Cayuga Lake Watershed
Agricultural Committee Meeting

March 22, 2000 Minutes

Present: Jim Malyj Jack Persoon John George Dave Zorn
Craig Schutt Jim Young Ken Burr Elaine Dalrymple
John Fessenden Lyn ODell Sherry Forgash John Fleming
Amanda Barber Judi Bough Janice Degni Sylvia Hurlbut

Craig Schutt called the meeting to order at 10:10 AM. All agricultural producers present received a binder with pertinent information relating to the Committee’s purpose.

  1. Overview of Committee

Craig Schutt gave a short description of the Committee’s purpose to all those present. This Committee was
formed out of the I.O., in lieu of the pending Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan. Representation of the municipalities within the Cayuga Lake Watershed comprise this Ag. Committee. Because approximately 50% of the watershed is agricultural, it is vital that agriculture be represented in the formulation of the final management plan to ensure its viability.

The draft mission statement was reviewed and Craig solicited input from farmers present. Membership in the Committee was also reviewed and farmers were asked if they agreed with the representative numbers from each County. Membership must be an odd number for voting purposes. (Please note your handout on the Structure of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Committee – “The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network has also voted this Committee as the official agricultural committee for the watershed and will be working closely with the Committee.”)

Money is available to hire a watershed steward. Both the I.O. and the Cayuga Lake Network should view this Committee as the agricultural committee.

Elaine Dalrymple questioned if in addition to agricultural members some should be non-ag. Possibly having someone from a water company and/or agribusiness. It would be valuable to have someone other than a producer on the Committee. Possibly a Mennonite farmer from Seneca County. At the last meeting, it was left to each County to select which members they would like to have on the Committee. Jim Malyj suggested membership from a hog operation. Ken Burr suggested a beef farmer who owns land in three counties in the watershed. It was mentioned that since the problems and concerns are virtually the same, the Committee should have representation from someone other than farming, such as a fertilizer company, ag. service, chemical company, etc. It may be difficult to choose the right person or to gain their interest, however they could provide valuable input. Because a person from this type of business must abide by very strict regulations, they would have a broader perspective. The following were suggested; Phelps Supply, Mark Oaks, Genoa Ag. Center, Dan Magari, feed company rep. Specialists in various fields can be called in for expert comment when needed. Janice Degni suggested someone with a financial background such as bankers who fund construction. A crop consultant was also suggested. It was decided to ask Mark Oaks or a representative from Genoa Ag.

  1. Watershed Overview – Agriculture in the Watershed: Dave Zorn, Genesse-Finger Lakes Regional Planning

Each attendee received handouts. Dave reviewed the idea of the watershed plan and how to implement BMPs in the watershed. The first phase of the plan is the watershed characterization. This is the foundation of the present state of the watershed. The main purpose of the plan is to progress from the present state of the watershed to the desired state. The I.O., agricultural, technical, financial and educational committees are very important to this effort. Educational committee and public participation will provide input to the plan. Fact finders and the technical committees will take part in formulating the watershed characterization. The second phase is the development of the actual plan.

Dave then gave a very informative power point presentation on the Cayuga Lake Watershed.

This Ag. Committee needs to devise strategies for watershed restoration and protection which will aid in the development of the final watershed management plan. The plan should be revised every 1-2 years. It should be a “working document”, or “the strategy”

EPA #319 and #404 money will fund the development of the plan. Dave feels that even while the plan is being written, implementation can still be done. Some of the concerns in the watershed are septic and municipal sewage,
agricultural runoff, stormwater runoff, spills, and industrial cooling water to name a few. He noted that during the last 15 years there have been over 500 spills within the watershed boundaries. The plan will describe the numerous ways in which the watershed is used. The southern tributaries capture approximately 50% of the flow into Cayuga Lake. Approximately 140 tributaries enter the lake.

Some processes that can be utilized to improve water quality in the watershed are, water quality monitoring, agricultural support, the use of permits/ordinances, stormwater management, and septic system management.

Craig noted that with respect to phosphorus levels, the Ithaca sewage treatment plant is being renovated with new technology. The southern end of Cayuga Lake has the most serious problem with phosphorus levels.

  1. Future Meetings
Those present at this meeting should review the characterization and please bring comments and/or suggestions to the next meeting.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 12 at 11:00 AM at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Willow Ave, Ithaca.

The meeting adjourned at 12:05 PM.


Sherry Forgash
Tompkins Co. SWCD

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