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  • 04/20/2021 3:32 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    A great success on Saturday at the Earth Day protest to oppose the Greenidge Generation Bitcoin Mining Operation. Thank you to Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake Guardian, A Waterkeeper AffiliateVinny Aliperti, Michael Warren Thomas, and other organizers who brought concerned citizens together to show the Town of Torrey Planning Board that the Greenidge expansion should wait for an environmental study.

    Seneca Pure Waters President, Jake Welch, spoke at the rally (8:20), which can be viewed entirely here.

    In addition, a case study of Greenidge Power Plant was developed ahead of the Town of Torrey decision on Monday night, by a group of Hobart and William Smith Colleges professors, and can be viewed below.

    Prepared by Martin Roeck, Thomas Drennen, John Halfman

    Click the slide above to view full case study.

  • 04/20/2021 3:13 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Written by Kaitlin Fello and Rich Adams

    Photo by D.E.C.

    It’s Spring in the Finger Lakes, and has felt like it now for almost two months.  Of course, we can never really be sure when a winter day will find us again, at least until May arrives.  With 2021 being one of the warmest Spring we’ve seen in years, nuisance algae will hit Seneca Lake shores early this year and will begin to let off the foul smell we sometimes refer to as “rotten eggs”.

    There are many species of this filamentous, attached algae, but the most prevalent in Seneca Lake are known as Cladophora and Spirogyra.  These species of algae are different from the floating (or “planktonic”) forms of algae in that their cell assemblage structures are long and fibrous (can be several inches long), and they are attached to hard bottom lake surfaces, like rocks or wood. This algae is not invasive, but when it proliferates, it can be quite a nuisance. 

    In most summers, we see this nuisance algae detach from hard surfaces and wash ashore in late June or July, but you may see it early and in abundance this year.  When the filamentous algae does reach your shores and begins to build up, the anaerobic conditions causes the conversion of sulfur compounds into smelly sulfides and other compounds, similar to anaerobic sewage. Although these conditions are temporary, lasting until the muck washes away in vigorous storm or wind events, they are a definite annoyance.  Also, anaerobic conditions in water can harbor unwanted bacteria, so contact in these muck zones should be avoided.

    There are a few ways to deal with this stinking issue quickly and quietly on your own property.  One option is to rake the shoreline piles away from the water, spreading it out so it will dry rapidly, which will break the foul smell. These algae are also great for compost!  They are full of the nutrients your compost needs to break down other organics in your compost pile. Proper layering of algae in composting is important, so be sure to learn more before moving ahead with this option.  If you don’t have a compost pile to nurture, you might consider using algae as a fertilizer! Algae is made up of living organisms and breaks down quickly when added to soil, adding phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

    Please visit the NYDEC Cladophora webpage to learn more about this nuisance algae.

  • 04/19/2021 6:40 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Consumers Encouraged to Follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Disposal Directions to Prevent Spread of Harmful Invasive Species

    Pet Stores Urged to Remove Moss Balls Immediately

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging pet and aquarium stores and consumers to immediately remove and properly dispose of commercially purchased "moss balls" for aquariums after invasive zebra mussels were discovered inside and on some of these products, as reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Consumers should be advised that moss ball products purchased from PetSmart and Petco may be subject to a voluntary product recall.

    Read the rest of the D.E.C. article HERE

  • 04/19/2021 6:22 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    What happens around your home matters.   

    Small changes can make a big difference.

    In May, 2020, we launched the new program, and we thank all of our members and watershed residents who took the pledge to be lake friendly using the resources and educational outreach Pure Waters and our partners provide. 

    And now, a year later, our focus on small changes continues and are amplified with the collaborative efforts by other Finger Lakes.  Strength in numbers makes a big difference too!!  Seven Finger Lakes (Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca, Skaneateles,) have teamed up to promote Lake Friendly Living across the region.  Together, as the Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes, we are excited to announce our inaugural Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week, scheduled for May 2 - 8, 2021.  The week includes a series of educational webinars on many topics with special experts. The webinars are free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  To learn more about the webinars and to register, go to

    If your schedule does not allow for participation during Awareness Week, there are many other ways to learn and apply lake friendly practices.  Start with our program resources at

    Know that your efforts do make a difference and as you learn more and TAKE THE PLEDGE, be sure to share with friends and family.  We offer Lake Friendly Living yard signs to show your support. Thank you for being Lake Friendly!

