Written by Jacob Welch, President of Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
Our precious Seneca Lake unselfishly provides incredible sunsets, scenic hillside views, boating, fishing, wine tasting and a host of other great recreational activities. It has been a special safe haven in what can sometimes be a very crazy and scary world. The important thing to keep in mind is that what we oftentimes take for granted, can vanish quickly. Thus, we must not fail in our duty to preserve such a treasure, not just for ourselves but for future generations.
What are the threats to our lake and how can they be overcome? Pure Waters has been around for over 30 years focused on just that. Those who started our organization embarked on stream sampling. In doing so, they hoped their data would lead others to act conscientiously. In turn, our lake would be preserved. If it were but that simple!
The past 30 years has brought about increased agriculture, more people using the lake, higher temperatures and more violent storms tied to climate change. These powerful forces threaten to change our pristine lake, choking it with weeds and feeding the growth of poisonous algal blooms. In fact, this is beginning already.
Pure Waters has taken active steps to combat these threats. While we still have our valued stream sampling, we have also promulgated a HABs detection and reporting system that is second to none. Furthermore, in this past year we have:
*Donated $5000 for an engineering study to determine if old canal beds along the Keuka Outlet can be used as retention areas to reduce sediment flowing into the lake.
*Provided some $35,000 to Soil and Water Conservation Districts around the lake to (a) implement cover crops (b) stabilize streams and (c) create retention ponds. This is all a part of keeping phosphates and nitrates, that instill weed growth and algal blooms, out of Seneca.
The above Pure Waters monies were matched by State or private groups, sometimes many- fold. Doing this really catapults the impact of your financial contributions to our organization.
In other big news, and after three years of hard work, the combined Seneca- Keuka 9-Element Watershed Plan should be approved by the DEC sometime this summer. As I have told you before, the initial $50,000 used for establishing the Nine Element plan came from (you guessed it) Pure Waters. This lake-wide scientific study should open the door for large scale grants we desperately need to preserve our lake and its watershed.
I mention all this to let you know you have a lake association that is both highly active and widely respected. In order to keep this going we critically need help from folks such as yourself. Bottom line: without strong membership numbers we, as a strictly private charity, cannot do anything to effectively help the lake, let alone achieve the higher necessary levels of lake protection we have taken on in these past years.
If you already have a Pure Waters membership, please make sure to renew it. Some of you have been members for decades and we truly appreciate your steadfast help. If you are not a member and care about preserving Seneca Lake, please sign up and realize the many benefits of membership for the next year. Your membership will entitle you to (a) lower admission at some of our entertaining yearly events (b) being regularly kept abreast of lake threats and our efforts to remediate them via our newsletter and (c) feeling you have helped keep this lake from falling into ruin as has happened elsewhere. You may also be interested in our plan to set up a system of phone alerts letting you know about high water, flood risk, and HAB alerts around the lake. This app will be free to all those with an active membership in our organization. (While we have been around a long time, we also pride ourselves in being on the cutting edge.)
Please support Seneca Lake by renewing your membership or by becoming a member today. Some suggested membership categories are listed below. Every dollar provided helps to keep Seneca Lake the special place it is for us all. Let's unite, come together, and Preserve, Protect, and Promote Seneca Lake!
The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and the Finger Lakes Institute are teaming up with the National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake this year to conduct a study to better understand the health of the fishery in Seneca Lake. The Lake Trout Derby will begin on Saturday, May 28th at 6:30am and end Monday, May 30th around 12:00pm. Awards start at 3:00pm at Stivers Marina!
Researchers from the Finger Lakes Institute will collect samples from approximately 50 Lake Trout brought to the weigh stations at both Clute Park in Watkins Glen and Stivers Marina in Geneva. This is where we need Trout Derby participant’s help!
Our study to understanding the health of the fishery in Seneca Lake will only be as successful as the fisherman who supply our specimen! We are specifically in need of Lake Trout, both large and small. Will you help us with this study? If so, bring your fish to the weigh stations at Clute Park or Stivers Marina any day and time during the Derby.
The Finger Lakes Institute, Seneca Pure Waters, Finger Lakes Compost and the Lake Trout Derby Board thank you for your support in learning more about the health of our lake!
