Water Quality Strategy Committee

Contact: Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District
394 Schroon River Rd, Warrensburg, NY 12885
Phone: (518) 623-3119, Fax: (518) 623-3519

Vision

The Vision of the Warren County Water Quality Strategy Committee is for its County's water resources to be of high quality, free of pollution and invasive species, so that all intended uses of the water bodies are fully supported.

Mission

The Mission of the Warren County Water Quality Strategy Committee is to assess the quality of water resources, identify specific problems and their causes, coordinate the resolution of those problems, and educate the public on water quality issues in an effort to prevent pollution of surface and groundwater resources.

Background

The Warren County Water Quality Strategy was an outgrowth of the federal Water Quality Act of 1987, Section 319, which required states to prepare a nonpoint source pollution assessment report and management program. The goal of this act was to determine the extent of NPS problems in each state and to develop mechanisms to deal with the problem. Funding has been provided through Section 319 to implement this management program for many years.

In New York, the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee developed a process whereby local people, working with their county's Soil and Water Conservation District and other involved agencies, could identify and determine practical solutions for water quality problems in their county. Working with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the District in each county in New York State held assessment meetings to update DEC's "stressed stream segment analysis", in order to verify where areas of water quality impairment existed. Upon completion of the stream segment assessment, DEC created the Priority Waterbodies List (PWL) in 1991 which listed the waterbodies in each county that had a water quality impairment.

From 1991-1992, the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee facilitated the formation of 57 County Water Quality Coordinating Committees across the state to develop and implement local strategies to address nonpoint source issues. By 1993, all 57 counties (including Warren) had completed a County Water Quality Strategy which was to serve as a guideline for local efforts to protect and improve water quality in their county. The current Strategy is a revision of that original, and has evolved into an educational document which provides access to water quality initiatives of Warren County Water Quality Coordinating Committee members.

Water Resources

Warren County is located in upstate New York, largely in the southeastern Adirondack Mountains. Although Warren County is most notable for Lake George, the county also contains over 25 other lakes, dozens of high quality streams, and over 50 miles of the Hudson River. The two primary watersheds in Warren County are the Upper Hudson River Watershed which encompasses approximately 75% of the county, and the Lake Champlain watershed (which includes Lake George) draining the remaining 25% of the county.

Water Quality Issues

Water quality in Warren County is generally excellent. Over 90% of the county is forested, a land use with few adverse impacts on receiving waterbodies. Specific concerns with water quality do exist in various waterbodies, primarily a result of nonpoint source pollution (NPS) according to the NYS DEC PWL.

Non-point source pollution can be defined as any pollutant entering a waterbody which does not come from one distinct source such as a pipe. Shoreline and community development have fostered increased concerns due to impacts from stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation, and failing septic systems. Highway maintenance operations and forestry practices have contributed to sediment, pollutant, and nutrient loadings to receiving waterbodies.

High gradient mountain streams within the county have continual problems with streambank instability and erosion. These are the primary issues which the Warren County Water Quality Strategy Committee addresses and works to solve.

This Strategy is intended to be a practical working document, with the capability to be updated as new water resource projects and priorities arise.

Committee Structure

Since the early 1990's, Warren County has been fortunate to have an excellent group of representatives on its Water Quality Strategy Committee. Included on the Committee are federal, state and local government employees, members of lake associations and other organizations, and private citizens. The technical expertise of the committee members and their willingness to work together has led to numerous projects and programs being undertaken to protect and improve our water quality. The Committee acts as an independent, non-advocacy group. Its structure allows it to work independently of political agendas which may conflict with the Committee's water quality improvement goals.

Meeting approximately every two months, the Committee works to continually assess and improve the water bodies of Warren County. The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District has been designated by Committee vote to lead this Committee, and the District also handles all financial matters including bookkeeping. A Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary are elected annually.