The Great Sacandaga Lake Deepening Project

Environmental Benefits

Sandharvesting (deepening) the GSL brings immediate environmental improvements because it continually improves the water holding capacity of the lake — at approximately 10-12 billion gallons of increased water capacity each year and 200 billion gallons over the life of a 20 foot deepening operation.

  • WHY DEEPENING HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT

    Sandharvesting (deepening) the GSL brings immediate environmental improvements because it continually improves the water holding capacity of the lake — at approximately 10-12 billion gallons of increased water capacity each year and 200 billion gallons over the life of a 20 foot deepening operation. This extra water impoundment will be a priceless commodity in the future, but no attempt has been made to quantify it as an asset. Certainly, a deeper GSL will have profound effects on the well-being of its fish and other fauna.

    Deepening is the answer to the GSL being essentially sterile (fish stocking) and lies in the understanding of the GSL’s annual water withdrawal and replenishment cycles. Six months of the year is spent in bringing the lake back to full water from the previous six months of being in a dry, barren & frozen state. How can fauna live in dry or frozen soil such as this? It can’t.

    The GSL and its environment greatly improves with more water — Shoreline improvements and access, navigational safety, improved recreational possibilities, boat and docking difficulties eliminated, cleaner water (reductions in pollution due to more water availability), lakeside community improvements due to economic benefits of deepening — quite simply: all of these issues are improved with more water.

    Because sandharvesting operations clean and separate sediments into classifiable products, many of the municipally owned sand and gravel operations around New York State could be eliminated.

  • EMISSIONS (Detail about the use of electric sandharvesters)

    The Industrial activities involved in Sandharvesting the GSL can be thought of as involving three major categories of equipment:

    1.   Construction Equipment (loaders, graders, bulldozers, etc.)
    2.   Sandharvesting, Washplant, Dewatering Equipment and
    3.   Trucks for Transportation

    THE DIESEL SCENARIO

    Historically all of this equipment would run on diesel fuel. Rough estimates are that collectively these machines would total in excess of 50,000 Horsepower (HP) and consume 2,000 gallons of fuel each hour of operations. (50,040 HP @ 25 HP/Gal/Hr = 2001.6 Gal/Hr).

    If the GSL were deepened by 20 feet, this would total more than 360 million gallons of diesel fuel (2000 Gal x 180,000 Hr = 360 M g) over a 20-year period.

    THE ELECTRIC SCENARIO

    Fortunately, many of these operations today can be run by electricity.

    Even considering that transportation needs will require diesel engine trucks, the reduction in total gallons (and therefore emissions) would be dramatic (20,000 HP @ 25 HP/Gal/Hr = 800 Gal/Hr). 800 Gal/Hr x 180,000 Hr = 144 million gallons over 20 years.

    For transport, the latest technologies including electric, bio-diesel and hybrid vehicles and others will be used in the deepening project.

  • HOW WILL THE PROJECT AFFECT ME?

    Assuming year round operations, some inconveniences can be ameliorated during the recreational off-season, but it is our opinion that no resident or visitors will markedly encounter much difference to their normal yearly lake environment experience.

    ACCESS ISSUES

    Access inconveniences will only involve something less than 2 sq. miles each year. So, if the first year of operation is near Fishouse, no one in Benedict, Broadalbin, Mayfield or Northville will be aware of any differences in their day-to-day activities. Operations will not void beachfront activities even where deepening is being conducted, but the operation will be visible.

    VISIBILITY

    Visibility will depend on where operations are being conducted for the year in question (2 sq miles), but the main body of the lake is approximately 4 miles wide by 9 miles long, so residents in Mayfield would not be able to see operations at Cranberry Creek. If operations were in North Broadalbin residents in Fayville would not see them. Even if operations were right in front of your residence, all you would see would be similar to floating, stationary River paddleboats or hotels.

    Temporary power lines will be visible but only across one vantage point, out to the center of the lake. These will be removed or installed underground when the project is completed. No new turbidity (clouding of water) should go beyond the boundaries of the local sandharvesting operations, because silt curtains will be installed around the operations.

    NOISE ISSUES

    All sandharvesting and washplant operations would be run with electric motors and one must be 100 feet or closer to the machines to hear them. All the pumping and movement of sedimentary slurries are self contained and in closed systems. Separation and dewatering facilities would occur at a fixed location near the center of the main lake body.

    Even earth moving heavy equipment and trucks which operate at approx. 85–90 decibels will dissipate sound by 12 decibels every 50–60 feet, so no residents will hear them