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  • 05/19/2022 4:00 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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:

    • Cover Crop Implementation, Schuyler County SWCD, $10,000 award:  The project will provide seed cost to plant two hundred acres of cover crops, reducing fall and winter sediment erosion.
    • Stream Erosion Control, Seneca County SWCD, $9750 award:   The project will install two erosion and sediment control basins adjacent vineyards, reducing sediments that reach the lake.
    • Castle Creek Erosion Control Improvements, Ontario County SWCD, $10,000 award (Pending):  The project will stabilize one hundred feet of Castle Creek streambank in Geneva, reducing lake sediments.
    • Construction of Retention Pond, Schuyler County SWCD, $10,000 award:  The project will install a retention and erosion control pond to reduce sediments that reach the lake.

    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 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

  • 05/19/2022 3:45 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

     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  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

  • 05/19/2022 2:54 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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

  • 05/05/2022 1:06 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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.

  • 05/05/2022 12:54 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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.

  • 05/05/2022 12:24 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Written by Kaitlin Fello

    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.

    County Links:

    Ontario County


    Seneca County     


    Schuylar County


    Yates County


    Chemung County

    607-734-4453 ext. 203

  • 04/11/2022 4:43 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Written by Ron Klinczar

    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!


    Donate to our 1:1 Matching Fund and see your dollars put to work as early as this summer! 

  • 04/01/2022 3:52 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Written by Dan Corbett

     The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is a harmful invasive insect species that is a very real threat to our area. Large populations of SLF are now present in neighboring Pennsylvania and other states where they are causing economic damage. Smaller populations of SLF have been found in other states, including NY where it has been discovered moving towards the Finger Lakes Region. For an updated map of its presence and information on its biology, CLICK HERE.

    SLF has been known to feed on as many as 70 different plant species, including plants that are important to the economy of the Finger Lakes, including grapes, apple, and hops. The impact of SLF on our agriculture could be devastating, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. SLF also feeds on many of our native tree species, including maples and walnuts that could have a negative impact on the Seneca Lake watershed. SLF is capable of living within a wide range of environments, from forests to farm fields to city landscapes. Expect to find this insect near its preferred host tree, the tree of heaven.

    Preventing the spread of SLF is key, and early detection of new populations is critical for control. The Finger Lakes Institutes PRISM folks are now seeking volunteers that are interested in managing SLF traps for this coming season. The below link will take you to a survey and get you tied into this process.

    Sign up to receive a SLF trap for the upcoming season’s monitoring program!

  • 03/26/2022 7:18 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Written by Frank DiOrio

    If you are reading this newsletter and article, we know you enjoy spending time or living on Seneca Lake. We would also expect that you have a keen interest in making sure we can all enjoy Seneca Lake not only today, but for generations to come. This is where Pure Waters comes in. We are a collection of common minded individuals and volunteers committed to preserving and protecting Seneca Lake. This is a huge undertaking and gets bigger every day given the challenges and threats that we face. Can you spare an hour a week or month to pitch in to support this cause? As the saying goes, we have something for everyone. Regardless of your skill set and interest, we could use your help. Before you conclude you are interested or not, please take just two minutes to read about our most urgent areas of need below:

    Invasive Species are a major threat to our lake. As an example, did you know that Starry Stonewort is now threatening Keuka Lake? Did you know there is tens of thousands of dollars currently being spent to harvest this invasive species from the Keuka Lake shorelines? Did you know this invader has arrived in Seneca Lake, and now requires more eyes, hands, and funding to combat its spread? Are you aware that boating and recreation in general could be severely hampered if this pest continues to spread along our shorelines? If you would like to spend an hour or two a month being part of our new Invasive Species Expert Team, please click here. No background knowledge required, just a keen interest in preserving Seneca Lake’s native species.



    Pure Waters, in conjunction with other Finger Lakes Associations, has developed a common sense and practical program for homeowners to follow to help protect our lake. This program touches on garden and lawn practices, stormwater runoff guidance, septic practices and more. Did you ever rake leaves into the lake in the fall? Have you used chemicals on your lawn or planted invasive species in your garden? Be part of this team and learn why these practices are harmful to our lake and ecosystem. You will be amazed at the common-sense practices you and others are not aware of that can make a difference. If you are interested in learning more, click here to visit the Lake Friendly Living webpages and sign up to volunteer here.


