SLPWA recently organized a Seneca Lake Water Quality Summit, held on March 24, 2018 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The event was well-attended, with more than 100 registered attendees filling the library auditorium. The summit included presenters from several organizations including SLPWA, NY DEC, Finger Lakes Institute, the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization, and the Ontario County Soil and Water District. Presentations were as follows:
• Kelly Coughlin, a team leader for SLPWA’s water-quality monitoring, presented the group’s findings and initiatives.
• Stephen Penningroth, executive director of Community Science Institute, provided a summary of stream monitoring results.
• SLPWA team leaders Ed Przybylowicz and Frank DiOrio discussed shoreline monitoring for harmful algal blooms (HABs) and plans for 2018.
• HWS professor John Halfman, a research scientist for the Finger Lake Institute, presented his research on the Finger Lakes.
• Lewis McCaffrey, a research scientist for the DEC’s Finger Lakes Water Hub, outlined actions being taken to improve lake health statewide and provided a historical comparison of Seneca Lake’s water quality.
• Aimee Clinkhammer, watershed coordinator of the Water Hub, presented an overview of the watershed planning process and necessary steps to a 9 Element Management Plan.
• Geneva Town Supervisor Mark Venuti offered an overview and update on the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.
• SLPWA representative Jacob Fox provided information on funding opportunities for municipalities to utilize green infrastructure to control stormwater runoff.
• Tucker Kautz of the Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District discussed agricultural environmental management programs.
Presentations were followed by a lively panel discussion with the presenters, with questions from the audience on topics including the risks to swimmers and lake residents of HABs blooms and wastewater discharges, the status of county-level septic tank inspection programs, controlling nutrient levels in Seneca Lake, and impacts of tributary streams on Lake water quality.