Highlights from Jay Carter, President
The Black Lake Association held its Annual Board/Public Members' Meeting on Sunday, July 23 at the Jerry's Run for Cancer property (2317 County Route # 6).

We held our annual elections which resulted in the following:

Jay Carter, PresidenL
Lisa Schnorr has resigned as Secretary
Mike Rowley has replaced Lisa as Secretary
Board Members Carol Adamczyk, Steve Roof and Craig McLear have been elected
Board Member Mike Chetwin has been replaced by Bob Gallagher

The Black Lake Association thanks Lisa and Mike C for all they have done for us and welcomes Mike R and Bob to our Board.

The Black Lake Association held its first Cash Raffle Fundraiser which generated $ 2,905 for us.  We sold 340 tickets and distributed $ 5,000 in prizes.

President Jay Carter advised us that the biggest problem we currently face is the spread of water chestnuts from the Oswegotchie River into Black Lake. The Black Lake Association provided 2 full time boat cutters for 30 days (June) and removed an average of 17-28 dump truck loads each day.  After only a few weeks the water chestnuts were back!  The experts had said that couldn't happen, but it did.  Roots go down 16 feet and lay dormant for years.  At the present time there seems to be no solution to this problem other than using chemicals which we really want to avoid if possible. St Lawrence County has granted us 32,489 to help with the costs of Water Chestnut clean up and Weed Harvesting.  Our Vanguard Investment Account has started earning interest again. It went from 17,661 in January to 18,563 at the end of September. 

The state has finally agreed to mark our channels - probably not until next year.

We are receiving some help from local towns and our county.  Oswegotchie has contributed $ 10,000 for the water chestnut pull and McComb $ 7,100 for weed harvesting. St. Lawrence County has granted us $ 32.489 to help with the costs of Water Chestnut Clean up and Weed Harvesting. Morristown has also given us an extra $ 5,000 to help with water testing costs.  The BLA (along with BLFGA and Chamber of Commerce) are working together to obtain funds/grants from local and state sources that will enable us to continue our efforts in improving Black Lake.

The Black Lake Association was founded in 1982 to champion environmental issues and to address the challenges that impact the Black Lake Watershed.  Our mission is to protect and preserve the ecosystems of Black Lake and to enhance water quality, fishing, boating safety and the aesthetic value of the lake for the benefit of all those who use it. Current programs include:  Water quality testing and initiative, Boat Steward Program for invasive aquatic species control, Prevention and Control of phosphorous contamination of the lake and its watershed, Invasive species monitoring and control, Fishing tournament scheduling and management, Water sampling and testing, Boat launch operation and stewardship, Weed control/harvesting and Fish population sampling and Management. We are a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation.  Contributions or gifts are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

In This Issue:

* Board of Directors                                      
* Financial Update                        
* IRLC Schedule of Events
* Things we can do to help keep our water clear
* Photo Gallery
* About Water Chestnuts
* How do we improve the Health of Black Lake
* Boat Stewardship
* Cash Raffle
* NYSFOLA Reference Book                
* Membership Application        
                                                 Board of Directors                                              


Jay Carter - President
Scott Roof - Vice President
   Mike Rowley - Secretary
Ronni (Veronica) Badini - Treasurer

Board Members:

Carol Adamczyk
Bob Gallaher
Michelle Gallagher
Craig McClear
Steve Roof
John VanSchaick

Financial Update

The Black Lake Association currently has total assets of 58,482 compared to 45,973 at the beginning of this year.  We have received 6,840 in membership dues and 2,220 in miscellaneous donations. Of this amount, 1,775 was donated in memory of Jim Jackson. The Town of Oswegatchie has contributed 10,000 towards the water chestnut pull and the Town of McComb has donated 7,100 to help with weed control. Morristown has contributed 5,000 to help with water sampling costs. St Lawrence County has granted us 32,489 to help with the costs of Water Chestnut clean up and Weed Harvesting.  340 Cash Raffle Tickets have been sold, generating 6,785 in revenues and 2,905 in profit. So far we have paid 29,600 for the Water Chestnut Pull, 9,200 for cutting the channel, 738 for CSLAP and our new water sampling project, 4,034 for testing equipment, 1,166 for Insurance, 300 for the panfish marathon, and 385 for some miscellaneous supplies and postage. We expect to be reimbursed 9,200 for cutting the channel. 
IRLC Schedule of Upcoming Events

