Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan
Intermunicipal Organization (IO) Meeting

6/30/99, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
SENECA FALLS TOWN HALL

Minutes

Attendees:

Ken Zabriskie (Village of Aurora)-R*
John Sipos (Towns of Varick and Covert)-R*
Pat Morrell (Town of Fayette)-R*
Chuck Howell (Town of Scipio)-R*
Dan Winch (Tompkins County)-R*
Krys Cail (Town of Ulysses)-R*
Deb Grantham (Town of Dryden)-R*
Jerry Codner (Town of Lansing)-RA*
Sharon Anderson (Tompkins Co.)-RA*
Steve Eidt (NYS DEC Region 7)
Steve Mulchahey (Citizen/Brooktondale)
Sarah Davidson (Cornell PEC/CFE)
Peter Shuster (Seneca Co. Farm Bureau)
Karen Edelstein (Finger Lakes Land Trust)
Susan Boutros (Env. Assoc. Ltd.)
Kevin Millington (NYS DOS)
Kathy Bertuch (CNY RPDB)
Edward Ide (Town of Aurelius)-R*
David Morehouse (Town of Ledyard)-R*
Ronald Erickson (Village of Cayuga)-R*
Jim Young (Town of Fleming)-R*
Carolyn Grigorov (Town of Ithaca)-R*
Jeffrey Warrick (Town of Seneca Falls)-R*
Sylvia Hurlbut (Town of Ledyard)-RA*
Dooley Kiefer (Village of Cayuga Hts.)-RA*
Craig Schutt (Tompkins Co. SWCD)
Fern deLise (Citizen/Brooktondale)
Linda Wagenet (Cornell Center for the Env.)
Bobby Cochran (Cornell PEC/CFE)
Jim Malyj (Seneca Co. SWCD)
Rolf Penman (Citizen/Ithaca)
Susan Pratt (Assemblyman Luster’s Ofc.)
Pam O’Malley (Central NY Regional Planning)

R = designated representative for municipality RA = designated alternate rep. for municipality
*Municipality has signed and submitted the "Call For Cooperation" (intermunicipal agreement)

I. Welcome, Meeting Purpose, Outcome, Introductions, Approval of Minutes: Meeting began at 7:00 PM. Approval of minutes moved by D. Winch. Seconded by E. Ide. Two needed corrections were pointed out. The first correction was requested by D. Kiefer. Item IV, 1st paragraph, should note the statement made by D. Kiefer as follows: D. Kiefer requested, on behalf of the Village of Cayuga Heights, removal of the inaccurate characterization of the Village’s wastewater treatment plant in the narrative for project #15. The 2nd correction pertained to Item IV, 3rd paragraph, 2nd line as follows: K. Cail (not C. Grigorov) seconded. Vote taken to approve minutes with noted corrections. All voted in favor. Motion carried.

II. Lingering Issues Related to 1st-Year Interim Recommendations: S. Hurlbut explained that Dave Zorn’s source water assessment pre-proposal was submitted to EPA. If EPA requests a full proposal, the Technical Committee will review it prior to the IO before its submittal.

S. Hurlbut stated that the Technical Committee had reviewed the ranking methods of totaling versus averaging and recommended that the averaging method was good. D. Zorn re-ranked the 18 projects using the averaging method. The revised ranking was handed out. It shifts the order of a few projects: Project 18 moved up two spaces in the ranking, and the order of Projects 4 and 17 was reversed. S. Hurlbut asked for a motion to adopt the averaging method for use in ranking interim recommendations. D. Morehouse moved. J. Sipos seconded. All voted in favor. Motion carried. S. Hurlbut requested a motion to adopt the revised project ranking using the averaging method for the 1st-year interim recommendations list. K. Zabriskie moved. D. Morehouse seconded. All voted in favor. Motion carried.

S. Hurlbut asked how the IO wants to handle random requests for support letters that may be received over the course of the year (outside the interim recommendations process). Several suggestions were made but no agreements could be reached. Suggestions included: 1) issuing a call for proposals every 3 months and running through the criteria to rank requests received (D. Grantham); 2) having Technical Committee review and rank only during the interim recommendations development period (D. Morehouse); 3) just have the IO review requests as they come in, and endorse or not endorse, no need to rank (D. Kiefer). Regardless, it was stated that there needs to be consistency in how requests are reviewed and how endorsements are doled out.

D. Winch moved that the IO turn the issue over to the Technical Committee to develop and recommend to the IO a method and timing for rating projects specifically pertaining to calls for projects, timing of calls for projects, a system for rating them and who would do it. D. Grantham seconded. K. Cail likes the idea of having a formal structure as to when projects are reviewed by the IO because then people have deadlines. L. Wagenet pointed out that a different question was being answered than was actually asked. Sometimes people in the watershed may just be looking (quickly) for a letter of support for an application they are submitting for funding for various types of projects and may ask the IO for a support letter – a complete ranking process may not be appropriate for these types of requests. D. Morehouse stated that there needs to be a means to bring in groups like 4H and public clubs to participate and cited his example for an IO organizational structure which includes technical and citizen advisory committees. P. O’Malley stated that the IO Technical and Education Committees are open to participation from anyone. D. Morehouse and J. Sipos were uncomfortable to learn that the Technical Committee could include people without technical expertise. Regardless, P. O’Malley stated that, to date, membership for these Committees has been open. Motion to call the question. Vote taken. All voted in favor. Motion carried.

