Albany, NY – Boats are being painted, anglers are getting ready to bait their hooks, and swimmers are practicing the backstroke as we ready ourselves for summer fun. Unfortunately, warmer weather can turn our favorite lakes into virtual Petri dishes rife for algae growth and the spread of pollution. Growing concern over the intrusive algae and pollution affecting our local lakes prompted Senator Terrence Murphy to sponsor S4243A, a measure that would designate Little Whaley Lake, Nuclear Lake, Sunset Lake, Sylvan Lake, Whaley Lake and Willow Lake as inland waterways. Through this designation, the municipalities and organizations along their banks of these lakes are now eligible for Department of State and Environmental Protection Fund waterfront revitalization grants. Local communities will be able to pursue improved water quality, preservation of wildlife habitats, and promotion of tourism and economic development opportunities, as well as methods to combat threats to the waterways, including pollution, stormwater run-off, and invasive species.

“Our communities deserve every opportunity to have clean and accessible waterways.
Our inland waterways are important resources. They are directly tied to tourism and the economic well-being of our communities,” said Senator Murphy. “These new designations will help local municipalities as they seek future grants that will help officials make improvements that can increase the quality of life for residents and visitors.”

Beekman Town Supervisor Mary Covucci stated, “The Town of Beekman appreciates Senator Murphy’s efforts on behalf of its residents in advocating for our wonderful natural resources. Sylvan Lake has long served as an important recreational destination for generations of residents. The importance of these valuable natural resources in communities should not be underestimated. Thank you, Sen Murphy, for your sponsorship of this very important bill.”

“The Town of Pawling is dedicated to revitalizing our lake communities. Our waterways play an important role in tourism and our overall local economic development,” said Pawling Town Supervisor James Schmitt. “We now have the opportunity to maintain and beautify our lakes, which will attract more residents and visitors to the area.”

There are approximately 1,575 acres of lakes within the Fishkill Creek watershed. The creek is also a popular recreational tourism and fishing destination and is interconnected to the groundwater system throughout Dutchess County.

Partially man-made, Pawling’s Whaley Lake is the largest lake in the County. The second largest, Sylvan Lake, is the deepest in the County. Located in Beekman, Sylvan Lake is home to summer camps and fishing enthusiasts and has a large private campground. Willow Lake, Little Whaley Lake, and Sunset Lake have become known for their wide variety of fish.

The name Nuclear Lake may seem like something out of a Stephen King movie, but in the 1950s Nuclear Development Associates set up an experimental nuclear fuel research lab on the shores of the lake. Two serious accidents occurred at the site that helped solidify its legendary name. The first, in 1971, occurred when a rubber stopper came off a plutonium powder container, contaminating a lab room with radioactive material. In 1972, a chemical explosion occurred in the building adjacent to the lake, releasing plutonium powder into the air and the surrounding grounds. Post clean up when the land was deemed safe, the plant was shut down and the land was sold to the National Park Service for inclusion into the Appalachian Trail.

The measure passed the State Senate unanimously for the second straight year and was delivered to the Assembly.