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Eric Siy, Executive Director, The FUND for Lake George

Eric Siy, Executive Director, The FUND for Lake George

By Eric Siy and Dr. Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer

The Jefferson Project at Lake George, being launched today in Upstate New York, is the culmination of a generation’s work to understand the lake’s changing water quality and what it will take to protect it for the next generation.

The project will advance the “Legacy Strategy” of The FUND for Lake Gorge, a science-based advocacy group founded in 1980.  The Strategy was adopted last fall to stop documented declines in water quality as revealed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Margaret A. and David M. Darrin ’40 Fresh Water Institute (DFWI).

The Strategy positions the state of the lake—the scientific foundation for lake-wide understanding of water quality trends and their influences—with the fate of the lake—the look ahead at what the future will be if present trends continue (the “status quo scenario”) and what it could be if trends were curbed or reversed (the “solution scenario”).

Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, Ph.D., Director, Darrin Fresh Water Institute Professor of Biology Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, Ph.D.,
Director, Darrin Fresh Water Institute
Professor of Biology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The 30-year water quality data collected by Rensselaer faculty and students at DFWI and underwritten by the FUND will be used as a springboard for the Jefferson Project at Lake George. Additionally, groundbreaking work on the management and study of invasive species in Lake George positions us for the protection of the lake from biological stressors. This work and research has included SCUBA removal of zebra mussels as a unique eradication strategy, and development of hydroacoustic technology to rapidly identify Eurasian Watermilfoil beds.

Initial studies including small-scale mesocosm experiments to better understand and forecast the potential impact of a variety of chemical and nutrient inputs into the lake has driven Project inclusion of a state-of-the art mesocosm facility to be established in Lake George. Real-time, in situ sensing instrumentation including autonomous underwater vehicles will contribute to making Lake George the “Smartest Lake” in the world.

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The FUND’s Legacy Strategy as described in The Need for a Legacy Strategy to Safeguard Lake George is dedicated to creating a “solution scenario.” In making the case, the Strategy calls for “a fusion of environmental and economic imperatives to produce the transforming energy, coherent purpose, and broad resolve required for enduring success.”

This is precisely what the Jefferson Project will now make possible. According to the project mandate, “…an unprecedented array of new tools for applied scientific research will fuse monitoring, modeling, simulation, forecasting, and experimentation to inform and compel decision-making that leads to lasting protection of Lake George.”

It was, in fact, the Legacy Strategy, driven by the troubling trends of Darrin’s research that catalyzed creation of the extraordinary endeavor being launched here today. The pace and scale of progress already made is testament to the passionate leadership and partnership Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson and Dr. John Kelly at IBM.

The declared purpose of the Project—to become “the global model for sustained ecosystem understanding and protection”—is befitting complement to Thomas Jefferson’s declaration of Lake George as “without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw.”

Jefferson’s words provide both inspiration and destination for this project.

Empowered science will provide new predictive capacities for integrated understanding and forecasting. This, in turn, will empower our ability to make “smart decisions” that reverse negative trends and restore Lake George to a pristine state very much resembling the lake that so moved Jefferson. This is, quite literally, history in the making.

SP Lake George_infographic_Final_600

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Posted by: pinki
 
December 10, 2013
1:06 am

Hey Eric and Sandra..,,a great step towards protecting-conserving the lake, there are so many lakes that need that kind of a technology to be conserved.,and there are a lot of people and countries in fact that face the scarcity for drinking water.
Swetha


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August 20, 2013
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This is brilliant. More needs to be done to preserve the world’s natural wonders. We take water for granted so often and we’re in danger of ruining something so important to every living creature.


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December 5, 2013
11:00 am

[…] our partners from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the FUND for Lake George, we are using data and advanced sensors to protect the lake from invasive species and other environmental threats like road salt. This is a true public/private […]


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June 28, 2013
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[...] Also, below is part of a great blog post written by Sandra and Eric for the IBM Smarter Planet blog. See the full post here. [...]


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