Public Beach Opened for first time in 2 years

No Significant Re-growth of Milfoil & Pondweed!

Collins Lake Beach

Public Beach Opened for first time in 2 years

Collins Lake, Scotia New York, 60 Acre Lake with Public Beach

Public Beach opened for first time in 2 years. Substantial muck, milfoil and pondweed reduction.


  • Public beach closed for two years due to fecal bacteria…
  • Milfoil and pondweed growth out of control…
  • Watershed management strategies and chemical herbicide treatment not producing adequate results.


  • Lake Bottom Aeration System installed in June of 2006.
  • Biological Augmentation implemented in July of 2006.


  • Beach opened in August of 2006, remained open all of 2007.
  • No significant re-growth of milfoil or pondweed.
  • Dissolved oxygen maintained throughout water column all winter despite shutting down the system for 3 months.
  • Substantial organic sediment muck reduction in 2007.

Collins Lake Restoration Story

By DAN HIGGINS: Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) – August 23, 2005

SCOTIA – Collins Lake has two problems: one is a tiny bacterium that can make someone seriously ill; the other is a goose that can weigh as much as 20 pounds and make someone seriously annoyed. And the coliform bacteria they contain has helped ruin summer swimming at the beach, which officials closed last month (July, 2005). The village is looking at two apparently opposite solutions: they are shopping for equipment to create a nearby “splash park” to replace the beach and seeking permission to trap or even kill the big, messy birds.

By MATT PACENZA: Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) – July 20, 2006

SCOTIA – Park officials applied an herbicide to the lake’s water last year (2005), in order to retard plant growth and make the water clearer (but) tests done last week (2006) found bacterial counts well above state safety standards… making the water unsafe.

Saving Collins Lake

When Collins Lake stakeholders contacted one of our partner companies in the spring of 2006, the beach had been closed for two years due to fecal bacteria. It was thought initially the feces was from Canadian geese, but later proved to be from humans.

The Village applied herbicide which killed weeds (for a while) and other chemicals which cleared the surface water (initially), but did nothing to address disease-causing bacteria. Other management strategies included talk of building an expensive splash park nearby to replace the beach (impacting the watershed further), and reducing the amount of geese.

When we met with stakeholders after an analysis of the 60 acre lake, we explained that the lake was overloaded with nutrients. Phosphorous and nitrogen from fertilizers and feces had overwhelmed the ecosystem. The lake bottom had become a compost pile. Pathogenic bacteria had overtaken beneficial bacteria. Milfoil and pondweed growth were out of control. Circulation of oxygen from a clear surface of the lake declined and decomposition took over.


Collins Lake was put on an aggressive aerobic program to get the lake breathing again. In June 2006 a one-time herbicide treatment was applied to clear the lake surface of weeds and make it possible to install an Engineered Aeration System designed especially for the lake. It should be noted that this one-time herbicide treatment is the exception not the rule with our restoration program. In July of 2006 a Beneficial Bacteria and Enzyme Treatment was applied to support the digestion of organic “muck” at the bottom and reduced nutrients in the water column.

Collins Lake Success

The next month the beach opened for the first time in two years and remained open through all of 2007 (when this report was written). There was a substantial reduction in dead plant material and muck on the bottom of the lake, and there was no significant re-growth of milfoil or pondweed. Dissolved oxygen levels were maintained throughout the water column despite the system being turned off during 3 months of winter.

[UPDATE: 2010]

As of December 2010, Collins Lake remains in excellent condition. It has become a “go to” fishing destination in the area for bass and pike. The beach has remained open continuously and weed growth has remained in balance without the need for one additional drop of chemical herbicides. Collins Lake has been restored as a recreational asset and source of pride and enjoyment for the Village of Scotia.


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