Please reach out to Kaitlin@senecalake.org with any questions.
Written by Frank DiOrio
Greetings Pure Waters volunteers! We hope everyone is getting ready for another great summer on Seneca Lake. The purpose of this note is to reach out to our over 200 volunteers to see if there is interest in doing a little bit more to support our Pure Waters mission to preserve and protect Seneca Lake. First, let us provide some background:
At this point, we expect you are wondering where we need the most help today. Although we can use all types of talent and help, the following list summarizes a our most critical needs:
If you read this note and have skills and interests that you feel are not an exact match with any of the above areas, no problem, we have something for everyone!! We need both in the water and out of the water talent!
Please take a minute to learn more. You can do one or all of the following:
Thank you in advance for your current volunteer efforts. You are the bedrock of our organization and we could not thank you enough. We are hopeful you are willing to do just a little bit more to help us preserve and protect our beautiful lake. Enjoy the nice weather that has finally arrived and we look forward to hearing back from you!
Written by Ron Klinczar
The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association announces a first round of awards for its newly formed Sediment, Nutrient, and Pollution Reduction Program (SNPR). Four projects around the lake have been designated for funding to County Soil and Water Conservation districts:
The funds will be used to allow these projects to be constructed over the next 12 months. Pure Waters is excited to partner with these SWCD’s, who have a charter to protect the lands and waters of the Seneca Lake watershed. When implemented, the projects are expected to reduce up to four hundred tons of sediments from entering Seneca Lake annually. Our funds are being matched with other outside funds and contributions of labor and equipment, to magnify their impact to improving the lake.
The SNPR program, launched last year, has a specific focus on reducing sediment and nutrients that negatively impact the water quality of Seneca Lake and its tributaries through financial assistance. The Seneca Lake watershed’s various land uses all contribute to the sediment and nutrient loading of the Lake, impacting the abundance of harmful algal blooms, nuisance weed growth, and altering the lake's available resources for aquatic life, among other things.
Initially, the program contributed $5000 to facilitate a $30,000 engineering study of the Keuka Outlet, which is now underway, with a plan to reconnect nearby canal beds which serve as wetlands and redirect high volume storm water there. The Keuka Outlet project is led by the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization, and partners include the Friends of the Outlet, Town of Geneva, and Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District, along with the Seneca Pure Waters' SNPR program.
These awards were designated despite the Association receiving notice of one of the SNPR’s founders passing last month, Mr. Rich Adams. Mr. Adams brought over 35 years’ experience with the Pennsylvania DEP to Pure Waters and was instrumental in advancing its cause.
Please visit www.senecalake.org/donate to give to this program, where you can specify your donation as a matching gift. Donations made this spring and summer will be allocated to watershed improvement projects in the second half of 2022. Please consider donating and stay up to date on SNPR program by visiting www.senecalake.org/snpr
Written by Maura Toole
May is Lake Friendly Living Awareness month with many events to learn and apply Lake Friendly Living practices. It is not too late to register for events at www.flrwa.org/lake-friendly-living. Events that have already taken place are taped and available on the website. This year’s theme is Lake Friendly Living for Watershed resiliency which underscores the importance of protecting our lakes given the current climate conditions of higher temperatures and increased heavy precipitation.
Please consider taking the pledge to adopt practices around your home that have short term and long-term benefits for Seneca Lake by reducing pollutants and minimizing runoff. Learn more at https://senecalake.org/LFLPledge
Have a listen to this interview with FLX Morning and Maura Toole about Lake Friendly Living Awareness Month!
5622 M Toole Lake Friendly Living Awareness Month.mp3
Written by Dan Corbett, Seneca Pure Waters Board Member
We are sad to share the news that Mary Rose, active community member and Pure Waters' volunteer, has passed away. Mary has been a very active volunteer and leader in the Pure Waters family for many years. She was a true champion for the health of our lake and was unselfish in her efforts to make an impact.
