Ausable River Association merges with nonprofit Lake Survey | News, Sports, Jobs
The boards of the Ausable River Association and the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation plan to merge by next year.
The Ausable River Association Board of Directors unanimously approved in February a timeline for the merger, proposed by the ALSC, which aims to make the ALSC a program of the Ausable River Association by 2023.
“I think … fusion will enable us to be both better partners in what we hope will be a cooperative effort to provide the best possible science to address concerns of climate change and its effects on our water and our air for the benefit of agencies, for the benefit of the public, and for the benefit of problem solving in the park,” Kelley Tucker, executive director of the Ausable River Association, said.
The ALSC was established in 1983 by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Empire State Electric Research Corporation to perform long-term monitoring of the chemical and biological states of the Adirondack Lakes. ALSC has monitored changes in 52 of the park’s lakes since 1992, and ALSC’s study of chemical acidification in Adirondack lakes informed the 1990 federal amendments to the federal Water Quality Act. who have launched efforts to curb acid rain in the park.
The Ausable River Association would offer the ALSC as a stand-alone program. The association’s primary focus is the Ausable watershed and neighboring watersheds, and Tucker said the ALSC could expand the association’s potential.
The organizations are also considering merging their staff. Tucker said there isn’t necessarily a separation between merging the program and merging the staff — both are likely to happen, but discussions are still ongoing. ALSC has one full-time employee, Phil Synder, and Tucker said the Ausable River Association will make sure there’s a spot if the merger is approved.
“Everything seems very positive at this stage”, said Tucker.
Both councils must confirm the merger once more before it is finalized. Tucker expects that confirmation to happen this year.
Tucker said the merger was in no rush at this time as ALSC’s latest funding package through NYSERDA and DEC was continuing through the end of the year, although the end of the contract encouraged ALSC to seek other partnerships. ALSC received funding through a series of contracts with its founders, according to Tucker. Once this year’s funding is exhausted, the ALSC is expected to issue a new bid for a contract with state agencies.
She said the ALSC has received an array of federal and state funding in the past. Nonprofits like the ALSC often have to dredge up funds from whatever grants are available, Tucker said, and the association would “provide a home” for ALSC to keep the organization alive.
Tucker anticipates that NYSERDA and DEC will award a new contract to ALSC for long-term monitoring of the lake, but this is a competitive process. Right now, the ALSC is focusing on what it contracted this year: long-term lake monitoring and cloud monitoring on Whiteface Mountain.
“Ultimately, the Ausable River Association will be an administrative and coordinating house for the good scientific needs of the ALSC, and that’s exciting,” said Tucker. “It gives us additional skills, tools and capabilities to solve problems in our community.”
Tucker said there had been a trickle-down effect created by a lack of funding for scientific research. Staff have shrunk because projects have shrunk because science and funding for water quality in the park and nationally has shrunk. She said that having additional resources and more “smart people in a lab” would probably help the ALSC and the Ausable River Association be more competitive when it comes to funding opportunities, but that’s not why they’re doing it. The multifaceted effects of climate change call for equally robust research efforts to help reduce those effects, and this merger could improve both nonprofits’ impacts on the ground.
The more resources, the better, according to Tucker.
It is not uncommon for non-profit environmental organizations in the park to merge and pool their resources. The Adirondack Land Trust and Lake Placid Land Conservancy also announced a merger last year for similar reasons.
Tucker said the ALSC merger would not completely eliminate competition between nonprofits, but they are entering a period of recognition that cooperation, shared resources and shared work are more efficient and effective than working. alone.
The ALSC already works with organizations such as the US Geological Survey and academic partners such as Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Schools, Syracuse University and Paul Smith’s College. AsRA also partners with other nonprofit organizations, such as the Adirondack Watershed Institute, to study water quality and works with Adirondack communities to protect streams and lakes. The association and ALSC recently helped develop the Adirondack Lake Ecosystem and Climate Change Survey, or SCALE, to protect the Adirondack Lakes. Tucker said through SCALE, the association and other environmental nonprofits are expressing the importance and value of science that helps monitor water and air quality in New York City. and beyond.
The potential merger could involve a transformation of the ALSC’s science lab at Ray Brook. Tucker said the ALSC has a smaller lab that was set up to handle specific projects the company has secured funding for. Tucker said the Ausable River Association was interested in outfitting the lab for additional projects, obtaining additional certifications for the lab, and determining what the association and its partners would need from the lab.