Listen in to learn about the start of the HAB season in the Finger lakes, and the many volunteer opportunities and skills needed to continue the work of Pure Waters - on Finger Lakes News Radio with Pure Waters' VP of Operations, Frank DiOrio.
2021 August- Radio Recording Frank DiOrio.mp3
note: The 2021 Annual Dinner has been cancelled since this radio show has aired.
On Tuesday, July 20th, Seneca Lake’s lake-level climbed to a recent high of 446.68 feet above sea level, almost five inches above the Summer upper target of 446.3 feet. Since then, the lake level has fallen to the Gordon Hansen Seneca Lake Rule Curve target range of 446 +/- .3 feet.
The Seneca Lake Rule Curve, developed in the mid-70s by Gordon Hansen of the Navy’s Underwater System Center at Dresden, defines the lake’s highest and lowest tolerable levels. Rule curves establish a target range for the water level, helping to prevent severe flooding or severe drought conditions, and ensuring a stable, reliable water supply throughout low water summer months and protecting damage to delicate natural resources during high water months.
For reference, the Rule Curve for Seneca Lake predicts minor flood damage at about 447.8 feet, and major flood damage at 448.5 feet. The 100-year flood level for Seneca Lake is 449.9 feet, which has not been reached since the first Seneca Lake level record in October 1 of 1956. After the Dundee/Lodi storms in 2018, the lake rose about 12 inches in 12 hours topping out at 447 feet. Seneca Lake levels have reached to 447+ feet eight times since USGS began recording lake level data.
Each finger lake has a Rule Curve to guide its water level management, but there is only voluntary coordination among the lakes to manage both lake level and water discharge from each lake. Water can flow into Seneca Lake faster than it can flow out, since the downstream area is relatively flat and the outflow is regulated; therefore, the lake level rises after a rapid snow melt or big rain event.
The outflow of Keuka Lake, which drains directly into Seneca via the Keuka Outlet, is controlled by the Keuka Lake Outlet Compact (KLOC)—an intermunicipal organization representing the eight municipalities around Keuka Lake. Its primary purpose is to regulate Keuka Lake level using six outlet gates located at the Main Street bridge in Penn Yan, NY.
To minimize the risk of downstream flooding, the "Reservoir Regulation Manual-Keuka Lake Outlet" (developed by the Army Corps of Engineers), limits the discharge rate to 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). To achieve this maximum discharge rate, the Keuka Lake level must be at least 716.03 feet with all six gates open. On July 17th and 18th, the Keuka Outlet gage at Dresden, NY recorded two consecutive hours of more than 1,000 cfs (1,020 cfs to 1,300 cfs) which is due to both Keuka Lake outflow and precipitation in the Keuka Lake Outlet subwatershed. Although the Keuka Outlet was flowing high on these dates, there were no reports of significant damage due to the controlled outflow from Keuka Lake (Both residents and businesses on the west side of Seneca Lake near Himrod saw property damage during and after the recent rainfall event. Most reported damage was due to small stream spillover).
Visit the Pure Waters’ lake level webpage to see daily updates on Seneca Lake level (https://senecalake.org/Lake-Level) and to learn more about lake level management.
Education & Community Outreach
The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is now looking for volunteers for a growing program that aims to engage and educate watershed residents on the health of the lake, and find ways to partner with like-minded organizations to create new outreach opportunities. As an education and community outreach volunteer, you could expect to:
Plan and execute educational webinars, workshops, and forums for the public to attend and learn.
Partner with other local organizations to bring a variety of experts and educational opportunities to watershed residents.
Seek new outreach possibilities to expand Seneca Pure Waters’ brand recognition and the understanding of Lake health issues and best practices.
Serving as an Education and Outreach volunteer would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about educating all ages on preserving and protecting Seneca Lake. This group of volunteers would meet once monthly, with some efforts needed outside of regular meetings.
Lake Friendly Living Committee
Pure Waters Lake Friendly Living Program seeks volunteers to help promote and educate residents about home practices that can have a positive impact on our lake. As a Lake Friendly Program volunteer, your role can cover a variety of promotion and education needs including:
Introduce the program to your community through meetings with your social, religious and professional groups. Pure Waters will provide you with information and materials.
Organize a workshop on “how to’s” related to landscape techniques such as planting rain gardens, buffers and native greenery, installing a rain barrel or permeable surfaces, or any other Lake Friendly Living technique that you find on our LFL webpage – www.senecalake.org/lakefriendlyliving .
Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone. Let us know what you are interested in doing and we will help make it fun and easy to do! Thank you!
Pure Waters is looking for volunteers to serve on the Membership Committee. This committee plays a critical role in the recruitment and retention of our membership base. The role of the Membership Committee is to:
Promote the benefits of Pure Waters membership.
Identify strategies to increase membership.
Work to retain current members.
Identify strategies to enhance the value of a Pure Waters membership.
Recommend dues structures and member benefits.
Serving on the Membership Committee would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about preserving and protecting Seneca Lake. Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone.
Pure Waters is looking for volunteers to serve on the Events Committee. This committee plays a critical role in developing and coordinating key public events across the watershed. As an example, both educational and fun events at wineries and craft beer locations are planned by the committee. The primary role of committee team members includes:
Event coordination and venue selection
Event advertising and promotion
Event calendar development
Annual Meeting/Silent auction planning and coordination
Serving on the Events Committee would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about preserving and protecting Seneca Lake through fun and educational events. Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone.
