Invasive species, like the spread of deadly algal blooms, has dominated headlines this summer.
The issue received a boost last month when Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior Senator, visited Lake Placid to champion the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, one of the three proposed Great Lakes Bills that would accelerate the federal government’s review process when it considers whether to ban the importation of animals and plants, among other measures.
Combating invasives is a bipartisan issue that has sweeping ramifications across the region.
Their pervasive spread costs the federal government damages of $120 billion per year and their presence in the Adirondack Park — including blue algae, milfoil, zebra mussels and the spiny water flea — has the opportunity to derail the chief economic driver of the region — tourism, an industry that generated $144 million in local taxes last year and is the keystone to the North Country’s future, one that complements emerging developments in the biomass energy industry, agriculture and international trade sectors.
Excessive amounts of algae, alongside manmade contaminants, chokes off oxygen and leads to dead zones within bodies of water, places where life cannot exist.
Readers may be familiar with the problems facing Lake George.
There, dead zones have been reported, little storms of stagnation — pockets of slimy algal ooze paired with synthetic pollutants that have posed as a mortal threat to aquatic survival. Exhaustive efforts are under way to keep these combatants in check, including a proposed study in September that will enlist volunteers to scope the shores for the Asian Clam.
Another example of a dead zone is Tupper Lake. Beneath the austere gunpowder-gray sheen of Big Tupper belies a sense of unnatural gloom.
While the lake itself is just fine, a recent peek into the human habitat shows a disproportionate percentage of those fortunate enough to be working are employed in the public sector, a number expected to shrink as restruction at Sunmount Developmental Disabilities kicks a wider swath into a struggling private sector that often, has no place for them.