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!