NEWS RELEASE

Municipalities Sought to Participate/Oversee
Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan Project

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Municipalities are being sought to participate in the development and implementation of a management plan for the Cayuga Lake Watershed. Interested towns, villages, cities, and counties are encouraged to join the project’s Intermunicipal Organization (IO) – the oversight body recently formed to create, modify, and implement the watershed management plan. The IO allows local governments in the watershed to work together for the purposes of accessing dollars, cost savings, cost sharing, and efficiency of activities among municipalities, while also providing direction for the project staff.

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project seeks to identify the present conditions of the Lake and its more than 700 square mile, six-county (Cayuga, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins) watershed, and determine its desired state. Based on the input and vision of those that live and work in the watershed, the management plan will identify problems, priorities and recommend solutions. Having an approved watershed plan in place will give the watershed a competitive edge in vying for implementation dollars from various funding programs, including the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act.

There are 50 municipalities (counties, towns, villages and cities) in the watershed. So far, approximately 30 percent of the watershed’s municipalities have participated in IO start-up activities. "We are encouraged and pleased by the number of municipalities that have already come to the table, but recognize the need to draw in many more to ensure that the plan is locally driven and reflective of municipal interests throughout the watershed." said Pamela O’Malley of the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, the agency in charge of the project administration.

"The Town of Ledyard is sponsoring this project because we know it must come from the grassroots level to work," said Sylvia Hurlbut, Supervisor for the Town of Ledyard in Cayuga County. "We are working hard to rally all of the municipalities to join in."

The IO has met monthly since October 1998, and its next meeting is scheduled for January 27, 1999 at 7:00 P.M. in Ithaca at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. In addition to the IO, other interested (non-municipal) parties are encouraged to participate in the planning process through avenues such as membership on the IO advisory committees, the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, and in public participation forums. For more information on the 1/27/99 IO meeting and/or on becoming involved with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project, please contact Pamela O’Malley at (315) 422-8276 or via email at kbertuch@cnyrpdb.org

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project is being funded by the NYS Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. The project is being administered by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. Additional staff providing technical and educational assistance to the watershed planning project also includes: Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County and the Cayuga Nature Center.

The CNY RPDB is a four-county agency jointly organized in 1966 by the legislative bodies of Cayuga, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties. The Board is comprised of local elected officials, community leaders, business and industry representatives, citizen representatives, and members of minority groups. The Board’s mandate is to address the compelling regional issues affecting the quality of life in the Central New York community. CNY RPDB programs include: Economic Development; Land Use and Transportation; Environmental and Water Resources Management; and Regional Information Services.

*****


4 March 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wayne A. Westervelt
(315) 422-8276

 Public is Invited to Help Define Water Quality Issues
of Importance at Cayuga Lake Watershed Meeting

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan’s Intermunicipal Organization (IO) will be held on March 24th from 7:00-9:00 P.M. at the Seneca Falls Town Offices, 10 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, New York. Refreshments start at 6:30 P.M.

While previous IO meetings have focused on defining the mission and structure of the IO, the March 24th meeting will focus on water quality issues. Specifically, it will be a facilitated discussion focused on identifying municipal perceptions of water quality issues facing the watershed.

The IO is encouraging everyone – not just municipalities – with an interest and/or input about water quality issues in the watershed to attend and share their views. "To be successful and implemented, the Plan must reflect the views and desires of the people in the watershed," stated Pamela O’Malley of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) – the project administrator of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management project.

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project seeks to identify the present conditions of the Lake and its more than 700 square mile, six-county (Cayuga, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins) watershed, and determine its desired state. Based on the input and vision of those that live and work in the watershed, the management plan will identify problems, priorities and recommend solutions. Having an approved watershed plan in place will give the watershed a competitive edge in vying for implementation dollars from various funding programs, including the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act.

For more information about the meeting, the project, or the IO, contact Pamela O’Malley of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board at (315) 422-8276 or via email at kbertuch@cnyrpdb.org. Or visit the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan Project website at: www.gflrpc.org/cayuga.htm.

******


13 April 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wayne A. Westervelt
(315) 422-8276

Cayuga Lake Meeting to Identify Interim Projects/Funding
That Will Benefit Water Quality Efforts in the Watershed

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan’s Intermunicipal Organization (IO) will be held on April 28th from 7:00-9:00 P.M. at the Ledyard Town Hall, 1105 Poplar Ridge Road, Aurora, New York. Refreshments start at 6:30 P.M.