S. Hurlbut pointed out that the Technical Committee’s primary responsibility is to work on the preliminary watershed characterization and the plan, and that the Committee will decide how much time it is able to devote to this issue and requests for endorsement.

III. Land Use, Water Quality and Land Use Tools to Protect Water Quality: Kevin Millington of NYS DOS presented. The watershed characterization that’s being prepared now will identify problems, and the development of recommendations is the next step. Developing recommendations will involve looking at solutions that are structural (e.g., streambank restoration), voluntary (e.g., education programs), and institutional (e.g., land use controls and practices). He emphasized the connection between land use/development and water quality. It is impossible to protect water quality without addressing land use – e.g., stormwater carries pollutants into the lake; improperly designed drainage can aggravate sedimentation and erosion problems; increases in amount of impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, roofs) can increase flooding and reduce recharge to groundwater. Managing the effects runoff will be critical to the management strategy.

Municipalities are the primary entity in NYS who control land use. There are many options available to communities to do this, including: 1) erosion and sedimentation control ordinances (DEC has a model that can be used); 2) site plan review (DOS has models for this) which can be self-standing or part of a larger ordinance; 3) zoning (including overlay zones and performance standards), the most common land use control method used by municipalities; and 4) subdivision regulations. Handouts were available on these and other control methods.

K. Millington asked those present what they saw as issues related to development. J. Sipos noted that his house is in a zoned area (historic) and that it hasn’t been a problem. He likes that it has protected the character of his area and as such doesn’t mind having to make requests to do various things with his property. It was stated that zoning for historic preservation is different than for protection of water quality, but that the tools you can use are the same. D. Winch stated that if we ever expect to get the watershed plan approved it cannot threaten the agricultural community. He inquired whether there is a watershed plan in existence that has been accepted by the ag community. J. Young noted how the Cayuga County Farm Bureau has been working with farmers on nutrient management plans for the past 5 years and it’s becoming widespread. Upcoming (CAFO) regulations will also force the issue. F. deLise noted how Caroline has no zoning and feels fine with that – but they do have some land use controls in place. She liked the idea of requiring "performance standards" outside of formal zoning laws because it allows people to do what they want with the land, but simply requires them to control the impact of their action.

P. Morrell asked that if these are tools for use by municipalities, how does a group like the IO – which only has 50% of the watershed municipalities on it – have an effect on getting municipalities to implement land use controls? How can the overall effort be successful given that? S. Hurlbut stated that this stage of the IO is the beginning of cooperation – grassroots efforts take a long time. Hopefully down the road more municipalities will join, and IO members need to try and bring in more municipalities. Once the watershed characterization is done and the facts are in, the IO needs to work with the municipalities that haven’t joined to get them interested in solving problems affecting members as well as non-members. The Keuka Lake Watershed program was discussed as an example of intermunicipal cooperation where all municipalities have adopted the same local regulations and have jointly hired a watershed manager to enforce them – but it was acknowledged that it took a long time to get them to that point. With the huge size of the Cayuga Lake Watershed, it will be a lengthy process to foster such cooperation.

K. Cail commented that it is also the purpose of the Education Committee to help the program along through education and awareness of problems and solutions – for example, while it may not be possible to go into a community without zoning and successfully promote its initiation, it may be possible to get them to pass erosion and sedimentation controls. S. Eidt noted that sometimes municipalities who didn’t want zoning turn to it when something happens in their community that they don’t like but that SEQR can’t prevent. SEQR was designed to be a basis for preventing environmental problems, but it can’t prevent everything. J. Codner stated that regulations can be adopted, but without an adequate enforcement mechanism regulations aren’t necessarily effective. S. Eidt agreed that enforcement is critical. There must be committed local enforcement, e.g., through code enforcement officers.

D. Kiefer mentioned that 25 years ago a voluntary organization distributed dye packets to properties around the lake to test their private wastewater systems and also to educate people about the connection of those systems to the lake. She inquired if the IO might consider sponsoring something like this again? It could even be used as an information gathering task. K. Zabriskie recalled that there were many people who got the packets that didn’t use them.

J. Young wanted to know which communities in the watershed don’t have zoning or some sort of controls for land use. Fleming does. Most municipalities present did, but the project is investigating the status and adequacy of land use controls and programs to address nonpoint source pollution in the watershed.