Due to frequent and unpredictable rainfall events, a section of farmland in the Seneca Lake Watershed had been experiencing persistent erosion and flooding issues. Although the farmland had been treated well with good management practices including strip crops, cover cropping, and reduced tillage practices, it still experienced significant flooding and erosion issues.
After a watershed analysis was completed of the area, a decision was made for the Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District to install two stormwater retention basins (officially referred to as Water and Sediment Control Outlet Basins). Stormwater basins have been constructed for many years around the watershed and are a proven, useful land management practice. The basins take the peak flow of water, store it, and slowly release it which reduces downslope flooding and erosion.
The basins are strategically placed in the landscape to allow for the most water storage capacity. For this project in Yates County, approximately 2,700 feet of 6-inch plastic drain tile and 600 feet of 4-inch plastic drain tile was used to outlet the water from the basins to a downslope, stable area. The basins were constructed in the middle of the farmland so extra sloping work was completed to keep the loss of farmland to a minimum. Over 1,300 cubic yards of soil were moved. After construction, only 0.3 acres of farmland were lost for the basins and the farm has seeded those areas to a wildflower mix for beneficial insects.
This project was made possible through funding by the Finger-Lakes Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance.
By Tom Eskildsen, Senior District Technician, Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District
July Radio show with Pure Waters HABs Director, Bill Roege as he talks through the upcoming HAB season, and the surprising results of last year on Seneca Lake.
2021 July - Radio Recording Bill Roege.mp3
Consider these lake friendly living tips as you celebrate this Independence Day!
Dock Plates are back again! Show your pride for Seneca Pure Waters Association and your love of Seneca Lake by showcasing a new Pure Waters custom Dock Plate. Large numbers on the Plate can be used by the sheriff and police to locate your lakeside home during an emergency. Friends that are trying to locate your home by water vessel will find the plates helpful. We want everyone to proudly display the Pure Waters logo to promote unity around the lake!
“When the number is displayed with reflective lettering on the dock lakeside (dock plate) it is so very helpful.” – Sheriff Spike, Yates County, commenting on the most critical information necessary during a lakeside emergency.
Other Important Dock Plate Features:
Seeking New Board Members
Are you interested in taking an active role in preserving the health of Seneca Lake water quality? We are seeking new active Board members to join our dedicated team of Directors to conduct the business of the organization, and strengthen the Association’s progress on our mission of preserving and protecting Seneca Lake. Board members serve three-year terms, attending one monthly Board Meeting, and are expected to be active as officers, chairpersons, co-chairs, or participants of the Association’s committees, and/or team leaders or members of our water quality programs.
If you are interested in being a Director of Seneca Pure Waters, please fill out the form below and send it to email@example.com. Questions can also be directed to Kaitlin.
Pure Waters BOD Application.doc
The stock market has been going up and many investors now find that selling stocks or mutual funds will entail a large tax expense. One common way to avoid that expense, and get a full charitable deduction (if applicable), is to directly gift highly-appreciated securities to a qualified charity.
To qualify, securities must be held for more than one year and it is best if they are common, publicly held shares. Donating the securities in this way avoids incurring capital gains taxes that would occur if one sold the securities and then donated the proceeds. The charity receives more money. In addition, if the donor itemizes deductions (beyond the standard deduction), the full value of the securities is tax-deductible.
Pure Waters now has an account with Morgan Stanley that is capable of accepting securities as contributions. If you have questions, please contact Pure Waters Director, Kaitlin Fello, at Kaitlin@Senecalake.org. To make a direct donation, contact our Morgan Stanley account manager, Steve Finewood, at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-787-3013. Tell him that you wish to donate to Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and he will provide the instructions for you and your securities broker.
This is a great way to help Seneca Pure Waters preserve, protect, and promote Seneca Lake water quality.
Seneca Lake is the largest of the Finger Lakes, containing as much freshwater as all the remaining Finger Lakes combined. In addition to supplying drinking water to over 100,000 residents, the majestic lake and its watershed drive our local economy through agriculture, wineries and breweries, tourism, and recreation. A healthy lake is essential for all of this to occur, not just for us, but for generations to come. We are the stewards of the lake and have a responsibility to keep threats facing the lake to a minimum.
The mission of Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is to preserve and protect Seneca Lake. By being a Pure Waters member, you are directly supporting our water quality activities and educational programs.
Seneca Pure Waters:
identifies various contamination and pollution threats to the lake and its watershed
supports research studies
develops watershed management plans in collaboration with a network of partners, and
informs municipal and citizen practices to preserve and protect the lake and its watershed.
Over 200 Pure Waters volunteers conduct water quality efforts that:
monitor Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
detect levels of increased bacteria and nutrient loads in the watershed
collect samples as part of the statewide Citizen Science Lake Assessment Program (CSLASP) that monitors lake health and its trophic status, and
survey aquatic plants as part of New York State’s Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program.
You will be among the hundreds of Pure Waters members who care about the health and beauty of Seneca Lake!
Keep up with Pure Waters:
Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
P.O. Box 247
Geneva, NY 14456