Impact of Winter Road Management on the Roadside Environment of the Adirondack Park

Winter road management practices, such as the use of chemical deicers and sand abrasives, can negatively impact the environment and human health. An interdisciplinary research team that I led recently completed a study on the environmental impact of road salt and sand use at the Cascade Lakes and Chapel Pond along New York State Route 73 (the main route to Lake Placid) in the Adirondack Mountains; the project was funded by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDEC). The objectives of our research included (1) assessing the impact of salt and sand on roadside soil and vegetation, to determine whether winter road management caused a die-off of paper birch (Betula papyrifera); (2) evaluating  the impact of accumulated road salt and sand on the water quality and biota of the lakes adjacent to the road, with an emphasis on understanding whether a state-endangered fish (the round whitefish Prosopium cylandriceum) is stressed in the lakes due degraded water quality; and (3) recommending management options to relevant state agencies on how to mitigate and reduce the environmental impact of winter road management without compromising motorist safety or convenience.  The research results and management recommendations made by our research team are found in the report linked below.


Langen T.A., M.R Twiss, T.C. Young, K.J. Janoyan, J.C. Stager, J.D. Osso Jr., H. Prutzman, B.T. Green. 2006. Environmental impacts of winter road management at the Cascade Lakes and Chapel Pond. Final report, prepared for the New York State Department of Transportation, Albany NY.  Clarkson Center for the Environment Report Number 1.  328 pp. reprint

Langen T.A. 2007. Long-Term Consequences of Winter Road management 
Practices to Water Quality at High-Altitude lakes Within the Adirondack State 
Park (New York State). reprint


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last updated 8 November 2006