Cayuga Lake Watershed
Science-based Assessment

Jose Lozano [1], Linda Wagenet [2]
Kate Hackett [3]


The watershed approach to natural resources management and environmental compliance requires the involvement of a multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional stakeholders partnership, a sound scientific basis, and a geographically based approach, i.e., focused on a watershed basis.

The environmental projects in New York State are funded through the Clean Air - Clean Water Bond Act and the Environmental Protection Fund. Most funds are allocated to implementation, and the grant proposals are ranked based on the satisfaction of the watershed approach guidelines. Since only a small portion of funds are provided to conduct monitoring studies, a gap of information could exist to formulate sound implementation proposals.

The Science-Based Assessment Initiative proposed here can established a sound multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional partnership that will give the IO the ability to satisfy the watershed approach requirements to formulate successful grant proposals, for example:

A sound scientific basis would be attainable for the IO proposals if the Science-based Assessment Initiative is endorsed by the IO, given the participation of multidisciplinary research teams. Among the institutions that participate in these efforts are the United States Geologic Service, USDA Soil and Water Conservation District, the Counties WRCs, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, several local governments, and among others, the Natural Resources Department and the Center for the Environment, Cornell University.

The results of the watershed approach have been very successful. Some examples are (i) the funding of streambank stabilization of Six Mile Creek ($175,000.00), a Phosphorus source to Cayuga Lake, (ii) the use of the City's land acquisition fund as local share for watershed projects (~$200,000.00 per year), and the funding of the proposal initiated by L. Fabbroni, for the Intermunicipal Sewer project ($7,500,000.00 for 1998). Many more proposals have been submitted for funding, totaling millions dollars. These proposals require a local funding co-share. It is fundamental to obtain the endorsement of these efforts from them IO.

The specific products of the IO endorsement of the Science-based Assessment Initiative are:

1. Directory of local government and academia . The directory will be available to both sectors, and the CLWN. Local government could then have access to specific topics of interest, i.e., fisheries, non-point source management, riparian forest restoration, etc.

2. Designated contacts at the IO, CLWN, and Counties WRC to facilitate the interaction among government, academia, and citizens groups. This facilitated contact will enhance access to specific sources of research information to local government. On the other hand, researchers could also have access to local government.

3. IO/CfE/CLWN/Local government co-sponsored web site to offer universal availability of sound-science networking information. Modeling tools with universal access, water quality and bioassessment data sets, etc.

4. Direct involvement of the IO, County’s WRC, and the CfE to coordinate the academic programs that could be useful to the watershed programs of the IO and the CLWN. (V.R. [4])

5. Directory of resources . This will be a medium-term goal that has as a main objective the compilation of resources form local and federal agencies, for example:

[1] Director, Environmental Laboratories - City of Ithaca [ ]
[2] Center for the Environment, Cornell University [ ]
[3] Tompkins County Planning Department [ ]
[4] V.R. = Volunteers Requested for direct involvement in this effort

Return to index

To contact the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.

or email

CLW IO 2002