Summer 2020  Quarterly Newsletter

Message from Executive Director John C. Callaghan 

As we near the end of a summer marked by COVID-19, the entire Regulating District team continues to wish all of you and your families the very best during these extraordinary times.
Despite alternate work schedules, including telecommuting for many members of our team, and new COVID-19-related restrictions at our facilities, we have had a very productive and successful summer in delivering on our important mission for the people we serve.
After heading into and going through the winter months with higher-than-normal water levels due to inflow in excess of outflow at many of our reservoirs, including Great Sacandaga Lake, an exceptionally dry spring and early summer has produced levels below target elevations for an extended period of time on several reservoirs, including Great Sacandaga Lake, Stillwater Reservoir, and Sixth Lake. This occurs when natural inflow into these reservoirs trends well below statutorily or contractually-required releases from the reservoirs.
HRBRRD Staff on the Job!
 
Executive Director John Callaghan (far left) and members of the Hudson River and Black River Area staff gathered this summer to wish a happy retirement to Black River Area Superintendent Doug Criss (kneeling). Doug's dedication and service will be missed, and we wish him all the best!
You never know what the dedicated team of men and women at the  Regulating District will face day to day--from removing debris to making water safer for boaters to a wide range of work and repairs on our facilities. This summer, crews have been out on our workboats on Great Sacandaga Lake removing trees, wayward mooring buoys and docks. In addition to regulating the flow of water in the reservoir, our staff at Indian Lake Dam had to take action to keep water out of the gatehouse with a full roof replacement. 
Our crew in the Black River Area recently had to dewater a pit at the Sixth Lake Dam to investigate why one of the gates would not seal properly. The crews found that a bronze "keeper" designed to ensure that the gate seats properly had sheared, with the sheared portion of the keeper becoming lodged between the gate and the frame. HRBRRD employees dewatered by installing temporary "stop logs" on the upstream side, found the issue, and effected repairs. We're so fortunate that HRBRRD employees have the skill and expertise to do this work themselves, saving money and ensuring a job well done. Great work! 
 
See some recent work photos here: 
Staff on the Job Photos 
Staff on the Job Photos

Working With Community to Make  
Safety Top Priority

July marked one year since we stood with our boating and water safety colleagues and unveiled the 25th brightly colored life ring to be placed around Great Sacandaga Lake, specifically at our Mayfield office. See the video of that day here.  As a proud partner in the GSL Safe Lake Initiative
we continue to support this group's valuable efforts and messaging, including their Wear It campaign urging everyone, including our four-legged family members, to wear lifejackets on and near the water, the wonderfully-executed and helpful Life Jacket Loaner Station at Wally's, and their safety awareness sign drive, where lake partners and businesses display lawn signs with messages like: Life Jackets Save Lives; Leave Only Footprints Behind; Watch Your Wake; and Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow. Have you seen our signs out on Route 30 and Bunker Hill Road and by Conklingville Dam? Thank you GSL Safe Lake Initiative, Sean Craig Memorial Fund, Inc., and Henry D. Ross III Memorial Fund, for these life-saving efforts and reminders.



Honoring EnCon Officers' Dedication and Heroism

Critical to the health and safety of those recreating outdoors is the dedicated service and experience of Environment Conservation Officers. This is especially apparent on New York's water bodies such as Great Sacandaga Lake, and two officers, Shane Manns and Paul Pasciak, illustrated this point with their quick thinking and heroism on one recent day this summer.
On June 6th, an extraordinary wind event developed in the area of Great Sacandaga Lake, almost immediately resulting in extremely hazardous water conditions.            
Officers Manns and Pasciak were on patrol in the vicinity of the Broadalbin Boat Launch, and as boaters quickly returned to shore, Officers Manns and Pasciak positioned themselves in the water and on the dock to begin assisting vessels crowding the launch and surrounding shoreline.
 