Indian River Lakes Conservancy (IRLC) was founded in 1998 to preserve the natural character of the region.  Today it works to protect the 18 lakes in the Indian River Watershed.  The mission of the Indian River Lakes Conservancy is to conserve, protect and encourage the sustainable management of the water, land and biological resources in the Indian River Watershed for the benefit and enrichment of future generations. This is completed through careful stewardship of IRLC land and water as well as education programs for the community to learn about the natural world around them.
The Night Tree
December 22
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Mark your calendars for a festive event! There will be an outdoor story around the campfire, Hemlock tree lighting, and all-natural ornament-making.
December 22
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Redwood Hill Preserve
44010 Stine Rd.
Redwood, NY 13679

Four Steps we can take to help keep our water clear:
       1.  Flush responsibly. Failing septic systems remain a critical issue on the Indian River Lakes.  Use an at home dye tab to test your septic tank.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
       2, Use "soft scaping." Plants, unlike rocks and concrete, filter water pollutants from the entire watershed before it can reach the rivers and the lake.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
         3.  Plant native species.  Native plants are best adapted to climate and soil conditions in our local environment. The deep roots reduce erosion and allow rainwater to soak in deeply slowing run-off.

         4.  Eliminate lawn fertilizer.  Lawn fertilizers make plants grow in your yard, AND in your water. To keep weeds at bay, keep fertilizers off your yard and out of your water.                                                       

Some Photos from Around Our Beautiful Lake


About Water Chestnuts (NY State Department of Environmental Protection)

Water Chestnut is an annual plant that has hollow air-filled stems 12-15 feet long and fine roots that anchor into the soil or other objects. It has tiny white petaled flowers that bloom in June. Each rosette can produce up to 20 hard seeds. The seeds are four inches long and have barbs along them, Seeds can remain viable for up to 12 years. Water Chestnut has been found in 40 counties in New York State. It spreads by rosette and fruit detaching from the stem and floating into another area. Water Chestnuts form dense mats of routed vegetation that can be very difficult to get through in a boat, kayak, canoe or when swimming. The dense mats of vegetation shade out native aquatic plants that provide food and shelter for native fish, waterfowl and insects. Decomposition of these dense mats reduce oxygen levels and kills fish. Property values will also decrease, Water Chestnuts can be controlled by using manual, mechanical and/or chemical methods. Early detection of infestation helps to reduce costs of removal and ecological impacts. If you think you found Water Chestnuts, please photograph them, note where they are located, and contact DEC (form can be found on their website).


Boat Stewardship        Jim Anthony, Boat Steward Coordinator for BLA

Our boat steward this year was Ron from NYS Parks and Recreation.  From May 26, 2023 to August 28, 2023 Ron performed 1894 watercraft inspections.  1347 of them were from NYS and 547 were from 22 other states with 11 from Florida and 2 from as far as Texas.  4500 individuals were educated as how to inspect their boating equipment for aquatic invasive species (AIS).  The number of launching watercraft was 1123 with 19 of them with AIS of Eurasian Watermilfoil, variable Leaf Watermilfoil, Curley Leaf Pondweed and Zebra Mussels.  Native species found were Coontail, Elodea and Native Pondweed.  The number of retrieving watercraft was 771 with 108 of them with AIS of the same as with the launching watercraft along with Brittle Naida.  I don't know for sure yet but we hope to have NYS Parks and Receration and AWI back with us next year.  I will let you know in the BLA Spring Newsletter.  Please remember to always "Clean ... Drain... Dry" your boat hull, trailer, engine and anchor.  Be sure to drain all water from your live wells and bilge prior to entering and after leaving any body of water.  Thank you for helping to Protect, Enhance and Preserve our beautiful Black Lake.

How to Improve the Health of Black Lake       
Brad Baldwin, PhD St. Lawrence University

Black Lake, despite its regional economic importance to the North Country, and nearly a century of fragmented scientific studies, remains an impaired NYS DEC priority waterbody, with no sign of improved water quality for the thousands of      people who visit or call it home. Not only does this restrict its sport fishing value, it is also diminishing its overall recreational and aesthetic value, mainly because of nuisance level exotic plants and toxic algal blooms. However, the Black Lake Association (BLA) and local government agencies are increasing their efforts to study and manage the lake back to a healthier state.

To help in these efforts Dr. Matt Skeels and I (both of St. Lawrence University) have measured environmental conditions in the lake as well as in the Indian River, its main source of watershed nutrients. During 2022 and 2023 we found that the lake normally had healthy pH levels as well as dissolved oxygen (DO) and electrolytes (conductivity). And as most of you would suspect the lake supported high plant production, both for offshore and nearshore food webs that support your diverse fish community.

