Sacandaga Protection Committee 2019 Annual Message

What a difference a year makes! After a very eventful 2018, with a tremendous challenge from the NYS Legislature and a complete victory for the permit holders and communities around the lake, 2019 turned out to be the quietist year for the SPC.

In 2018 the Sacandaga Protection Committee, our lobbyist, legal team, volunteer board members and the community all played significant roles in lobbying Governor Cuomo to veto the bill targeting permit holders to be considered beneficiaries. This was bad legislation that was amended and passed in the very final hours of the 2018 legislative session. The fallout from this poorly conceived legislation went well beyond affecting just permit holders; it put all residents in the towns around the lake at risk of increased taxes and fees.

We’re hopeful, but not convinced, 2020 will be quiet too. We’re prepared and committed to stay on guard to protect our rights and interests as the state and HRBRRD face considerable financial challenges in the coming years.

The SPC was pleased to be invited to meet the new Executive Director John Callaghan and Board President Mark Finkle to discuss our organization, review the history and relationship between the SPC and the HRBRRD, and to continue the line of communication with the leadership of the HRBRRD.

The SPC knows the importance of strong leadership at the HRBRRD, and the necessity of informed and knowledgeable board members. The SPC vets potential candidates, and encourages Governor Cuomo to appoint the well qualified candidates we support to the open seats on the HRBRRD board.

In 2019 our biggest challenge was raising money. Our accountants, WEST and Company will have our 2019 results soon, but we know our fund raising efforts in 2019 fell short of our goal. We spend the money we receive prudently. Our board members are all volunteers. Our largest expenses every year are legal representation and funding our lobbyist in Albany.

Your help is greatly appreciated. Donations to the SPC may be mailed to P.O. Box 86, Mayfield NY 12117, or through our web page at Follow us on Facebook at

Joe Sullivan & Lou Stutzke Co-Chairs SPC    



The HRBRRD released this message to the SPC, GSLA, and the Town of Day Property Owner’s Association.

“The Great Sacandaga Lake worked as designed last week during unprecedented heavy rainfall and inflow, protecting downstream communities from flooding damage. The storage the reservoir provided has resulted in elevated levels on the reservoir, though it did not reach flood stage nor spill as predicted by the National Weather Service. The reservoir has crested, with a current elevation of approximately 770 feet, or 1 foot below the spillway elevation of 771 feet. With downstream Hudson River flows abating, the Regulating District has commenced operation of Dow valves at the Conklingville Dam. It is anticipated that the level of the reservoir will drop approximately 2 feet during the next week, if inflow into the reservoir remains at or below current flow rates. Releases through the Dow valves, which may continue for several weeks, will be dependent on downstream flows and governed by the Regulating District’s statutory and contractual obligations.”

 Message from the SPC

The lake’s level is a source of conversation and many questions about how the HRBRRD manages the water level. The SPC is pleased that the Executive Director John Callaghan, Chairman of the Board Mark Finkle and Chief Engineer Rob Foltan invited representatives of the SPC, GSLA and Town of Day Property Owners Association to participate in a conference call regarding the recent storm and the GSL. 

The management of the water level is controlled by the 2002 Settlement Agreement (SA) when the dam became federally licensed. The SA was negotiated over a 10 year period through a series of meetings that included many stakeholders, including representation from lake users and permit holders.

Points of interest from the settlement agreement were higher and more consistent target lake levels deeper into the boating season, and limits on the amount of daily water releases to provide water storage and power production. The agreement works within the original concept of the GSL as a flood control reservoir providing flood benefits for the downstream Sacandaga and Hudson River communities, but now also works toward aggressive water storage for power production.

It’s important to note that even when the lake level is above the target elevation, water releases are limited to the maximum daily releases from the 2002 Settlement Agreement. HRBRRD management does not have discretionary authority to increase water releases beyond the maximum amounts allowed by the SA even when the target elevation is exceeded.  

Although the GSL was higher than normal leading up to last week’s rainfall, in the weeks prior to the event the HRBRRD had actually been releasing the maximum amount of water possible given the elevation and downstream flow within its statutory & contractual obligations.

The HRBRRD committed to releasing the maximum amount allowed under the settlement agreement. Even with maximum releases it’s unlikely the water level will return to the target elevation for snowmobile season.

Please use common sense and caution if you use the lake this fall and winter.


Winners of $10,000 Raffle

The SPC $10,000 Bet on the Lake Raffle drawing was held on 10/17.

Here are the winners!

$100 Winners

                Larry DeRubbo

                J Luthcke

                Colleen and Heinz Schefold

                Shirley and Al Pedersen

                V Michael Pick

                Elsa Bengal & Brenden Eygabrant

                Clayton Thomas


                Northville Rotary Foundation

                John Crean

 $500 Winner

               Nancy Hartrum

$1,000 Winner

               Leslie Smith

$10,000 Winner

                Eric Mason & Julie Lombardo