The 4/28 meeting will focus on providing input to a draft interim list of implementation recommendations. The NYS Department of State, the primary funding entity for the effort, is requiring that interim lists of implementation recommendations for watershed protection be developed during the 1st and 2nd years of the project. The 1st-year list is being prepared through communication with county water quality coordinating committees, the IO’s Technical Committee and the IO. The intention is to identify interim projects that will benefit water quality efforts in the watershed for which funds could be applied in upcoming funding cycles of various programs – rather than waiting until the end of the project to present a set of final recommendations, thereby missing interim funding opportunities.

The April 28th meeting will also provide opportunity for discussion and comment on the water quality issues and visions summary from the March IO meeting, as well as a determination of follow-up steps. The March IO meeting was well attended and successful – with approximately 50 participants and the largest municipal attendance for a single IO meeting (21 out of 50) to date. Overall, sixty percent of municipalities have participated in IO meetings to date.

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan project seeks to identify the present conditions of the Lake and its more than 700 square mile, six-county (Cayuga, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins) watershed, and determine its desired state. Based on the input and vision of those that live and work in the watershed, the management plan will identify problems and priorities, and recommend solutions.

For more information about the meeting, the project, or the IO, contact Pamela O’Malley of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board at (315) 422-8276 or via email at kbertuch@cnyrpdb.org. Or visit the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan Project website at: www.gflrpc.org/cayuga.htm.

******


"Cayuga Lake Watershed--A local resource soon to have a plan"

You may not know the precise boundaries that make up this area greater than 700 square miles, but you're probably familiar where it drains to--Cayuga Lake--the centerpiece of the Finger Lakes. You may also be aware it is the longest and widest of all the Finger Lakes. There's no doubt that Cayuga Lake is a tremendous local resource.

However, these days people aren't just talking about the lake. They're talking about the watershed.

Simply stated, a watershed is the total area of land that drains into a stream, river, or in this case--a lake. But knowing a watershed, including its cultural, economic, agricultural, and environmental characteristics and activities is far from simple. It's not simple, but it is vitally important in order to fully understand what is (or is not) happening to Cayuga Lake, or any lake for that matter. For most often, the condition of the lake is simply a reflection of what's happening in its watershed.

That's why numerous Finger Lakes have developed, or are in the process of developing, watershed management plans. Cayuga Lake is the latest to do so. The challenge with any watershed approach, including the Cayuga Lake Watershed, is that it involves the input of all communities within the watershed area. The Cayuga Lake Watershed encompasses a land area of approximately 461,000 acres, including 6 counties, 44 towns, villages and cities, and over 120,000 residents.

Perhaps that is why Cayuga Lake is one of the last Finger Lakes to tackle this difficult, but much needed task. In the past, most water quality problems were traced to the most obvious cause--point source pollution. This means the problem could be traced to a specific location or disposal site.

However, water quality problems from non-point sources are more difficult to isolate. These sources are often hard to pinpoint and more complicated to measure because this type of pollution results from a wide variety of activities over a wide area. For example, lawn chemicals, septic systems, runoff from parking lots and streets, animal wastes, and agricultural practices are examples of non-point source pollution.

The water at the top of the hill may be "clean", but as it flows over the land it carries sediments and other materials with it. The closer it gets to the lake and the more land it flows over, the more pollutants it collects and carries.

Non-point source pollution also affects the quality of our groundwater. Rainwater or melted snow that does not flow over the land seeps into the ground and becomes groundwater. And although we can't see it, groundwater is connected to rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and surface water in low-lying areas.

In 1998, the town of Ledyard received an Environmental Protection Fund Grant (via the NYS Department of State Division of Coastal Resources and Waterfront Revitalization) to initiate the planning process and comprehensively address non-point source issues in the Cayuga Lake Watershed. Contrary to what you might think, the purpose of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan is not to develop a set of regulations. Rather, the plan will seek to identify priorities and recommendations for action based on the input of those that live and work in the watershed. Aside from laying out a strategy for protecting the watershed, the plan will also give the area a competitive edge for receiving federal and state grant dollars relating to watershed projects. Here's how the process works:

Management Planning Process

1) Fact Finding

Establish a Intermunicipal Organization (IO).