  • 04/19/2021 6:12 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Written by Kelly Coughlin

    With 38 miles of ever-changing conditions along its shoreline, Seneca Lake is under the watchful gaze of residents around the lake, including 40 intrepid volunteers who help with baseline and storm monitoring of Seneca Lake streams--Big Stream, Catharine Creek, Kashong Creek, Reeder Creek, and Keuka Outlet.

    Assessing water quality conditions is one of the key pillars of Pure Waters’ efforts. We accomplish this work through several comprehensive water quality monitoring projects that include stream sampling and cyanobacteria (HABs) monitoring. Since 2014, we have been monitoring trends in stream water quality to evaluate the impact of streams on Seneca Lake.  With the help of a dedicated volunteer team, water samples are collected from more than a dozen sites across the watershed. Samples are analyzed for bacteria (E. coli), total suspended solids, nutrients such as nitrate-nitrite and phosphorus, and water temperature.  This year, Pure Waters began its sampling for the season a bit earlier than prior years, on March 15, to better capture the impact of runoff from snowmelt.  A second baseline event is scheduled for June, and we’ll also be targeting two high flow events following rainstorms, hopefully this spring or early summer. Tests are conducted by our laboratory partner Community Science Institute, visit their website to see the latest Seneca Lake water quality test results along with an interactive map of sampling locations.

  • 03/22/2021 10:15 AM | Kaitlin Fello


    Have you noticed a change in aquatic plant coverage near the shoreline of the lake?  Is your swimming hole or dock inundated with unfamiliar "weeds"?

    PRISM, or the Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management of the Finger Lakes is looking for volunteers for this summers monitoring program.  Over the past few years, Pure Waters' volunteers have worked with PRISM to monitor the lake for aquatic invasive threats.  But with many encroaching threats to Seneca Lake, we need more coverage and that means more volunteers!

    Volunteering with this program is simple, and you'll learn about the "weeds" that have become a problem in the lake.  Volunteers monitor every two weeks during the months of June to October.  This can be right from your dock!  No experience necessary! 

    Please consider volunteering with this very important effort.  In order to find solutions for the invasive species that threaten Seneca Lake, we first need to understand them!  It all starts with monitoring!

    More Information:

    Sign up to Volunteer: Click Here or email

  • 03/19/2021 6:29 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Listen in to hear Ted Baker speak with Jacob Fox, Town of Geneva Climate Smart Coordinator, as they discuss the Town's sustainability programs and on the upcoming Virtual Farming Symposium!

    Listen Here

  • 03/19/2021 5:52 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Finger Lakes National Heritage Area- Feasibility Study

    by Dan Corbett

    The National Park Service is conducting a study to determine the feasibility of designating the Finger Lakes region as a national heritage area.  Public input is being sought and is open until June 1st. Seneca Lake Pure Waters strongly encourage our membership and other stakeholders to participate and support this initiative. We believe that the founding of the Finger Lakes National Heritage Area would be very much in alignment with our mission to Preserve and Protect Seneca Lake. The link below will take you to a page offering more information and the opportunity to directly provide your inputs.

    Click here to submit your comments

    National Heritage Areas (NHAs) provide economic benefits to communities and regions through their commitment to heritage conservation and economic development. Through public‐private partnerships, NHA entities support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects. Leveraging funds and long‐term support for projects, NHA partnerships generate increased economic impact for regions in which they are located.  

    Case studies demonstrate that NHAs are valuable economic contributors to the local regions and states where they operate. The partnerships they create and facilitate, and the efforts put forth by each organization truly make a difference in their communities. Each serves as a vital part of the local and regional economy contributing millions of dollars annually and sustaining jobs.

    Please act on this today!

  • 03/19/2021 4:59 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Seneca County Agricultural & Farmland Enhancement Plan

    By Val Sewell and Erin Peruzzini (Seneca County SWCD)

    Seneca County received a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (Ag & Markets) to update its Agricultural and Farmland Enhancement Plan with the Seneca County Agriculture Enhancement Board (AEB) serving as the Steering Committee for the effort.  The AEB is being supported by the County’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Soil and Water Conservation District. The Ag Enhancement Plan will be used as a roadmap to detail the efforts needed to enhance agriculture, identify who should be involved and describe how to implement such efforts.

    As stipulated in the Ag & Markets grant, Seneca County procured a consultant with knowledge of rural/farmland protection planning issues to help coordinate the development of the plan with the AEB. The consultant, selected through a Request for Proposals and rigorous interview process, is Community Planning and Environmental Associates (CP & EA). This consultant has over 26 years of experience working with communities in New York State and has assisted ten other counties in New York to develop their Ag Enhancement Plans. Its role is to facilitate the process, provide technical expertise in areas of community input, data collection, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, and development of the full plan. CP & EA will also draft a vision and goals and recommend actions for consideration by the AEB.

