Let’s Protect The Lake!
We are blessed with a lake like this. Unlike some lakes, which people have managed to ruin or severely degrade, Star Lake has somehow remained nearly as pristine as it must have been 100 years ago. As we use and enjoy the lake, we need to also accept the challenge to pass it on to future generations in as good as or better condition than it is today! To quote Teddy Roosevelt, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.” Besides this moral imperative, a healthy lake is important to our property values, our drinking water and our future enjoyment of the lake.
During the summer of 1994, the SLPA, in conjunction with the NYSDEC and the New York Citizens Lake Assessment Program, began a sampling and monitoring program. This enabled us to establish a base line of lake quality from which we can measure changes and compare our lake with others in the program. Recent partnerships with students and staff at Houghton College Star Lake Campus have continued water testing. In 2007, we surveyed the shorelines for invasive aquatic species such as Milfoil. Star Lake currently enjoys the highest lake rating for water quality. We must all try to keep it that way. Below are environmental factors that can negatively impact lake quality. It is important that we ALL DO OUR PART to avoid or minimize their impact.
Zebra Mussels and Milfoil The introduction of non-native plants and animals is probably the single greatest threat to lake quality. Boats, motors, and trailers and live bait from other lakes and rivers are the main source of both of these contaminations. Zebra mussels can foul the public water intakes. For those who draw water directly from the lake, zebra mussels can migrate throughout the entire water system, effectively clogging it unless a costly filtration system is installed. Their razor sharp shells can severely cut swimmers and waders. Juvenile zebra mussels are microscopic--you might not even know they are on your boat or fishing gear!
Milfoil, if introduced, can grow rapidly and form dense mats of vegetation significantly degrading swimming, boating, and fishing. Milfoil plants easily fragment into small pieces and each piece can form roots. A single wisp can multiply into 250 million new plants in one year! Milfoil has a fine, feathery appearance. Its leaves are green, and the stems are red or rust colored. Generally, each leaf has 12 or more pairs of leaflets. In the late summer, the plant forms mats on the water's surface and sometimes spike-shaped flower stalks emerge above the surface. You can help by removing even the smallest weed fragments; not just milfoil, from your boat, motor, trailer and fishing gear when you leave a body of water. Properly dispose of weeds and check your gear carefully before launching into Star Lake! For more, see the NYSDEC site http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/50121.html
If you, your guest or renter have had your boat on another body of water, before launching it in Star Lake (or anywhere else!) please follow the procedures adapted from the DEC 1994-95 Fishing Regulations Guide. These important steps can be found in the “Boating on the Lake” section, page 5 and at the above web site.
Septic Tank Seepage or Overflow
Septic tank seepage into the lake can contain high levels of nitrogen and phosphates both of which can nourish weed growth. There is also the potential of direct disease transmission from raw sewage. We strongly urge that you professionally maintain your septic system.
Lawn and Garden Fertilizers
Run-off of fertilizer is another source of weed nutrients. It may be attractive to have a nice green lawn; but we don’t want a green lake! Please use with great constraint near the lake, taking care not to contaminate the water with fertilizers and other harmful chemicals or pesticides. A good source of environmentally-friendly lawn and garden solutions is https://www.gardensalive.com/.
Purple loosestrife has been seen on the shores of Star Lake. This beautiful square-stalk plant with purple petals poses a threat to our delicate ecosystem. It is not indigenous to North America; however it is extremely invasive to our fresh water wetlands. According to the National Parks Service, purple loosestrife poses a real ecological threat to all states except Florida. “Purple loosestrife adapts readily to natural and disturbed wetlands. As it establishes and expands, it out-competes and replaces native grasses, sedges, and other flowering plants that provide a higher quality source of nutrition for wildlife. The highly invasive nature of purple loosestrife allows it to form dense, homogeneous stands that restrict native wetland plant species…and reduce habitat for waterfowl.” For more information on how to identify and remove this swamp invader, see the following web site: Purple Loosestrife – New York Invasive Species Information (nyis.info).
Litter, Contaminants and Other Pollution
The lake and surrounding roads are no place to dispose of cans, bottles and bottle caps, or any other trash! Every year, remnants of past littering and carelessness wash onto our shores. Every summer, we hear of someone stepping on a broken glass bottle, causing severe injury. All one has to do to witness the lack of concern over littering is take a walk on the road behind the lake. It’s time we brought back the old ‘70’s slogan: “Don’t be a litter-bug!”
Please help by setting a good example for kids and educating them to the benefits of keeping our lake clean. Batten down the raft on windy days to avoid accidental littering. Try to avoid using glass containers on the lake to minimize the potential of injury from broken glass. Please be particularly careful handling gasoline, oil and anti-freeze to insure that spills don’t contaminate the water or shoreline. “If you bring it in, take it out!” doesn’t only apply to campers, hikers and Boy Scouts. If you see the litter of others, please help by picking it up and disposing of it properly. If you see someone littering, call them on it and tell them to stop! It’s everyone’s obligation to the lake community to help keep it clean and green.
Local air pollution has not generally been a problem here. However, residents around the lake should be aware that the Town of Fine passed an ordinance banning the use of burn barrels. Burning garbage and other refuse not only smells up the neighborhood; the noxious gasses are harmful to us and our environment.
Sound pollution such as incessant dog barking, loud music, and late-night partying can also be a problem from time to time. Please do your part to insure everyone’s “quiet enjoyment” of their property.
Boat wakes can cause shoreline erosion and damage to docks and moored boats. Evidence of erosion can be found at the end of Scott’s Point, the north end of Lulu Island, and the first 500 feet of the south shore entry to Post Office Bay. Erosion is an imposition on the property owner. The washed-in soil silts the lake bottom and is a nutrient for weed growth. Most of us can’t afford to lose any more valuable shoreline, so please be careful and watch your wake.
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