19, 2000 Minutes
meeting was called to order
10:15 AM by Craig Schutt, Chair.
of all present were made.
purpose of the following discussion was to identify inconsistencies in the
draft watershed characterization and to determine what action needs to be taken
to ensure that the data presented will accurately represent the agricultural
land use and concerns in the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan.
Committee reviewed the agricultural aspects of the Cayuga Lake Watershed
Characterization, including the Primary Use and Land Classification areas.
Dave Zorn briefly described how the land classification system works. Each tax
parcel has a center point called a centroid. (See Map 2.12.2 in the
preliminary watershed characterization for explanation of dots.) The assessor
in each town sets the principal land use. There was a discussion on what
determines the classification of agricultural land. Agricultural land is also
broken down into types of use, such as field crops, for example. Dave Zorn
said Seneca County uses satellite imagery to aid in determining ag. use. Lyn
Odell asked if a dairy farm would be categorized as crop use. Dave Zorn said
no, it would be as a livestock operation. Dave also said that aerial photos
are used in determining land use but one of the problems with this method is
that some of the photos used are older versions. Lyn Odell asked if cropland
could outweigh livestock in some instances. Dave feels this depends on the
assessors determination. Some members of the committee think the information
is not very accurate. This committee needs to consider how this information
will be used. One question raised was if it would be cost effective to take
the extra steps necessary to acquire accurate data. Dave thinks that the
existing data might be compared to the Digital Ortho Photo Quads to determine
accuracy. This method would not cost anything. Dave Zorn will have an intern
do this comparison. Sylvia H. mentioned that some identified cropland is
vacant. Steve L. mentioned that this issue should be viewed in the long-term,
such as a ten-year time frame. He feels it is important for farmers to
understand what the ‘centroid’ on the maps mean.
will be removed from the agricultural section.
will be clarified. The graphs used on this page will be edited for
readability. Craig Schutt questioned the
Dave said the assessors’ data will be used to categorize this land use.
Assessors have a specific format they follow when classifying forest land.
This figure will show the percent of such land use in the entire watershed.
Steve L. said that
has been undercounted in every instance he has seen. Monica feels there is a
problem when using the assessment data. Craig explained the process used to
classify forest land in the agricultural assessments. Only 50 acres are
allowed and the remaining forest land is classified as ‘other’.
Steve L. asked if any SWCDs in the watershed have proposed to conduct a GWLF
Watershed Loading Function
a Cornell program). This is a type of data-entry program. He feels that some
parts of the watershed should be put into a data-entry program. Dave and
Sylvia questioned what purpose the data would be used for. Steve explained the
data would depict the impact of agricultural practices on Cayuga Lake, how to
apply BMPs (Best Management Practices), and if monitoring was preformed, there
would be a comparison of the impact from ag. and non-ag. Dave said that this
process would require gathering data by crop rotation and would be very costly
and labor-intensive. It would have to be done according to sub-watershed.
Dave asked if the soils in Tompkins County were digitized. Steve said the
soils do not need to be digitized, that the soils data can be obtained from
existing soil surveys. Lyn Odell noted the Ag. Assessment worksheets. Steve
explained how he does the soils data. Jim Malyj mentioned that he used the
GWLF method about 10 years ago in one of Seneca County’s watersheds.
Dave automated one of the GWLFs done in Seneca County. Craig mentioned that
the Planning Department will digitize the soils in Tompkins County. Janice
Degni asked if the digitized soils data is required for the draft lake
management plan. Sylvia explained that funds are not available to do this.
Steve feels if this method is not used, accurate data will not be available.
He proposed using agencies such as the SWCDs to do the data entry for Cayuga
Lake. The date of the aerial photos was questioned. Steve feels the impacts
of agriculture are not sufficiently identified in the draft characterization.
The GWLF could be done to move the process forward. Janice asked if the data
collection segment might be made a part of the lake management plan. Steve
stated that the GWLF deals with approximately 15 different land uses. Sylvia
asked who would do the data entry work if it is decided to proceed with such.
Steve felt someone at Cornell might be willing to do it and Craig suggested
possibly someone within Tompkins County may do it. Sylvia would like an answer
to this issue by the next committee meeting. Dave also feels that all the
sub-watersheds should be digitized for land use. A Six-Mile Creek study has
already been completed. Steve suggested doing a GWLF for Six-Mile Creek and
comparing that data to the existing data. Sylvia asked Craig if there was
someone at Tompkins County SWCD who could do this type of work. Craig felt
Tompkins could probably do it. GWLF is a program developed by a professor at
Cornell which can take raw data and estimate dissolved and total monthly
nitrogen and phosphorus loads. It can also estimate streamflow for complex
watersheds. There was a short discussion on using the Six-Mile Creek data as a
model. Craig mentioned that the Tier I and II Agricultural Surveys have been
completed on Six-Mile Creek.
2-18- Livestock and Products
Craig would like to see Amish farms included in the land use category to ensure
that they are accounted for.
– there is a question on the
used on this map. They are too confusing to clearly understand and the symbol
used for agriculture is similar to the symbol the NYS DEC uses to identify
– Each animal icon represents the number of animal units per type. Lyn
Odell suggested that each farm may need to be visited for the animal units to
be calculated. Steve suggested that the maps of each type of animal unit
(dairy, beef, hog, sheep etc.) be shown on a separate map. He suggested
removing the aquatic farms, fish, game and wildlife from this section. (See p.
Roth questioned the use of the title, “Agricultural Sources”.
3-15, b. Phosphorus
- One question raised was, “Is there a way to link phosphorus to
erosion?” Some soil types are more vulnerable to erosion than others.
Janice mentioned that the characterization is referring to the available
phosphorus in the soil based on soil types. Steve said that a more in-depth
discussion in the characterization concerning phosphorus would be helpful.
Dave needs to know what kind of information on phosphorus should be included.
The wording in the draft characterization describing the ability of phosphorus
to move through the soil and into the watershed is a concern. The threshold
will be different when “P” is based on soil pH. The statement made
in the characterization about phosphorus, should be written in such a way that
it ‘fits’ the situation within the Cayuga Lake Watershed. (There
was a lengthy discussion on the wording on page 3-15, b. Phosphorus) USGS has
– The committee does not want this information to be misinterpreted.
There was a short discussion on whether or not to keep the animal waste section
in the ag. portion of the characterization. Dave Zorn has the Department of
3-17, 3-19 – Pesticides
– Steve mentioned the USGS studies. This data shows low levels. The
atrazine detected in Cayuga Lake is below the EPA levels. He feels the results
reported do not warrant making pesticides a high priority issue. He feels that
pathogens, nitrogen and sediments should be a high priority issue in the
was a short discussion on the acceptable levels of P and N. Levels should be
able to support aquatic life. There was also a short discussion on the
State-of-the-Lake 20-30 years ago as compared to today.
mentioned that Kate Hackett has information from Cornell’s Lake Source
Cooling Project that shows the P levels were higher than originally thought.
said there is a permit request from the sewage treatment plant to discharge
more phosphorus into the lake. In view of this request the question was
raised, ”How can we ask farmers to change their farming techniques.”
you have e-mail, please call the District at 607-257-2340 and the minutes can
be sent to you via e-mail as an attachment. Thank you.
meeting adjourned approximately 12:00 PM.
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