    Agricultural Survey

    In the fall of 2020, CP & EA, under the auspices of Seneca County, conducted an online agricultural survey to gather information to better understand where and what type of farming is being done in the county, and to learn more about the interests and perspectives of the general public, farmers and farmland owners, and businesses that support farmers. The survey, which closed in early December 2020, received responses from 104 members of the general public, 78 farmers, 31 farmland owners who rent to farmers, and 15 agri-businesses.

    Highlights from general public respondents to the survey include:

    • Ag is recognized as having a very important role in the county; 80% said it is very important to have active farms
    • Eighty percent buy local farm products – 74% of them at local farms, or local retail markets
    • They want to see more activities/events to promote local ag products, new development patterns to limit non-farm uses in farming areas, and assistance with grants for farmers.

    Highlights from farmers include:

    Issues of concern

    •    Property taxes/land prices
    •    Loss of small and medium-sized farms
    •    Loss of young people
    •   Costs and profitability of farms
    Opportunities for ag enhancement included:
    • Promote farm-friendly local land use laws at town level (56%)
    • Enhance marketing and promotion of local ag products (56%)
    • Develop programs to support small, niche, specialty crops (47%)
    Most farmers plan on staying the same or expanding/diversifying; few plan on leaving farming.

    Farmland owner issues and opportunities for enhancement include:

    Important issues
    • Low profitability of farms
    • Agricultural runoff
    • Changing weather patterns
    • Lack of workforce and new generation of farmers
    Opportunities for ag enhancement include:
    • Enhancing marketing and promotion of local ag products
    • Attracting farmers and ag-businesses to the County

    Agri-business issues and enhancement highlights include:

    Important issues
    • Access to skilled labor
    • High cost of doing business in NY/high taxes
    • Regulations
    Opportunities for ag enhancement
    • Develop programs to support small, niche, and specialty crop farms
    • Promote ag tourism
    • Protect farmland via conservation easements
    • Improve cell service

    In addition to summarizing the results from the online survey, CP & EA conducted 11 interviews to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs) to Seneca County’s agricultural community and farmlands.

    Strengths include:

    • Climate, soils, environment
    • Good ag infrastructure & services
    • Wine trails/vineyards

    Weaknesses are:

    • Taxes
    • Rising land prices
    • Water quality issues

    Opportunities include:

    • Grow ag tourism
    • More education of public about farming
    • Engage farmers in water quality concerns and foster use of best management practices for controlling water pollution

    Threats include:

    • Pressure from non-farm uses and people & development/population growth
    • Climate change
    • Lack of young people in farming/nobody to pass farm onto
    • Lake quality

    From the perspective of Seneca Pure Waters, it is heartening to see that water quality concerns are frequently identified as important by those canvassed in the survey and interviewed.  Seneca County has approximately 26 miles of shoreline along Seneca Lake and approximately 107 square miles of Seneca Lake watershed area that can benefit from thoughtful farmland conservation and controlled development.  The Ag Enhancement Plan will likely include recommendations related to long-terms preservation of land (easements for example), soil management for farming, environmental health, climate resiliency, and use of best management practices for controlling water pollution.

    Next Steps

    The consultant will be working to pull together a draft Ag Enhancement Plan that will highlight tools to deal with the challenges identified through the information gathering and data collection processes with an updated vision and goals for the county. After the draft is reviewed and cleared for public comment by the AEB, a public information meeting will be convened in late summer. After the AEB signs off on the final plan, the County Board of Supervisors must approve the plan. Ultimately, the Plan must be submitted to the State Commissioner of Agriculture for approval.

    Interested in learning about how farmers can be paid for soil health and other ecosystem services?  Join the Town of Geneva and the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association for our upcoming Virtual Farming Symposium at 3:00m, March 31.  Registration is required!  Register here

  • 03/18/2021 4:10 PM | Kaitlin Fello

    Finger Lakes Times. March 16, 2021

    GENEVA — The town of Geneva and Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association are teaming up to present a farm symposium virtually later this month. It’s scheduled for 3 p.m. March 31 via Zoom.

    The Seneca-Keuka Lake Watershed-based symposium will focus on the payment for ecosystem services and carbon-capture programs that pay farmers to sequester carbon on a regional and national scale.

    Read more


Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

P.O. Box 247

Geneva, NY 14456


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