Press Releases

Adirondack Council Expands Staff to Western Watersheds  

Hires Blake Neumann as Clean Water Advocate  

Thursday, September 23, 2021 

RAQUETTE LAKE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council announced another important addition to its rapidly expanding Conservation Team, Blake Neumann, who will fill the newly created role of Clean Water Advocate.  

Neumann will work with local partners to develop and implement water quality protection and aquatic invasive species management strategies for Raquette Lake and surrounding watersheds. 

“This is a big step for the Adirondack Council and the Park,” said Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Our main office in Essex County makes it easy for our staff to keep tabs on what is happening in the Lake Champlain and Hudson River watersheds, but not so easy to interact with scientists, advocates, and residents in the northwestern Adirondacks, where the lakes and rivers flow to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. We are also concerned with the future of the Moose River and Fulton Chain Lakes. We are thrilled that our supporters have made it possible for us to assign full-time staff to this vital task. 

“It is easy to overlook just how large the Adirondack Park really is,” Janeway said. “It is bigger, for example, than Massachusetts and Rhode Island, combined. So it is essential that the Park’s largest environmental organization have a physical presence in several locations.  We have wanted to expand into the Raquette Lake and the Old Forge/Inlet area for some time.” 

Neumann comes to the Adirondack Council from Green Bay, Wisc., where he was working on water quality projects with The Nature Conservancy. There, he was working to bridge funding gaps and guide strategic planning for flood resilience measures, on a watershed scale. 

Watershed is a name for all of the lands over which water flows into a single river or other major water body. 

Neumann also brings expertise from his work at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where he coordinated research and outreach activities. Neumann holds a Master’s degree in Water and Wetland Resource Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Master’s of Public Administration and Environmental Policy from Syracuse University.  

Neumann’s hiring builds upon the Adirondack Council’s successful clean water program, which has provided leadership securing state funding and clean water infrastructure grants for Adirondack communities since 2015. Since then, more than $58 million in clean water and drinking water grants have reached Adirondack communities. The program has published numerous reports assessing the water infrastructure needs of the Adirondacks, and most recently published a report on the Park’s septic system repair and replacement needs. 

“I am delighted to have Blake join the team,” said Adirondack Council’s Vice President for Conservation Megan Phillips. “We look forward to adding capacity and value to the important aquatic invasive species prevention and water quality monitoring work that is already happening at Raquette Lake. Fostering strong and enduring partnerships with the Adirondack Watershed Institute, Raquette Lake Preservation Foundation, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, local municipal officials and community members will be critical to the success of our efforts.”  

“I could not be more excited to be joining the Adirondack Council in helping protect the Park that inspired me to go into the field of conservation from a very young age,” Blake Neumann said. “I am looking forward to getting started with our community partners and stakeholders across the Raquette Lake Watershed to help ensure the pristine quality of their waters long into the future. I hope that our model will provide a compelling blueprint for other Adirondack communities to be forward-thinking and collaborative in their approach to protecting one of our greatest resources across this region: our water.” 

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Raquette Lake Preservation Foundation, I would like to welcome Blake Neumann, the Adirondack Council’s new Clean Water Advocate, to the Raquette Lake Watershed community, Gail Morehouse, President of the Raquette Lake Preservation Foundation, said. “We very much look forward to future collaborations working on our common goal of preserving this beautiful lake and its watershed for many generations.  We wish him every success and will try to assist him in learning the many different ecosystems that exist here, as well as the rich history that makes Raquette Lake such a special place to live.” 

“The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District accomplishes our mission of managing and promoting the wise use of natural resources in the county with support from our partners," said District Manager Caitlin Stewart. “From the Natural Resources Conservation Service at the national level to the Adirondack Watershed Institute and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program at the regional level, and most recently the Sammon Clean Water Advocate at the local level, partnerships move conservation forward in Hamilton County. We look forward to meeting new Clean Water Advocate Blake Neumann and sharing ideas of how we can work together to further protect the water quality of Raquette Lake.” 

“Blake reached out to me to have an exploratory conversation about potential career opportunities for him the Adirondacks,” said Dan Kelting, Executive Director of the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute.  “I became aware of the Clean Water Advocate position just days before our conversation and knew within minutes of speaking to Blake that he was an ideal candidate. So, I was very happy to learn that Blake joined the Adirondack Council team and we look forward to collaborating with him in his new role.” 

“Raquette Lake is a precious legacy that our ancestors protected and preserved for us,” said John Sammon, a Council supporter, seasonal resident, and property owner on Raquette Lake.  “It is the center of our community and the tie that binds us all together. Its continuing health and its breathtaking beauty should stand as a constant reminder that we have an obligation to protect it for our children and grandchildren and to teach them how to do the same. My family and I thank the Adirondack Council for partnering with us and other local organizations and stakeholders to preserve and enhance stewardship of this lake, and other waters.”

Over the past two years, the Adirondack Council's conservation team has grown from two full-time staff to six. 

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.  

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States. 

For more information: John Sheehan, Director of Communications, 518-441-1340 

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