I first met Mary at the inaugural stream sampling training, in 2014. She had corralled friends and relatives to participate and become the core for the Big Stream team. Mary stepped right up to be the team leader for that area and has been one of the most active and vocal leaders for Pure Waters in the years since. Mary was also pivotal to our continued strong relationship with the Tripp foundation, which has been a key partner of our efforts over the years.
Our condolences go out to her family and many friends. She will be missed by many.
Pictured above, Mary Rose and Dan Corbett collecting stream data for the Seneca Pure Waters Stream Monitoring program.
Written by Kaitlin Fello
Spring is here and planning for work to protect Seneca Lake is in the offing! The regional Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program, housed at the Finger Lakes Institute, is now kicking off their Macrophyte Survey Program for the summer season of 2022.
Seneca Lake Pure Waters is partnering with this effort to solicit volunteers that will be trained to take bi-weekly samples of aquatic weeds at a sampling site of their choosing. The more volunteers we have around Seneca Lake, the better we can identify any invasive species of concern and take appropriate and swift action!
Two invasive species of primary concern are Hydrilla and Starry Stonewort. Hydrilla has been present in Cayuga Lake for a number of years, where multi-million dollar efforts have been ongoing in an attempt to eradicate it. Starry Stonewort is present in Keuka Lake where efforts are ongoing in an attempt to manage the population there.
If you have an interest to learn more about the aquatic weeds in your lake and help the effort to control the spread of invasive species, please follow the link below to sign up today. This will get you signed up for training and materials that will allow you to participate in this important program. We'd also appreciate an email response to Seneca Lake Pure Waters so that we're aware of participants on Seneca Lake and can assist the FLI folks in communications and coordination.
Lake Friendly Living Tip for March '22
Household Waste, or HHW, includes stuff we use every day around the house, like batteries, cleaners, paint, and solvents. Don’t throw them in the trash. Don’t pour them down the sink. Don’t flush them down the toilet. And most important, don’t dump them in the yard, stream or lake. These are highly toxic chemicals that sewage treatment plants often can’t completely filter out. Improper disposal of contaminates can poison groundwater and harm plants and animals.
The good news is your County of residence likely offers drop off events typically scheduled between April and October. Check these links to learn about your county activities including time and place, how to register and what types of wastes can be dropped off. Note, you may need to show proof of residence.
607-734-4453 ext. 203
Seneca Lake Pure Waters’ SNPR continues to advance our new program to aid in the implementation of projects to reduce sediments, nutrients, and pollutants that enter Seneca Lake from within the watershed. Having set aside funds for this purpose, SNPR is prepared to take action this spring!
On February 8, the SNPR team arranged a zoom meeting with County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) to explain our program and request project proposals from them. Five Counties within the Seneca Lake watershed were invited to the call, including Ontario, Yates, Schuyler, Seneca, and Chemung County SWCD’s.
Since this partnership meeting, Pure Waters has received several proposals for projects that require matching funding to be constructed. We expect more project proposals to be submitted, and we have asked the SWCD’s for all proposals by the end of March. These projects can include stormwater retention ponds, streambank stabilization, planting of cover crops, stream buffers and plantings, ditch improvements, and research projects that meet the pollution reduction goals of Pure Waters. In April, projects will be evaluated, and we will select those that best meet the criteria that Pure Waters has established to protect the lake. Key criteria include:
• Does the project align with Pure Waters mission?
• Would the expenditure be multiplied by being a matching fund?
• Does the project strengthen our partnership?
• Are the risks of the project minimal?
• Is the project timing reasonable?[SLPW1]
As early as May 2022, we will be announcing the projects that will be funded by SNRP in the upcoming year.
Most of these projects are proposed to be constructed this year if fully funded, so it is likely we can celebrate completed projects by this fall. This is only the first round of project selection, and we expect to award projects year around, as further proposals are received. Pure Waters will continually fundraise for these projects, and your donated dollars will directly affect the water quality of Seneca Lake. We are excited for the opportunity that SNPR can become a program that continues to help improve the lake well into the future, and we hope you will join us in this effort!
LEARN MORE about SNPR
Donate to our 1:1 Matching Fund and see your dollars put to work as early as this summer!
Keep up with Pure Waters:
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
P.O. Box 247
Geneva, NY 14456