While we need to use road salt to keep roadways safe in the ice and snow, the accumulation of salt that washes into waterways has unintended consequences on aquatic life. It also largely contributes to Harmful Algal Blooms, which have been a major problem in the Finger Lakes Region for years. Using this much salt is also expensive in terms of both money and carbon emissions. Fortunately, practical alternatives are starting to emerge; namely, salt brine and live-blade plows (which you can learn more about in the article below). Over the course of 2 years testing these alternatives, communities around Lake George cut their salt usage in half, “a drop that maintenance officials say can’t be explained by weather variations”. It’s time to shift our deicing habits here in the Finger Lakes, especially given our proximity to such an enormous amount of fresh water.
What you can do: Lobby in your town, village, and county boards to budget for buying brine spreaders and flexible snowplow blades and END the application of road salt.
“If trends continue, many of these lakes will be too salty to support life within 50 years.” Let’s be proactive!