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  • 08/29/2021 9:49 AM | Jody Tyler

    After a great deal of debate, the Pure Waters’ Board of Directors has made the tough decision to cancel our Annual Dinner for this year.  As you might expect, the Covid Delta variant was at the center of our decision.  At first, we thought having proof of vaccination might be sufficient to guard against the Delta variant.  However, the Board concluded the risk was too great to proceed, and determined we should not risk the health of our loyal members.

    The Annual Dinner is always one of our most popular events and also one of our biggest fundraisers. However, like last year, we will work diligently to make up for this significant revenue loss.  We will find creative ways to fund and support our well- respected water quality monitoring programs, including HAB Bloom, Stream, Lake Assessment (CSLAP), and Invasive Species Management (PRISM) as well as our educational Lake Friendly Living program.  You can donate any time at or contact our Association Director, Kaitlin Fello ( ), if you would like to help us in our funding efforts.

    In addition, we would like everyone to know our Virtual Annual Meeting will take place on October 13, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  Please save the date and join us while we discuss our year in review and our plans for the future.  The Virtual Annual Meeting will be preceded again this year by our Virtual Silent Auction.  Be ready to start the bidding on your favorite item on Friday, October 8, through Friday, October 15.  We hope you will join us for some fundraising fun and bid on your favorite special packages that week!  If you are interested in donating to this year’s silent auction, please email Kaitlin at

    No matter how big the challenges, you can always count on the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association to do everything possible to preserve and protect Seneca Lake.  Our success starts with our members.  If you are not a member, please join today at   We appreciate your support!

  • 08/29/2021 8:58 AM | Jody Tyler

    Precipitation values for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 17, 18, 19…

    By 12:00am on 8/19, discharge peaked from Keuka Outlet at Dresden at 3290 cubic feet per second(cfs). Discharge rates continued above 2000cfs until approximately 10:00am that same morning.

    Manhole 360 (DEC)/ 135 Seneca Street.

    Seneca Pure Waters recently had a meeting with the representatives from the D.E.C. Regional 8 office.  Although the New York Sewage Right to Know alert originally reported a spillage of over 34 million gallons, D.E.C. officials indicated that the volume was miscalculated, and subsequent alerts were corrected.  In reality, approximately 177,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Keuka Outlet, and towards Seneca Lake.

    The NYS Alerts also revealed the location of the incident: 135 Seneca Street, Penn Yan.  This property sits directly adjacent to The Birkett Mills.

    The Olney Place Flood Image

    Mean Discharge, Seneca River

    Mean Discharge Graph

    Keuka Lake Levels

    135 Seneca Street, Location of Sewage Pollution Event

    Birkett Mills

    Birkett Mills Map

  • 08/25/2021 4:36 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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.  

  • 07/27/2021 9:23 PM | Jody Tyler

    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 ( and to learn more about lake level management. 

  • 07/27/2021 7:33 PM | Jody Tyler

    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 – .

    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!

    Membership Committee

    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.

    Event Coordination

    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.

  • 07/27/2021 1:57 PM | Jody Tyler

    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

  • 07/16/2021 9:19 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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

  • 07/02/2021 2:06 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    Consider these lake friendly living tips as you celebrate this Independence Day!

  • 06/28/2021 4:38 PM | Kaitlin Fello (Administrator)

    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:

    • Locally made by Finger Lakes Supply, Inc., Hammondsport, NY
    • Customizable with name or street address
    • Large 8” x 15” plate size for easy identification
    • Reflective surface, can be seen at night
    • Durable metal that will stand up to the elements
    • Pre-drilled holes for easy installation
    • $40.00, includes tax and shipping to your door

  • 06/23/2021 9:38 PM | Jody Tyler

    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  Questions can also be directed to Kaitlin.

    Pure Waters BOD Application.doc


Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

P.O. Box 247

Geneva, NY 14456


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