From left: Board Member Albert Hayes, Board Chair Mark M Finkle, Officer Pasciak, Officer Manns, Board Member Kenneth F. DeWitt, HRBRRD Administrator John M. Hodgson, HRBRRD Executive Director John C. Callaghan. (not pictured: Board Members Jeffrey Rosenthal and Richard Bird)
As one vessel approached the docking area it suddenly reversed, causing a woman to fall overboard from the bow and into the water. Without hesitation, Officer Pasciak rendered assistance to safely pull the woman out of the water. Moments later, a personal watercraft attempted to dock in the hazardous conditions, with the operator also falling into the water and unable to safely get to the dock. Officers Manns and Pasciak both immediately rendered assistance and pulled the man from the water onto the dock.
The selfless dedication to the safety of others exhibited by Officers Manns and Pasciak throughout the chaotic conditions that day resulted in a positive outcome for a situation which may have otherwise proved tragic. Through their heroic actions, Officers Manns and Pasciak exemplify the highest standards of public service and devotion to duty. At its July meeting, the Board of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District personally thanked Officers Manns and Pasciak and honored them with a special resolution. We are grateful for their continued service.
Weather Doesn't Deter, Generates 35 Years of Daily Observations for Black River Area Resident  
The adage, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds, may be even more true for one particular weather spotter in the Black River Area of the Regulating District.
 
For the last 35 years, Gerald Morczek has faithfully collected and reported daily weather observations in the Highmarket area of our Black River Area watershed. After more than three decades of faithful service, Mr. Morczek is retiring from his volunteer weather career. Weather data collection and analysis is vital to the National Weather Service and serves as an important part of the Regulating District's mission. This area, in the Tug Hill Plateau, receives an average yearly snowfall of 208 inches! Before his retirement, Mr. Morczek was featured in the National Weather Service's Spring newsletter. You can view the article here. Mr. Morczek's dedication is deserving of recognition and we thank him for his time, commitment and fortitude!
 
Happy Ending for Fawn in Distress
  
We never know what we'll come across out in the field but in early June, it was a very young fawn in distress after an encounter with a porcupine.
(above) Fawn discovered by HRBRRD staff after its run-in with a porcupine. (right) Our little friend recovering nicely and ready for release. 
Regulating District Senior Field Assistant Dan Kiskis and Field Assistant Danielle Thorne came to the fawn's rescue, working with North Country Wild Care and its network of volunteers to rescue the fawn and transport it to a facility for medical care and rehabilitation. The fawn was transferred to Avian Experience, Sarah's Birds of Prey in St. Johnsville, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds of prey and white tail deer. According to their staff, more than 125 quills were removed, more than they had ever seen in a deer. This little fellow is still receiving treatment, but is doing well, is expected to make a full recovery, and be released back into the wild soon. Great job Dan, Danielle and many thanks to these wonderful organizations!
Wondering What That Early Morning or Evening  
"Wave" on GSL Might Be?
Chief Engineer Robert S. Foltan, P.E. Offers an Explanation 
 
We recently received an inquiry from a GSL property owner about a mysterious "wave" that appeared in Bellbrook Bay one recent evening. If you have experienced similar waves, which have not come from any passing boats, and have wondered what they might be, our Chief Engineer offers an explanation. See his response here.
 
Mayfield Community Park:
Project & Partnership Moving Forward with Village of Mayfield

Executive Director John Callaghan, Area Administrator John Hodgson, and Senior Field Assistant Dan Kiskis recently met with Village of Mayfield Mayor Jamie Ward to tour an area around Mayfield Lake slated for recreational improvements including trail upgrades and access enhancements.
 








 
 
 
 
 We appreciate Mayor Ward's kind words in his recent social media post: "...happy to announce the next phase of the Mayfield Lake Nature Trail is underway...met with Hudson River-Black River Regulating District officials to review this plan. These guys are great community minded officials. We truly appreciate thier support and excitement about this great addition to the Mayfield community."
Thank you Mayor! This is a great project and partnership and we look forward to working closely in true collaborative fashion with you and the entire community to see this important initiative move forward!
We are here for you!
Reach us:
In Mayfield: SACFO@hrbrrd.ny.gov 
In Watertown: BRAO@hrbrrd.ny.gov
 
Please note, minutes and video recordings of our Board and Committee meetings are available on our website.
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Hudson River Black River Regulating District
 | (518) 465-3491 | hrao@hrbrrd.ny.gov | www.hrbrrd.ny.gov