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West Branch Ausable River

Protect the Ausable River

Dear Friend of the Ausable,

Thanks to your support, brook trout began migrating freely through three new culverts on tributaries of the Ausable River in 2015. Their habitat and range has expanded, increasing their genetic diversity. Where undersized plastic pipes once moved water inefficiently under roads, exacerbating flooding, restored streams now flow unimpeded – as if the roads were not there. Flood risk is reduced and town maintenance costs are negligible. This is the beginning of a multi-year effort to replace undersized culverts on rural roads throughout the watershed.

Your support protects the Ausable River, its tributaries, and lakes.

Stronger and more effective than ever, the Ausable River Association (AsRA), working with an array of partners, continues to implement solutions for a healthy Ausable watershed.

Help us protect Ausable waterways from road salt contamination in 2016.

The impacts of road salt (sodium chloride) in the Ausable River watershed are an increasing concern to AsRA and others. Winter road maintenance is critical to public safety, but the indiscriminate use of road salt endangers natural resources, valued by residents and tourists.

AsRA's water quality monitoring is helping to reveal the implications of increased chloride concentrations in local waters. In Mirror Lake in 2014, monitoring indicated levels of chloride 163 times higher than in Adirondack lakes not affected by winter road maintenance. High chloride concentrations are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms. In 2015, AsRA collected vertical profiles of temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and pH in the lake from spring through fall. The results show a lake starved of oxygen beginning in early June when the water becomes stratified. Heavy salt-laden effluent, holding no oxygen, sits in the lake bottom as waters above begin to warm. By late summer, only two meters near the center of the water column remain suitable for cold-water fish, such as lake and rainbow trout. If these conditions worsen, Mirror Lake may not be able to support healthy fish populations, and could lose its cold-water fish species, experience algal blooms, and be more vulnerable to invasive species.

Your financial support can help us understand and combat this threat. AsRA is extending its monitoring efforts in 2016. We'll be focusing on Mirror Lake, Upper Cascade Lake, and sections of the Ausable River alongside state roads. Test results will be shared with lake associations, towns, and the public. Our goal: providing sound science that gives citizens, local leaders, and management agencies information to make smart decisions that protect Ausable waterways, public safety, and natural resources. We need your help.

Please donate to ensure the strength of AsRA's water quality monitoring work.

The financial support of our members is essential to our success. Please consider an end-of-year donation to the organization that protects the place you love, the Ausable River watershed.

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