Lake George
katelyn reepmeyer
Darrin Fresh Water Institute,
5060 Lake Shore Drive
Bolton Landing, NY 12814

(518) 644-3541
Fax (518) 644-3640
DFWI Research:

Lake George Watershed Studies

mark swinton

DFWI researcher Mark Swinton sampling the Lachute River on Lake George

Land development and stormwater run-off have been of particular interest around Lake George since the late 1960’s when the International Biological Program (IBP) related stream water chemistry to lake water chemistry. In the early 1980’s, the Lake George Urban Runoff Program, part of the National Urban Runoff Program (NURP) connected land development to diminished water quality. The study determined that surface run-off contributes 83% of the phosphorus loading to the lake, with developed watersheds contributing 46% of the loading while comprising only 5% of the land area.

Stormwater run-off has been identified as the primary source of nutrient, bacterial contaminant and pollutant loading to Lake George (Sutherland et al, 1983; Hyatt et al, 1992; Stearns and Wheeler, 2001).  Surface runoff also contributes large amounts of erosion-derived sediments to the lake.  The rapid

Figure 1. Lake George Watershed

growth of deltas at the outflow of major tributaries alter habitats for native plant and animal species, hinders navigation, and encourages the establishment of exotic invasive species including Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels.

To better understand the affect land development has on water quality and quantity entering the lake, eight streams, along with the outflow, were selected to monitor year round from 2007 to 2010. These eight tributaries comprise approximately ½ of the land catchment within the Lake George basin and vary in development from the most heavily developed, around Lake George Village, to virtual pristine. Tributary flow was monitored in 15 minute intervals and water samples were collected monthly during winter months and twice each month the rest of the year to assess baseflow conditions. Samples were also collected during storm events to determine their influence on nutrient and chemical fluxes into the lake. Each sample was analyzed for physical and bob bombardchemical parameters which include: temperature, pH, conductivity, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, total filterable phosphorus, ortho-phosphate, total nitrogen, nitrate, chloride, sulfate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. The four year report is currently being written and will be posted for review upon completion; currently a power point presentation is available for review.



Hyatt, R.M., J.W. Sutherland and J.A. Bloomfield.  1995.  A study of the feasibility of reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff in developed areas of the Lake George Park.  NYS DEC, Lake Services Section, Albany, NY.  115 pp. + Appendices

Stearns & Wheler.  2001.  Total phosphorus budget analysis, Lake George watershed, New              
York.  Stearns & Wheler, Cazenovia, NY.  Prepared for the Lake George Park Commission.  October, 2001.

Sutherland, J.W., J.A. Bloomfield and J.M. Swart. 1983. Final Report: Lake George Urban Runoff Study, National Urban Runoff Program. Bureau of Water Research, New York


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