There are over 3,000 lakes in the Adirondack Park, with fewer than 200 being monitored on a regular basis. Monitoring is important for understanding how lakes change over time, and is particularly valuable for developed lakes. The continued enjoyment of these lakes by property owners and visitors is heavily dependent on water quality, as is the value of shoreline property. Lake monitoring helps protect this resource we value so much.
The Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) was established in 1998 to provide water quality data to shoreowners and to develop a comprehensive, long-term database of water quality conditions in the Adirondack Park. 2019 marks the 22nd year of the program. ALAP is the largest volunteer-driven water quality monitoring program in the Adirondack Park, and is a partnership between Protect the Adirondacks and the Paul Smith's College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), along with more than 200 volunteers across the Adirondacks.
The information collected as part of ALAP is used to identify causes of concern that may need action (e.g. faulty septic systems) and to conduct regional analysis to understand how various stressors that impact our waters. For example, ALAP data was used to assess the effects of road salting on lakes in a paper that formed the scientific basis for discussions with state and local officials on curbing the use of road salt to protect our environment.