By Gwendolyn Craig
Not even the most protected island on Lake George could escape the latest invasive species scourge.
Dome Island has hemlock woolly adelgid. The island is within sight of the 250-acre adelgid infestation found on the eastern shore of Lake George in Fort Ann and Dresden.
The 16-acre undeveloped island owned by the Nature Conservancy is dotted with Eastern hemlock trees. The island refuge has been closed to the public since 1956, though the Lake George Land Conservancy holds a semi-annual snowshoe hike out to this untouched piece of paradise, if the ice is thick enough.
Peg Olsen, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, said it was “distressing” to find the invasive bug on the island.
“We are consulting with our colleagues at the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and our partners in the region to determine the best course of action that’s in line with the coordinated effort already underway to control the spread of this invasive species,” Olsen added, in a statement to Adirondack Explorer.
The news came just after the Adirondack Park Agency passed a resolution putting an updated general permit involved with treating for hemlock woolly adelgid, out to public comment.
Kathleen Regan, an APA staff member, presented the amendment to one of the APA’s wetland general permit applications during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday. The permit focuses on the management of terrestrial invasive species within 100 feet of wetlands.
“The permit was working well for us until the summer,” Regan said. “The question is, what happened. Well, hemlock woolly adelgid is what happened.”
The APA was able to short track permitting the use of insecticide on the infected hemlock trees already identified on Lake George at the end of September. But with future treatments looking likely, Regan told board members that the most important part of the proposed amendment to the permit was allowing for treatment to include non-plant species. The general permit currently references just plants.
“This is to enable treatment for species including, but not limited to, the hemlock woolly adelgid,” Regan continued. “Who knows what else is going to come in here later that we might want to treat this way?”
The permit amendment would also change report deadlines to February. Historically, Regan said, reports on treatment progress are due to the APA in December.
The general permit also limits the agencies that could apply for it. Those users included the state Department of Transportation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and the Regional Inlet Invasive Plant Program. The amendment would now reference an authorized user list.
Regan also gave the board an update on how treatment of the woolly adelgid is going on Lake George. The DEC and partners are using two kinds of insecticide on the infected hemlock trees to kill the woolly adeglid.
Trees that are closer to Lake George will most likely be injected with the pesticide, Regan said. Hemlocks further away may be treated with a backpack sprayer, also at the base of the tree.
“It’s really isolated,” Regan said about the treatment. “There are certain conditions they can’t put it on if they expect rain in 24 hours, and other ways to keep it from the wetlands.”
Public comments on the changes will be accepted until Nov. 20. Comments may be directed to: NYS Adirondack Park Agency, Robert Lore, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or email PublicComments@apa.ny.gov.