IV. Proposals for 3rd-Year Funding for the Cayuga Lake Watershed Management Plan Project: Proposals for continued funding of the Watershed Management Plan are due to NYS DOS on 8/19/99. Activities to be applied for include 3rd-year tasks referenced in the 1st- and 2nd-year DOS contracts with Ledyard (i.e., IO support, draft plan completion and plan finalization, public participation, education, project administration). P. O’Malley handed out the scope of services from the 2nd-year DOS contract with the Town of Ledyard – which also identifies the 3rd-year activities that DOS expects. Plus, upon DOS suggestion, the 3rd-year application will include activities to strengthen the planning program: 1) GIS mapping of soils and land use; 2) tributary prioritization of streambank and roadbank erosion and sedimentation problems (database development, field inventory, GIS assessment) plus design of appropriate physical improvements for 3 priority corridors for 2nd-year interim implementation recommendation development; 3) supplementation of education/outreach/public participation activities (i.e., developing of education and outreach materials, holding subwatershed information meetings, initiating a watershed-wide Home-A-Syst program, conducting a watershed resident survey). P. O’Malley handed out a draft of the application she is developing for 3rd-year and supplemental activities. She will continue developing the proposal and have a more detailed version available for IO review and comment at the next IO meeting. D. Morehouse requested that the proposal be available to IO members for review prior to the next IO meeting.

V. Project Status and Committee Reports: S. Anderson described the activities to date for the Education/Outreach/Public Participation Committee. The initial goal for the Committee is to organize and hold the 2nd public participation meeting to collect public comment on the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization. She made reference to the Committee’s questionnaire (on yellow paper) that was distributed in the last IO mailing. Everyone is encouraged to complete it and return it to her. She expects that long-term work of the Committee will be specific to particular topics. The 2nd public participation meeting will be held in 3 locations around the watershed. Currently known sites are a Seneca Falls location on the evening of 10/19, and at Wells College on the evening of 10/21. A Trumansburg-area location is being identified. J. Codner suggested that the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization and Management Plan be available on the web in a "searchable" format (not just scanned in). S. Anderson stated that was the intention. S. Hurlbut stated that during the comment period, the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization will go to each municipality and IO member, as well as be placed at various libraries throughout the watershed. K. Millington has agreed that the DOS will make 200 copies of the draft to help with copying costs. The Committee is still looking for members from the northwestern portion of the watershed to broaden its perspective. D. Grantham stated that the Committee is talking about ways to get public input beyond the public participation meetings. Responses to the questionnaire that was recently distributed will help them do better outreach. She mentioned getting county water quality coordinating committees to co-host the public participation meetings to help local attention.

P. O’Malley provided a handout about Technical Committee activities. She requested that everyone retain their copies for future reference and bring them to IO meetings to reduce the need for repeated copying. The handout included a Committee update, minutes from its last meeting and associated attachments such as an updated draft outline of the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization (DPWC), list of initial mapping needs, list of potential sources of contamination that will be addressed, outline for the limnology chapter being developed by EcoLogic (the rest of the DPWC is being assembled by D. Zorn), and list of reference materials obtained to date by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (though EcoLogic has more which will be integrated into the final list) that are being reviewed to prepare the DPWC. If anyone has any questions, call D. Zorn.

VI.  Set Date and Agenda for Next IO Meeting: S. Hurlbut referenced the "Schedule of Activities for Remainder of 1999" handout, which shows set activity deadlines and schedules, as well as proposed IO meeting dates. She pointed out that because the August IO meeting occurs before the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization is done, it won’t be discussed until the September and October IO meetings. S. Hurlbut asked for a motion to accept the schedule of 1999 activities. J. Sipos moved, C. Grigorov seconded. All voted in favor. It was suggested that there be consistency in the terminology referencing the Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization. After discussion, it was decided that the draft will be called the "Draft Preliminary Watershed Characterization" and the final (after public comment has been incorporated) will be called the "Preliminary Watershed Characterization". It was also pointed out that this current phase of development of the watershed characterization is being called "preliminary" because it’s not intended to have all of the answers – it will identify what we know at this time and what we still need to know. By the time the full Watershed Management Plan is done it’ll have a "Watershed Characterization" which will be more complete (though there may still be some recommendations for more research on unanswered questions).

K. Cail asked how information pertaining to the area that used to be the Seneca Army Depot is being obtained. S. Eidt and L. Wagenet said it had not yet been addressed by the Technical Committee. P. Morrell stated that he thinks that area drains to the Seneca Lake Watershed. J. Malyj added that while none goes directly into the Cayuga Lake Watershed, a small portion goes into the Seneca-Cayuga Canal.

The next IO meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 28, 1999 at 7:00 P.M. in Ledyard. The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

SUMMARY OF VOTES

ITEM OUTCOME
Vote to accept 5/26/99 IO meeting minutes with two corrections. Carried (unanimously)
Vote to adopt the averaging method for use in ranking interim recommendations. Carried (unanimously)
Vote to adopt the revised project ranking using the averaging method for the 1st-year interim recommendations list. Carried (unanimously)
Vote that the Technical Committee develop and recommend to the IO a method and timing for rating projects, specifically pertaining to calls for projects, timing of calls for projects, a system for rating them and who would do it Carried (unanimously)
Vote to accept the schedule of 1999 activities. Carried (unanimously)


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