by Nicole Reitz
If interest alone was enough, Fulton would already have restored Lake Neatahwanta to its former glory.
Granby Town Supervisor Ed Williamson and Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward held a meeting Wednesday at the Fulton War Memorial to discuss cleaning up Lake Neatahwanta and making it swimmable again.
Local officials, including representatives from state Senator Patty Ritchie and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, were met by an audience of Fulton residents — almost entirely made up of baby boomers and seniors.
The community listened as Woodward provided background information on the issue and outlined goals that would start the dredging of the lake as soon as July.
The lake is fed by three streams, including Sheldon Creek, which is said to be the cause of 70 percent of the sediment that lies on the lake bottom.
The blue-green algae in the lake is contributed to the warmth of the shallower water and fecal matter from Canadian Geese and fish. The lake, once 16 feet deep, is now only about eight feet deep at its deepest point.
“We’re not going to bring the lake back until we get the stuff out that’s in it,” said Woodward.
Fanny Knapp, who started the first lake committee in the early 1990s, has studied the lake’s issues for several years. Knapp and her husband own a farm with 900 feet of waterfront.
She said that the problems in Lake Neatahwanta began in the mid 1960s when the city drilled a water well on the northeast side of the lake.
Twenty years later, the federal government forced the city to abandon the well due to higher than acceptable levels of naturally occurring barium found in the water.
Knapp remembers when the lake was once a food source and source of industry.
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