Cayuga Lake Watershed
Agricultural Committee Meeting

February 22, 2000 Minutes

Present: Craig Schutt Amanda Barber David Zorn
John Fessenden Bob Ingham Sylvia Hurlbut
Linda Szeliga Elaine Dalrymple Sherry Forgash

The meeting was called to order at 10:15 am by Craig Schutt.

  1. Draft Mission Statement – Comments and suggestions were taken from the committee on the draft mission statement. The mission statement will be considered a draft until the committee is actually formed, with farmers and other members, so they can comment on the statement also.

“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.”
Second page, 5 th paragraph down, should read, “ Janice noted how the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Program was based on the New York City Watershed Program and that only producers were members.

Dave Zorn discussed the surveys that were sent out in the Seneca Lake Watershed. The Tier I surveys did not have a high return rate.

Bob I. mentioned that Cayuga County did approximately 50 Tier I & II surveys which covered about 1/3 of the watershed in that county.

Craig mentioned that Tompkins County did surveys in Fall Creek, Salmon Creek and 6-Mile Creek. Tompkins will have them all done and Cayuga has a few more to do.

  1. Structure and Membership of the Committee
Craig said that Seneca County will be more involved in the future. They have a new person to start soon. There was a discussion on the number of members. One of the member slots would share parts of both Tompkins and Cayuga counties. Dave feels the vineyard operations in Seneca County will be a big part of representation. Vineyards are important economically and agriculturally with respect to commerce and tourism. There was a short discussion on the number of vineyards in Cayuga County who might be represented on the committee. Amanda feels the county should choose who is best suited to represent that county, such as vineyard, dairy farming, beef cash crop, etc. It was also suggested that possibly Bolton Point Water Company be represented on the committee. John F. suggested a member from USGS. Elaine D.’s concern is that the watershed is mostly in agriculture.
Amanda commented on the way the Skaneateles program appoints members. Members are appointed by the county and the county reviews decisions made by that member on the committee. Craig S. will be attending the Ag. & Farmland Protection Board and the Farm Bureau meetings. He will obtain a list of members from these committees for possible representation on the Cayuga Lake Watershed Ag. Committee. Craig also mentioned that each county may possibly be responsible for recruiting their own members. John F. feels the person chosen to represent a county, should represent all the agricultural interests in that county. Linda feels the best way to begin is to identify the producers from each county that will be on the committee.

Sylvia mentioned that some other groups that are involved in the watershed are an educational committee, and a technical committee. She also noted that a large percentage of the watershed is agricultural. Bob I. mentioned that there are various other uses in the watershed other than ag.
Dave Z. feels that within the Cayuga Lake Watershed there are many other committees that we can work with cooperatively.

Craig mentioned that this committee has been voted by the Intermunicipal Organization and the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network as the official agricultural committee in the watershed.

Dave Z. has seen that in some watershed organizations, agricultural interests have not been well represented. Ag. must be represented in the Cayuga Lake Watershed. This is the committee that will have input and review of agricultural information that will be contained in the Lake Management Plan.

Sylvia feels it is very important for the agricultural community to be involved in this committee. She also feels that data needs to be obtained from areas other than agriculture.

Dave Z. thinks that several existing programs (for example, EQIP, AEM) can be tied together to reach an end result. This committee should utilize a grass roots approach.

Amanda questioned if there was any funding available to this committee for a coordinator position. This person could be responsible for writing reports, attending other meetings, and relaying information. This person’s role would be to coordinate all efforts, ag. & non-ag., and work with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network and the Intermunicipal Organization. Sylvia mentioned that the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network has the money to hire a coordinator for the first year.

Dave Z. restated that the purpose of this committee is to: 1) increase and maintain the viability of farming and 2) improve water quality. We also need to review the draft State of the Lake Report so that we can provide comment and input to the agriculture section.

Bob I. still questions the purpose of this committee. We must review the characterization of the watershed. The plan must state how issues will be dealt with realistically and economically.

Sherry questions who to invite to the next meeting. We will invite the numbers listed in the February 2, 2000 minutes, except for the one member that will share both Tompkins and Cayuga counties. We need to have copies of the plan for the farmers, plus summarize the ag. sections. Dave Z. will do this. Someone is also needed to run the meetings, take notes, etc., from the first meeting. Craig may do this or possibly the future staff person from the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network. Amanda asks if we want all the agency people at the first meeting. Bob I. thinks too many agency people may slant discussions. John F. states that the charge to the committee needs to be specific.

Meeting time should probably be mid-day, next month. In the future we may want to have the meetings on some of the committee members’ farms. The meeting schedule will need to be determined at the first meeting. Some items to cover at this first meeting will be:
- Review the watershed and its boundaries.
- Review the characterization report.
- Determine if it is accurate.

Dave Z. wants to have a draft watershed plan done by the end of the year. An approved plan allows for funding to be allotted to the watershed and have projects that can be implemented prioritized for funding.

The next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2000 from 10:00 – noon, at the Ledyard Town Hall in Cayuga County off of Poplar Ridge Road. Lunch will be provided.

The meeting adjourned at noon.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherry Forgash
Tompkins County SWCD

Return to index

To contact the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.

or email

CLW IO 2002