Cayuga Lake Watershed
Agricultural Committee Meeting

February 2, 2000 Minutes

Present: Craig Schutt Linda Szeliga Shawn Bossard
Bob Ingham Janice Degni Elaine Dalrymple
Sherry Forgash

The meeting was called to order at 10:20 am by Craig Schutt.

Introductions were made.

  1. Mission and Vision:

Some of the ideas discussed to formulate a solid mission / vision statement for this committee were;

The Committee agreed on the following draft mission / vision statement:

“Since agriculture is recognized as a preferred land use in maintaining and protecting water quality, the mission of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Committee will be to enhance agriculture through sound environmental stewardship and provide guidance for an agricultural program within the Cayuga Lake Watershed.”

This draft mission statement is open to comment from all committee members.

  1. Structure and Membership of the Committee

Craig S. passed out a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws from the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program. This Committee may gain some insight from this example. Craig feels this Committee needs representation not only from dairy farmers, but also from other agricultural interests, such as cash crops, vineyards. This committee needs to decide what member representation is needed.

Elaine D. discussed how the Seneca Lake Watershed group decided on the selection of member representatives. A survey was sent out to all farmers within the Seneca Lake Watershed to identify their needs and concerns and various agricultural statistics within the watershed.

Craig felt this Committee, once established, might be divided into different subcommittees representing different areas of the lake. The members selected would be the key people on the Committee and those in attendance today would be their advisory committee. He noted that the roles of the representatives on the Committee would expand and evolve as the Cayuga Lake Management Plan is written. Their roles need to be defined. It is important to get the farmers involved.

Bob I. noted that it is important to involve the agricultural community before the lake management plan is written so committee members will be assured input. Elaine D. noted some of the tools used by the Seneca Lake Ag. Committee in selecting members. She distributed an agenda for a meeting of the Seneca Lake Watershed Agricultural Program on Feb. 11, 2000.

Shawn B. questioned how this group will come together with the local working groups in order to obtain funding.(ex., The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network.) Will there be a liaison between the two groups?

Craig S. mentioned that smaller watershed groups (tribs to Cayuga Lake) have been forming and have applied for funding to implement projects. They are known as local watershed committees, such as Fall Creek and Six Mile Creek. Some would like to get their own citizen’s monitoring group started. He noted that phosphorus will become a bigger issue in Cayuga Lake.

There was some discussion on phosphorus sampling in Cayuga County using a rain simulator technique.

Janice noted how the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Program was based on the New York City Watershed Program and that farmers and others in agribusiness were members.

Information from the last meeting was reviewed. Land statistics printed in the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network’s brochure were discussed. These ag. figures were helpful in tentatively deciding how many members each county should have representing ag. interests. Craig S.noted the importance of asking other organizations for their suggestions on who might serve as member representatives. Janice D. suggested a term for members and also not to schedule too many meetings throughout the year.

The draft decision of the Committee is as follows:
The membership emphasis should be on dairy farming and cash crops, but other types of operations should be considered. Seneca County should look to include someone from a vineyard operation.
All members attending today’s meeting were in favor of the above decision.
This draft is open to comment from other Committee members not in attendance today.

Elaine D. said that the farmers may want to provide input into the purpose and function of this group.

Shawn said that there definitely should be someone at the Cayuga Lake Watershed Ag. Committee meetings who is on the planning committee and involved with developing the Cayuga Lake Management Plan.

Linda S. and Craig S. suggested that Dave Zorn of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council attend some of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Ag. Committee meetings.

Bob I. noted an important point, that, if the Cayuga Lake Management Plan will eventually be the basis for funding, and this Committee will have input into the agricultural component of the plan, we need a person from the committee actually writing the management plan, to tell us what information is required from this Committee.
It was agreed by the entire Committee present today, that this Committee still needs to clarify its role before we approach the members of the agricultural community requesting their membership on the Committee.

Members will be notified as to the date of the next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Committee. A date was not decided on today.
The meeting adjourned at 12:05 pm.

Respectfully submitted by,

Sherry Forgash, Tompkins County SWCD

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