Neighbors Around Cayuga Lake Mini-Conference II/Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan Project Public Forum I

As part of the Neighbors Around Cayuga Lake Mini-Conference II, held in November 1998, Cayuga Lake Watershed residents participated in a session to provide input on the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan and planning process. Participants were provided with information from a panel representing the Town of Ledyard, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, and the Cayuga Lakes Watershed Network about the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project, timeline, process, and partners. Written materials about the management plan and process were also provided to participants.

In small groups, participants were asked to individually identify and write down any (and all) issues, concerns, interests and passions they had regarding the Cayuga Lake Watershed. They were then asked to identify their top three issues. Participants shared their issues/interests within their small groups until all issues were recorded. Only unique issues were recorded and all issues, concerns, interests and passions were recorded even if not identified as a top three on a persons list (the overall group list was exhaustive of all individual lists in group). Since only unique issues were recorded, the subtle differences of wording or meaning were not necessarily recorded. Forty-three watershed residents provided input. Categories for responses were created post facto from all group lists to assist in organizing responses and clarifying narrative.

The issues were not prioritized of ranked in any manner for each person had there own concerns and interests, and the object of this session was to help identify issues in the watershed so they could be addressed in the Cayuga Lake Watershed Characterization and ultimately in the Management Plan. The public has many other opportunities throughout the process to prioritize issues within the watershed; at future public participation sessions, when reviewing drafts of the Characterization and Plan, and locally within their municipality.

Issues identified by individuals at the Neighbors Around Cayuga Lake Watershed public participation session as important to them:

Land Use Issues

A range of issues of concern surfaced in the area of land use including urban and rural sprawl, unplanned development, changes in the natural environment (specifically diminishing forests and wetlands), decrease in farm land, need for changes in land use planning, and others. People suggested that there needs to be changes in the way planning occurs for land use in the future. Specifically, of concern was: the need for model land use planning; land use planning to protect the environment and the rural communities; small municipalities needing help in planning; planning for open space, natural areas, and habitat protection; concern that there be smart land use and growth control within the watershed in the future; and that planning be based on science.

Water Management Issues

A wide variety of issues focused on the actual management of water within the watershed. These included everything from various water permitting processes and agencies, to methods used to manage stormwater runoff. Specific named issues included: concerns about water permitting processes looking individually (case by case) and not cumulatively; the need for taking into account total daily maximums; there needs to be a watershed view for permitting; urban and rural stormwater management; use of traditional engineering methods instead of other methods for water management; the limitation of the lake to dilute pollutants; issues over regulations that affect business and individual property owners within the watershed; shoreline and riparian corridor protection; implementation of best management practices for water management; and watershed-wide regulation and enforcement.

Erosion and Siltation

Participants had concerns about erosion control in the Cayuga Lake tributaries. Siltation, especially at the South end of Cayuga Lake was a big issue. Erosion associated with stormwater runoff and the resulting sedimentation were identified as concerns in the watershed. How issues of erosion, siltation, sedimentation and stormwater runoff were addressed was also of concern to the public. Using traditional engineering methods only and not looking holistically at these issues was much discussed. The need for other methods to control erosion was of interest to participants.

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CLW IO 2004