TO: Batchellervillle Bridge Action Committee Members
FROM: Peter VanAvery
DATE: June 2, 2006

The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District has rescheduled its fifth meeting to solicit public input on revisions to its rules and regulations for Great Sacandaga Lake's access permit system. Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Date: Tuesday, June 6, 2006. Place: Mayfield Central School, 27 School Street, Mayfield. Agenda: Attendees will determine the topics for public comment. This will be the final meeting before the revised rules and regulations are issued in draft form. (Originally scheduled for May 30, the meeting had to be canceled at the last minute because of a power outage at the school.)

Agenda:

6:30 - 6:45 Welcome, Rule Revision Process Overview

6:45 - 6:55 Ground Rules for Determining Public Comment Topics, Determine Public Comment Topics

6:55 - 8:25 Ground Rules for Public Comment, Public Comment Session

8:25 - 8:30 Closing, Adjournment

After draft rules are prepared, the Regulating District plans to hold a second round of public input meetings during the summer months when seasonal property owners will be back in force. All of these meetings will be open to the public. The District hopes to complete the rule-revision process by the end of this year so that the revised rules can be implemented in 2007. Exception: permit fees, which have been capped until 2010. People unable to attend these meetings can download a "Permit System Rules Revision Public Comment Form" from the District's website at http://www.hrbrrd.com/rulespubliccommentform.html.


A reminder to front-lotters: The most important rule that affects you -- Rule 606.29 (Width of Access Area) -- has not been considered during the first four rule-revision meetings. It is imperative that you show up and speak out about this rule at the June 6 meeting -- or quickly fill out and mail a public comment form. You want the rule to be amended to state that an access permit width, once established, shall not be reduced in the future.


In late April and early May, the GSL Fisheries Federation stocked Great Sacandaga with about 5,600 sizable trout -- 5094 rainbows and 500 browns. None was shorter than a foot, and some were up to 24 inches long. Average weight: 1.25 pounds. Cost: about $29,000, using $19,000 in donated funds plus $10,000 from the Great Sacandaga Lake Advisory Council. In addition, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation stocked the lake with about 12,000 younger (and therefore smaller) rainbows and browns.

Hint to fishermen: Here are the Fisheries Federation's stocking sites and the number of fish introduced:

Day Launch (505 rainbows), Driscoll's (400 rainbows), Sinclair Heights (400 rainbows), Northville Launch (420 rainbows), Turner Road (420 rainbows), Fayville Road (320 rainbows), Diamond Point (320 rainbows), Broadalbin Boat launch (350 rainbows), Vandenburg Point (350 rainbows), Northampton Camp Site (530 rainbows), HRBRRD Boat Launch (470 rainbows), HRBRRD Boat Launch (224 rainbows and browns), Grandview Marina (460 rainbows and browns), and Cranberry Cove (425 rainbows & browns).

My thanks to Fisheries Federation member Bob Monacchio for providing this information.


On a less pleasant note, I regret having to report that the NYS Department of Health has just issued new health advisories for elevated mercury levels in sportfish in 16 additional bodies of water across the state, including Great Sacandaga Lake. Women of childbearing years and children under the age of 15 are advised to avoid eating any fish from these waters. For the rest of the population, the general advice is to eat no more than one meal (1/2 pound) per month of smallmouth bass and walleye from Great Sacandaga and no more than one meal (1/2 pound) per week of other fish species.

When coal is burned in a power plant, mercury is released into the atmosphere. The element eventually settles back to land, sometimes hundreds of miles from its point of origin. Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish and shellfish. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fish consumption does not cause a health concern for most people. However, high levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.

Since fish is a beneficial part of the diet, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration encourage people to continue to eat it -- but to select types with low levels of methylmercury. For further info, see the government publication "What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish" at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3.html. You'll find a list of fish and shellfish that have lower levels of mercury at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/sea-mehg.html.


The lake's level is at 769.86 -- about two feet above target.


The next Regulating District board meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 12, 2006 at the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge, 109 South Comrie Avenue, Route 30A, Johnstown. This may be an all-day meeting. Tentative agenda: approval of the three-year, 2006-2009 budget, plus reports on proposed rule changes to the access permit system. This is a very important meeting to attend.