Unfortunately, during late summer, some of these plants (microscopic phytoplankton) grow out of control and can form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are at best inedible, and at worst, toxic. Despite outbreaks of HABs, the tiniest krill-like animals that dominate the lake (zooplankton) are plentiful and active. This good news means your fish have great potential to reproduce and grow since most of the baby fish (larvae) that hatch after spawning rely on a diet of zooplankton. So too do juvenile fish and minnows, whether they feed offshore or within shoreline weedbeds. Collectively, it appears that there are a LOT of fish that eat zooplankton since, compared to many other NNY lakes I study, your zooplankton are the smallest, meaning they can’t grow any larger without being seen and eaten by fish. This may actually indicate a super-abundance of larvae, juveniles, and minnows. But if gamefish predators (e.g. bass, walleye, pike) could increase throughout the lake, they would reduce the number of juveniles (e.g. sunfish, perch, etc.), minnows, and shiners, which could leave more zooplankton to graze down your overly abundant phytoplankton, helping to clarify Black Lake and reduce HABs. 
Another way to clarify your water and limit HAB events is to reduce the key nutrient (phosphorus, P) that is overly abundant, fertilizing your lake’s plant life. During spring, summer, and early fall sampling, throughout the lake, we continue to find high levels of P, so high in fact that your lake is said to be eutrophic (highly productive). Our recent data is similar to those found in other studies over the last few decades, meaning that there has been no improvement in this aspect of the lake’s water quality.

Since Black Lake and most of its watershed is situated in the fertile St. Lawrence River valley the lake is naturally productive. But human activities along the shoreline and upstream in its large watershed inevitably add more nutrients to the lake. Can those activities be better managed to lessen the modern nutrient load to the lake? Septic systems are one possibility and another is reducing nutrient loading from the lake’s largest watershed, which is drained by the Indian River. This summer I sampled several locations up and down its river course and found that, overall, this river has higher P levels than those measured in either the Oswegatchie or Grasse rivers. While such measurements should be repeated in 2024, for greater certainty, this preliminary data indicates that the Indian River has high P levels (eutrophic in fact) which enter Grindstone Bay and flow into the rest of Black Lake.

From our recent work it seems that the BLA could consider a 2-pronged approach to reduce its overly fertile state. Both will take time but increasing gamefish populations could reap benefits within a decade. Reducing nutrients will likely take longer but this effort is ultimately the key to reducing HABs and improving water clarity and aesthetic appeal of the lake. Beyond reductions in septic inputs to the lake, cooperative efforts with

folks in the Indian River watershed (villages, farms, the Indian River Lakes Conservancy, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, etc.) to lessen nutrient loading should begin in earnest. NYS DEC is currently working on a nutrient management plan for the lake, due out in 2023 or 2024. This plan, along with our own data and ideas, should help us develop future grant applications that could fund management efforts to remediate environmental and fishery conditions in Black Lake.


New Black Lake Association Fund Raiser Cash Raffle
        Board Member, Carol Adamczyk was in charge of a Cash Raffle this year to help with the costs of Weed Harvesting, clearing the Water Chestnuts, improving the boat launch and any other projects that will benefit Black Lake. Tickets were sold for $ 20 each. 340 tickets were sold, generating $ 6,785 in Revenue and $ 2,905 in Profit. As an extra incentive to join the Association, new members could just add ten dollars to the price of the ticket to receive a 2023 membership. 29 new mwmbers took advantage of this. Winners of the Raffle were:                                                                                                            

     First Prize $ 2,500 Kim Frey
     Second Prize $ 1,000 Leyla Maisenhalter
     Third Prize $ 500 Jim Staples
     Bonus Prize $ 250 Eric King
     4 Prizes $ 100 each:  Tamara O'Donnell,           
     Jim Staples, Jaxon Lewis, Richard Wood
     7 Prizes $ 50 each:  Carol Adamczyk, Ken Benwre, Bob Gallagher, Michelle Shoemacher, Jen George, Rodney Heath, Lisa Girard

     Carol, Ken and Bob donated their winnings back to Black Lake Association

NYSFOLA New Reference Book

NYSFOLA is pleased to announce the publication of the long-awaited second edition of "Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America" by Garrett E, Crow and C. Barre Hellquist. NYSFOLA was part of a broader effort to bring this new edition to press and are happy to support the work. The second edition of this widely acclaimed publication provides the most comprehensive and illustrated guide to the native and naturalized vascular plants - ferns, conifers, and flowering plants - growing in aquatic and wetland habitats in northeastern North America. from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and south to Virginia and Missouri, Features include;
* Average of 1,219 plant species, 1,259 taxa, 325 genera, and 112 families.
* 633 pages of illustrations, covering 88 percent of the taxa.
* Keys that include figure numbers corresponding to drawings to facilitate identification.
* Emphasis on vegetation characteristics.
* A chapter on nuisance aquatic weeds.
* Glossaries of botanical and habitat terms.
* A full index to scientific and aquatic names.

The cloth bound book is now available from the University of Wisconsin Press at a price of $ 99.95.



BLack Lake Association