    Are you a writer or editor? Would you enjoy helping to write articles about how everyone in the watershed could help save our lake? Could you help Pure Waters design brochures? Do you have skills that could help enhance the Pure Waters website or social media presence? Would you enjoy helping out in this area? If the answer is yes to any or all of the above, please click here to learn more.


    As Pure Waters programs continue to expand, we need more funds to support all our efforts. We are very fortunate to have such a generous community. However, we need assistance planning fundraising campaigns and membership drives so we can reach out to our communities and teach the importance of the association’s work, and the critical need to expand our water quality programs that protect Seneca Lake. We are also looking for volunteers to assist with large donor campaigns that we have planned for this year. If you have interest in this area, please click here to learn more about membership programs, or click here to get started volunteering right away.

    Experience has shown we have an abundance of expertise residing in our watershed. We have teachers, accountants, writers, scientists, marketing experts, administrative assistance, engineers, fundraising experts’ environmental experts and more. Regardless of your area of expertise, Pure Waters needs your support and volunteer help. It might be an hour a week or one a month. The amount of time you can contribute doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are willing to jump in and help preserve the lake for your friends and family for generations. If there are any other areas you feel you may be interested in, please sign up to learn more or to get started volunteering and either Dan Corbett or Frank DiOrio will schedule a call to discuss all the volunteer opportunities. As was mentioned earlier, we have something for everyone. Volunteering with Seneca Pure Waters will have a positive impact on everyone who enjoys Seneca Lake, and all who will continue to enjoy it in the future. Have an impact on your community by signing up to volunteer this spring and summer TODAY!

  • 03/15/2022 4:19 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Written by Rich Adams and Ron Klinczar

    Wetlands. Mother Nature‘s ecological superheroes. They provide unique habitats for all sorts of songbirds, butterflies, important aquatic insects, animals, and specialized plants. Equally as important they are hydraulic sponges that can retain and absorb floodwaters, and release the water slowly, after allowing sediments to settle out. When these functions occur nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen are retained in the wetland and assimilated into plants and substrates.  Nitrates, which are the most abundant form of nitrogen in the aquatic environment, are converted to harmless nitrogen gas which is released into the atmosphere.  As you probably have heard, both phosphorus and nitrates are strongly implicated in the harmful algal blooms and nuisance weed growth plaguing the Finger Lakes, so their capture and conversion by wetlands is important.

    The Keuka Outlet is the stream that carries Keuka Lake waters to Seneca Lake, discharging at Dresden. If you’ve ever hiked or biked the adjacent Keuka Outlet trail (and we highly recommend it), you’ll be traveling on the abandoned canal towpath/railbed. You may notice that the trail bed separates the Keuka Outlet braided stream channels from wetland areas located on the north side of the trail. The Crooked Creek Canal project, which was constructed last century, changed the waterway system and separated these wetlands from the Keuka Outlet. In that era, they functioned to control flows and flooding. Today, they need to be restored to that natural and useful purpose.

    The majority of the flow in the outlet is Keuka Lake’s own water. However, other sources are collected and carried in the stream including urban runoff, the effluent from the Penn Yan Sewage Treatment Plant , and agricultural runoff during high flow conditions. All these sources can contain phosphorus and nitrates and other pollutants, most of which can be treated by wetlands!

    OK, enough science and history. Where does SNPR come in? Ian Smith, the SWIO Watershed Steward, came up with a great idea  - to reconnect the Keuka Outlet adjacent wetlands with the main stream channel. During high flow events, water, laden with sediments and nutrients, would be diverted from the Outlet to the wetlands, and not be discharged into our lake.

    This can be made to happen by the construction of culvert connectors under the elevated trail path at key locations so that high flows can pass into the wetlands, reviving them and restoring their eco-functions. Retention basins and wetland expansions can also be constructed, enhancing the overall function of the ecosystem. Grants for the overall construction project have already been applied for and show great promise of success. The first step in the project is an engineering study and design, which will be undertaken this year.  Yates County, the Town of Geneva, Friends of the Outlet, and SNPR are partners in funding the study.

    Estimations have shown that the Keuka Outlet conveys the largest load of phosphorus into Seneca Lake of all its tributary streams. The reduction of this pollution, as assisted by the SNPR program, is a stellar example of what our program can help make happen, to protect and preserve our lake.

    SPNR and Pure Waters' volunteers will assist in the main project implementation, including financial support, monitoring and outreach. Pure Waters will keep you up to date on the progress of this important project in future articles. In the meantime, please know that SNPR is “off and running!”


Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

P.O. Box 247

Geneva, NY 14456


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