Cayuga Lake Watershed
Agricultural Committee

April 12, 2000 Minutes

Craig Schutt
Russ DeMond
Shawn Bossard
Jim Young
John George
Mark Ochs
Jim Malyj
Elaine Dalrymple
John Fleming
Gerold Power
Ken Burr
Sherry Forgash

The meeting was called to order at 11:15 AM by Craig Schutt, Chair.

Review of Cayuga Lake Management Draft Characterization: The Committee’s first order of business was to review the areas of the characterization that were in question or unclear. Elaine Dalrymple noted page 2-18, 2nd paragraph; she asked how the percentages were figured. Craig will look into this question further. Jim Young asked if Craig would find out the source of these figures. He feels the figures should be verified by more than one source. Mark Ochs commented that in Southern Seneca County there has been an increase in Amish dairy farming from cash crops. There was a discussion on the number of parcels listed on page 2.12.2. Each dot represents 1 parcel. Vacant Land Use – Craig explained how this was categorized, page 2-20, section 2.12.4. Jim Young feels a better definition of vacant agricultural land is needed in the characterization. Craig agrees that the Committee needs to know how data was gathered and that the Characterization should be more user-friendly. It was noted that the symbols used on page 3.12.1 ,Cayuga Lake Watershed Agriculture Sources Map, are questionable. This should be changed. Jim Young questioned the Livestock & Products Map on page 3.12.2, with respect to the information that this map is meant to convey. He suggested using dots to represent animal units.

Discussion on Phosphorus - This topic was also discussed at the previous meeting. Jim Young noted page 28, 1st paragraph in the Agricultural Phosphorus and Eutrophication booklet from USDA (July 1999). He stated that possibly using soil ‘P’ to balance (Nutrient Management), would be better than using ‘P’ or ‘N’. He feels the public is more concerned with ‘N’ in groundwater and not ‘P’. He questions if there is a better measure to enhance water quality. There was a short discussion on research that the Agricultural Research Service was doing on Phosphorus. pH has a greater impact and ties up soluable ‘P’. There was a short discussion on the variables shown when a water test is done. Craig suggested inviting Carl Czymmek to the next Committee meeting as he is doing work on the ‘P’ index. John George asked if using the ‘P’ index would identify what elements are contributing to unacceptable water quality.

Elaine Dalrymple questioned what the final Cayuga Lake Management plan would be used for. Craig explained that as much agricultural data as possible be included in the plan to provide agencies and districts a better opportunity to obtain funding for BMP implementation. Mark Ochs asked if it was the responsibility of this Committee to identify where problems exist. He noted from a source he had, that “10% of the watershed contributes to 90% of identifiable problems.” He wanted to know where the data was obtained to support this statement. He feels it is a local role to identify problem areas. Shawn Bossard asked how ‘permanent’ the data contained in the final management plan would be and how would this data be used. He also asked if this final plan would be used for regulation, citing the regulation of CAFOs as an example.
Elaine Dalrymple noted that on page 3.15 of the characterization, the Simms reference seemed to be outdated.
Shawn Bossard noted that in the characterization, the numbers used depend on which standard they were based on, a background standard or a utilization standard. Elaine D. feels the paragraph describing animal waste on page 3-16 could be misinterpreted.

Craig noted that the highest amount of sedimentation is located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake. Numerous streambank erosion problems and not necessarily agricultural practices, have been identified as contributing to this sedimentation. (It was mentioned at this point that Larry Goehring, Cornell U., has done research on nitrogen amounts from waterfowl.) Gerold Power noted that the amount of pesticides used in agriculture has actually decreased over the years and feels this data should be included in the final lake

management plan (see page 3-17). Elaine Dalrymple also feels that the plan should explain the use of newer pesticides and that the amounts used are lower than in years past (see page 3-18, 6th paragraph). Some
members of the Committee feel that only limited studies have been conducted to arrive at the pesticide information presently contained in the Characterization. It was also mentioned whether or not to include the information compiled by USGS in the final lake management plan. (According to the USGS study, the level of atrazine was below the critical level.) Jim Young stated that the charts used in the characterization entitled ‘Documented Pesticide Runoff’ should include the source and date. Other sections of the characterization that were reviewed at the meeting were table 4.2.8 – sub-watershed description and section 4-24 – major nutrients.

Craig mentioned that funding will be available this summer to conduct a streambank/roadbank inventory. Jim Young noted how most people view runoff from agriculture as the problem and are unaware of the other contributing sources. Jim also questioned the source of the numbers for nitrogen levels noted on the chart on page 4-25. He also asked if there was a desirable amount for algae growth. Jim Malyj described the ‘P’ levels at the northern end of Cayuga Lake. Gerold Power asked how much ‘P’ remains in the bottom sediments and how deep are the core samples that are taken.

Some other sections of the characterization in question are:
- page 4-3, table 4.3.14, ‘Summary of Phytoplankton’; what data is this table showing?
- Table 4.3.24 – ‘Regulatory Table’
- Section 6.1, Table 6.1
- Section 6.5- ‘Areas of Concern’, source of data.
- Page 8.1

For the next meeting, the Committee will address what components they would like to see included in the lake management plan.

The next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Committee will be on July 19, 2000 at 10:00 AM at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Willow Ave., Ithaca, New York.

The meeting adjourned at 1:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted by,

Sherry Forgash
Tompkins County Soil & Water
Conservation District

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