Managing the Watershed

The Lake Management Committee  (LMC) monitors lake water quality and recommends actions to minimize nuisance weeds and algae, reduce shoreline damage and avoid introduction of invasive species. The LMC contracts with a lake consultant and aquatic management firm for weed surveys, water testing and treatment applications.



Overview and Best Practices

Lakeside homeowners, dock and marina users, and anyone within the watershed (the area from which water flows into the lake) all impact the quality of Copake Lake. YOU can help to protect Copake Lake by preserving or mimicking natural processes in the watershed, so that water flowing into the lake stays as clean as possible.






ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO HELP PROTECT THE WATERSHED

FIVE PRINCIPLES TO FOLLOW (from the NYS-Department of Environmental Conservation)

  • 1
    Imitate nature.
  • 2
    Keep slopes gentle.
  • 3
    Employ live, "soft armoring" whenever possible.
  • 4
    Mix it up.
  • 5
    Keep it small and simple. Read More

SANDY BEACHES WILL HARM THE LAKE AND ITS WILDLIFE.

Consider leaving the majority of your shoreline natural as wildlife habitat and erosion control, rather than stripping the vegetation and adding sand.  Read More about maintaining lake shorelines and beach tilling.

U.S. COMMUNITIES ARE WORKING TO RESTORE SHORELINES TO THEIR NATURAL FORM.

The Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper website has published extensive resources for supporting Living Shorelines.  Read more


DIET FOR A SMALL LAKE  
Download this definitive publication as a PDF.

FALL CHECKLIST

As the days get shorter, the air crisper, and the leaves fall upon the lake, many of us are preparing to leave the lake until next Spring. As we begin packing our bags, we MUST keep in mind those important steps we take that will contribute to the safe keeping of the lake over the winter months.

  • DOCKS MUST BE REMOVED FROM LAKE BEFORE FIRST FREEZE. Place them high above water level so they will be safe and secure. If left in the lake, docks can crack and break due to winter ice. When broken they will float into the lake and create a danger for boater and swimmer alike. Pressure treated wood introduces unwanted chemicals into lake and should not be used.
  • REMOVE HAZARDOUS WASTE MATERIALS FROM YOUR PROPERTY. Safely store or dispose of paint cans, gas tanks, and other hazardous materials. If not properly secured, these pollutants could spill onto the land and eventually work their way into the lake.
  • PROPERLY DISPOSE OF LEAVES. Bag or compost the leaves from your yard. Do not rake them into the lake (where they will provide more nutrients for the weeds).
  • FERTILIZE RESPONSIBLY. If you must fertilize, remember it will eventually run-off into the lake, add nutrients to the lake and perpetuate the growth of weeds. Please use low phosphorus fertilizer and/or fertilize less often.
  • anti-freeze is hazardous to the lake, fish and plant life. Please purchase an environmentally friendly antifreeze. It’s worth the extra expense.

SPRING CHECKLIST

​Maintain Your Septic System


  • ​Pump out sludge every 2-3 years for year round use, every 5-6 years for seasonal residents. If there is no sludge, your system is probably not operating correctly.
  • ​Don’t flush strong cleaning agents.
  • ​Don’t use your toilet as a waste basket.
  • ​Don’t use strong commercial agents that claim to clean your septic system.
  • ​Don’t use an in-sink garbage disposal.
  • ​Conserve water in the home. (Septic tanks work better with less water)
  • ​Install water saving devices, e.g. low-flow shower heads.
  • ​Repair leaky faucets, run dishwashers and washing machines only when full.
  • ​Retrofit toilets with water saving toilets.

Shoreline Clean-up Tips

  • Leave trees and shrubs along the shoreline. Their roots hold the soil and help prevent erosion.
  • Don’t throw any organic material, incl. leaves, grass clippings, food or potting soil into lake. As they rot, they act as fertilizer to encourage weed growth.
  • Protect the emergent GOOD WEEDS at your shoreline. Learn to identify the difference between good and bad weeds. Learn More
  • ​Rake up floating weeds and algae along the shoreline and around your dock. Place in bags and dispose of away from the lake.

​Smart Lawn Maintenance Techniques

  • ​Have a soil test done to know what your lawn needs.
  • ​Use less fertilizer and fewer pesticides on your lawn.
  • ​Remember a greener lawn means healthier lake weeds!
  • ​Use phosphorus-free fertilizer (available at Taconic Valley Lawn and Garden in Hillsdale).
  • ​Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.
  • ​If you must water your lawn, use pistol spray heads, water in small amounts, and during the day.
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