can use bloomWatch to locate HABs and you can report potential HAB sightings to your local officials. Get more info here. Additionally, the NYDEC’s New York HAB System displays the location of current freshwater (non-marine) HABs throughout New York State; check it out here.

For additional HABs-related health and safety guidance, visit NYSDEC's Information about Harmful Algal Blooms webpage


To learn about some of the things Princeton Hydro is doing to prevent, mitigate, and treat HABs, visit our recent blog: 

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First Things First, What is Biochar?

Biochar is a pure carbon, charcoal-like substance made from organic material. Archeological studies indicate populations of native Amazonians began using biochar over 2,000 years ago to amend nutrient-poor soils to increase agricultural productivity and enhance soil fertility.

Recently, biochar has received tremendous attention and its usage has moved beyond traditional agricultural and landscaping soil amendment applications. It is being championed as a useful technique for soil restoration, carbon sequestration, and – the one we’re most excited about – water quality management.

How Does Biochar Improve Water Quality?

Biochar improves water quality by removing dissolved phosphorus from fresh waterbodies, limiting algal growth and reducing the likelihood of harmful algae blooms (HABs). Biochar can be placed in floatation balls, cages, or bags/socks, which are then tethered along the shoreline and in critical locations throughout the waterbody, like where an inlet enters a lake. In addition to phosphorus removal and algal growth prevention, once the biochar’s capacity to absorb phosphorus has been exhausted, it can be re-purposed as compost for soil enrichment.

How is Biochar Installed in a Waterbody?

Princeton Hydro recently installed biochar floatation bags in four waterbodies throughout Hemlock Farms. Environmental Scientists, Johnny Quispe and Will Kelleher, captured footage from the field and provide a brief overview of the installation process:

https://youtu.be/XHswfXKCCTQ

As shown in the video, biochar bags (aka socks) were attached to an anchor and a buoy using various lengths of rope. The various lengths of rope ensure that the biochar bags are distributed throughout the entire water column. For example, in cases where the buoy location is somewhat shallow, some of the biochar bags that have short ropes will stay near the surface of the water and those with longer ropes will rest toward or completely on the bottom of the waterbody.

Our team installed biochar bags in four locations in Hemlock Farms: Willow Pond, Wish for Fish Pond, Falling Brook Pond, and the south end of McConnell Lake. The biochar bags were placed in front of each waterbody's outfall in order to remove excess nutrients and prevent the formation of HABs.

Thanks to Johnny and Will for capturing great footage and providing helpful insights into biochar implementation for water quality management!

To learn more about biochar, check out our blog about a biochar installation at Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey.

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July is #LakesAppreciation Month - a great time of year to enjoy your community lakes. Lakes Appreciation Month was started by North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) to help bring attention to the countless benefits that lakes provide, to raise awareness of the many challenges facing our waterways, and to encourage people to protect these precious resources.

We’ve put together six tips to help you celebrate Lakes Appreciation Month and get involved in protecting your favorite lakes:

1. Join the “Secchi Dip-In” contest.

The “Secchi Dip-In” is an annual citizen science event where lake-goers and associations across North America use a simple Secchi disk to monitor the transparency or turbidity of their local waterway. Created and managed by NALMS, volunteers have been submitting information during the annual Dip-In since 1994. Get all the Dip-In details here.


2. Enter the #LakesAppreciation Challenge.

NALMS invites you to participate in its "Show Your Lakes Appreciation Challenge" social media #lakeselfie photo contest. The first place winner, who will be chosen on August 3, gets a $100 REI gift card, donated by Princeton Hydro. Click here to get all the details on how to participate.


3. Monitor and report algae blooms.

With the bloomWatch App, you can track harmful algal blooms (HABs) with your smart phone. HABs can produce toxins that can have serious negative impacts on water quality. Use bloomWatch to take photos of potential blooms, submit your photos through the app, and the info gets sent to relevant state officials for further action. Get more info here.


4. Commit to keeping your lake clean.

Volunteers play a major role in maintaining the health and safety of community waterways. If you’re interested in helping to conserve and protect your water resources, you can start by cleaning up trash. Choose a waterbody in your community; determine a regular clean-up schedule; and stick to it! Cleaning your neighborhood storm drains really helps too; click here to find out how


5. Support your local lake.

You can help support your favorite lake by joining or donating to a lake or watershed association. Lake associations monitor the condition of the lake, develop lake management plans, provide education about how to protect the lake, work with the government entities to improve fish habitat, and much more.


6. Get outside and enjoy the water.

There are countless ways to enjoy and appreciate your community lakes. During Lakes Appreciation month, take photos that illustrate how you appreciate your community lakes, share them on social media using the hashtag: #LakesAppreciation, and hopefully you’ll inspire others to show their Lake Appreciation too.


To learn more about NALMS and get more ideas on how to celebrate your local lakes, go here: https://www.nalms.org. If you’re interested in learning more about Princeton Hydro’s broad range of award-winning lake management services, go here: www.princetonhydro/pondlake

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The New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA) held its Annual Conference in Lake George, NY on April 29th and 30th.

This year’s conference, which was titled, “Maximizing Your Lake Data,” featured a diverse exhibitor hall, networking events, a silent auction, a student poster session and a variety of presentations and workshops. Princeton Hydro, a proud sponsor of the conference, led four presentations and exhibited.

[gallery link="none" ids="10811,10812,10810"]  

Below, we provide more information and a free download of each presentation:

Presentation Title: The Value of Developing a Long Term Database for Lakes and their Management Presentation By:  Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services, Dr. Fred Lubnow Learn more and download the presentation.  

Presentation Title: Assessing Trends and Quantifying the Internal Phosphorous Load of Lake Hopatcong Utilizing a 30-Year Continuous Database

Presentation By: Princeton Hydro Environmental Scientist Pat Rose, Senior Aquatic Ecologist Paul Cooper and Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services Dr. Fred Lubnow Learn more and download the presentation.   Presentation Title: CSLAP and Customized Monitoring - How Additional Data is Helping Sleepy Hollow Lake Presentation By: Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager Chris Mikolajczyk, CLM & Staff Scientist Jesse Smith along with Laurel Wolfe of The Association of Property Owners of Sleepy Hollow Lake Learn more and download the presentation.   Presentation Title: The Importance of Hands-On Field Education and Exposure with Regards to Monitoring Data Presentation By:  Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager Chris Mikolajczyk, CLM and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smiths College Learn more and download the presentation.    

NYSFOLA was founded in 1983 by a coalition of lake associations concerned about water quality, invasive species, and other issues facing New York's lakes. NYSFOLA, which has 200+ members across the state, is the only NY-statewide voice for lakes and lake associations. NYSFOLA is an Affiliate of the North American Lake Management Society, for which Chris Mikolajczyk is the current Board President.

For more information about NYSFOLA and the Annual Conference, click here. To read about some of Princeton Hydro's upcoming events, click here.

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