An Environmental Monitoring Program to Evaluate the New York State Department of Transportation Road Salt Reduction Pilot Program in the Lake George Drainage Basin

Timeline

February 1, 2020 to January 31, 2022

Description

Increasing use of road salt to mitigate winter icing in temperate regions has caused widespread salinization of lakes throughout North America and Europe. At a local level, significant salinization of lakes and ponds in the Adirondack region of New York, including Lake George, has occurred from road salting, and the majority of lakes, ponds, and streams in the Adirondacks are susceptible to road salt pollution because of the hydrologic connection between surface waters and paved roads. Researchers will evaluate the impact of a New York State Department of Transportation road salt reduction program along Route 9N, begun during the 2018-2019 winter, on the chemistry of four tributaries flowing into Lake George. They will regularly measure water chemistry and compare stream salinity to that found in streams outside the zone of reduced road salt application.

Findings will provide valuable information on the impacts of a salt reduction program to both New York and Vermont Departments of Transportation and local highway departments. Researchers will implement a series of Salt Summits within the Lake Champlain basin to engage highway departments and other stakeholders involved in or affected by road salt application. They will also provide outreach to and survey residents whose well water might be affected by road salt application.

Researcher(s)

Jim Sutherland
Science Advisor, The FUND for Lake George
jwsinack [at] comcast.net

Chris Navitsky
Engineer, The Lake George Waterkeeper
cnavitsky [at] lakegeorgewaterkeeper.org