Albany, NY – Our local waterways help sustain the economies of lakeside communities and serve as satisfying sanctuaries for fishing, boating, and swimming. Growing concern over the intrusive algae and pollution affecting Lake Baldwin, Lake Ossi and Lake Purdys prompted Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne to author legislation designating these lakes as inland waterways for the purpose of waterfront revitalization. On November 29, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senator Murphy’s bill into law.
By defining Lake Baldwin, Lake Ossi and Lake Purdys as inland waterways, the municipalities and organizations along their banks are now eligible for Department of State and Environmental Protection Fund waterfront revitalization grants. Local communities will be able to pursue improved water quality, preservation of open space and wildlife habitat, promotion of tourism and economic development opportunities, as well as combating threats to the waterways, including pollution, stormwater run-off, and invasive species.
“Our inland waterways are important resources. They are directly tied to tourism and the economic well-being of our communities,” said Senator Murphy. “We need to be pro-active in staying ahead of the damaging effects that pollution and natural overgrowth can have on our lakes. This legislation provides communities with a funding source that will help preserve our natural resources and promote economic development.”
“Protecting our waterways is important not only for our community’s environmental health, but our economic health as well,” said Assemblyman Kevin Byrne. “These new designations will help local municipalities as they seek future grants from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. I’d like to thank Senator Murphy and Governor Cuomo for their efforts to help us get this passed and signed into law.”
Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey stated, “The Town of Somers is dedicated to revitalizing our lake communities and to improve the water quality and recreational access to these community resources.”
“I want to thank Senator Murphy for moving this vital piece of legislation through the Senate. He has always had our backs in Carmel,” said Carmel Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt. “This legislation opens up more possibilities for improving our lakefront area. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Murphy on projects that will help further enhance the quality of life for everyone in the community.”
Lake Baldwin has been deemed impaired as a water supply, for public bathing, aquatic life, and recreation. Pollutants include oxygen demand, ammonia, pathogens and municipal stormwater run-off. The Town of Somers stormwater management program identified the residential zone near Lake Purdys as an area with runoff and potential septic system problems. Lake Ossi has been classified with conditions that have resulted in the excessive growth of algae, plants, and bacteria that consume nearly all the oxygen in the water, particularly in warmer weather.