Develop "State of the Watershed Report" by compiling existing data about water quality, natural resources, land use, and perceptions.

 

2) Recommendations

Analyze information collected.

Identify priority management areas.

Develop a list of management alternatives (suggestions only).

Solicit recommendations from the IO and public.

Negotiate recommendations that all groups can support.

3) Management Plan

Prepare action plan that reflects community priorities and recommendations.

Identify funding sources for plan implementation.

Review and refine the plan regularly to reflect desired changes.

One vitally important piece to this process is gathering input from all the municipalities in the watershed. Ultimately, it is their cooperation that is essential in protecting this shared natural resource. That's why the Cayuga Lake Management Plan Project has initially focused on the development of an Intermunicipal Organization (IO). Specifically, the IO will allow counties, towns, villages, and cities in the watershed to work together for the purpose of accessing dollars, cost savings, cost sharing, and efficiency of activities among the municipalities as they prioritize water quality issues.

To date, approximately half of the watershed's municipalities have sat at the IO table to participate in IO start-up activities, and interest continues to grow. Until now most of the IO meetings have centered on defining the group's structure and mission. Now they will focus on recruiting additional municipalities and determining what members see as important water quality issues in the watershed. In other words, the municipalities in the watershed are now getting their feet wet together. If you live in the Cayuga Lake Watershed you may want to ask if your municipality is one of them.

But you don't have to be a municipality to get involved in the plan's development. Your input is also being encouraged via advisory committees, the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, and through public forums.

For more information, contact Pam O'Malley, Project Administrator at the Central NY Regional Planning & Development Board at (315) 422-8276 or via e-mail at kbertuch@cnyrpdb.org. You can also access information about the project on the Internet at www.glfrpc.org/Cayuga.htm.

March 24 Intermunicipal Organization Meeting

Although voting members of the IO are municipalities, the group is encouraging anyone with an interest in the Cayuga Lake Watershed or water quality issues to participate in its next meeting, as they would like to gather widespread input regarding issues of concern. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 24 at the Seneca Falls Town Offices (10 Fall Street, Seneca Falls), beginning at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be offered at 6:30 p.m.

Values of a Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan

Public:

-Improved waterfront access-Expansion and/or maintenance of water dependent recreation
-Enhancement and/or protection of community character and visual environment
-Protection of public health (e.g. drinking water)
-Watershed-wide communication and coordination

Natural Resources:

Protection, enhancement and/or restoration of outstanding natural areas/resources

-Fish and wildlife habitat
-Wetlands that aid in flood protection, water quality improvement, and habitat preservation
-Scenic areas
-Water quality/water resources
-Fisheries

Economic:

-Leveraging of financial resources for implementation and other activities (such as Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act)
-Generating and/or sustaining economic activity
-Protection of agriculture
-Protection of property values
-Creation of immediate and future jobs
-Support of water dependent commercial and industrial uses
-Attraction of sustainable development
-Contribution to restoration and/or preservation of municipal tax base
-Efficient use of public investments, infrastructure and funds
-Protection of watershed-related tourism and recreation

Cayuga Lake Watershed Network--Similar goals

The watershed planning process is being done in partnership with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, a grassroots organization working for a healthy and sustainable watershed. The Network and the watershed planning efforts are complementary--both having the ultimate goal of protecting the health and well-being of the watershed.

The Network will work with the planning effort on communication, coordination, and information dissemination about the management plan process and its findings. The web site for the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network is http://members.aol.com/rpamrt/clwn/index.htm

Finger Lakes with Watershed Management Plans

Canandaigua (completed)
Skaneateles (completed)
Keuka (in progress)
Conesus (in progress)
Owasco (in progress)
Seneca (in progress)
Cayuga-- first stage (fact finding) initiated in 1998

Cayuga Lake Impairments

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has identified Cayuga Lake and its tributaries as having impairments to water supply, fishing, fish propagation and survival, aesthetics, boating and bathing.

Associated pollutants include nutrients, sediments/silt, oxygen demand, pesticides, thermal changes, water level/flow, pathogens and unknown toxicity.


Return to index


To contact the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.

or email info@cayugawatershed.org

CLW IO 2002