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Written by Peggy Focarino, Membership and Fundraising Chair
Seneca Lake Pure Waters’ Annual Appeal is in full swing and we need your support!
This past year alone, our volunteers have spent thousands of hours searching our lake for harmful algal blooms (HABS), monitoring streams, looking for aquatic invasive species, publishing monthly informational newsletters, expanding our Lake Friendly Living program, supporting our watershed’s 9-Element Plan, hosting educational webinars and so much more.
How did we do all of this? WITH YOUR support! Our efforts would come to a grinding halt without the funds that PURE WATERS receives from our community through memberships and donations. With your financial assistance, we will not only continue our important work, but will expand our efforts, building on the momentum of all of the work PURE WATERS has done this past year.
Please help us PRESERVE and PROTECT Seneca Lake by making your tax deductible donation today!
Click Here to Donate Now!
Listen in to the Pure Waters' November radio show with Ted Baker and HABs Director, Bill Roege as they discuss the HABs season and the Seneca lake levels.
November Radio Show
Written by Rich Adams
After seeing the lake level peak out at nearly 448’ ( level not seen in last 28 years), due to the late October torrential rain events, it is finally steadily falling towards winter levels prescribed by the NY State Canal Corporation. As of the publishing of this message, the lake level was just below 446.5’. Below is a current snap shot of the lake level monitor at Geneva.
Facilitating the lake level drawdown, Gravity Renewables, the hydro-electric facility owner on the Seneca Cayuga Canal, has opened all of its possible gates since the storms, passing maximum flows through the canal. Communications between Gravity and Pure Waters have been on going, and Gravity expects to keep all gates open until the end of the year. Below is a diagram showing the multiple release points at the hydro facility, and also a snapshot of the continuing high flows being releases through the canal at Seneca Falls.
At Keuka Lake, flows discharged into the Keuka Outlet are also being controlled now, as the lake levels there recede.
As can be seen from this current diagram of Seneca Lake levels, superimposed on our Rule Curve, lake levels are projected to approach desired winter levels by the end of the year, assuming the weather cooperates and current flow will management practices are observed.
Pure Waters will continue to monitor the levels and flow regimes throughout this trying time for lake residents. While we are not accustomed to seeing water levels at the “minor flood” levels lasting for so many weeks, we can at least be reassured that all involved entities are doing their best to get back to normal.
Written by Kaitlin Fello
Seneca Lake is currently as high as it's been all year. In fact, the lake has risen just under 20 inches in the last week, according to the National Weather Service gage reporting. Many lakefront homeowners are reporting flooding in homes and cottages, and docks submerged under water, some dock pieces coming apart and floating into the lake. Posts on social media indicate that numerous small water vessels have floated off their lifts and are floating in the lake, some being rescued by boaters who dare to get out there in these conditions.
The Keuka Outlet has been running high for a full six days, exceeding 850 cubic feet per second (cfs), some hours exceeding 2,600cfs.
The Keuka Outlet is only one tributary of Seneca Lake, but is the largest single contributor of water into Seneca Lake. Like the Seneca-Cayuga Canal is for Seneca Lake, the Keuka Outlet is as it is named, the outlet for Keuka Lake. To avoid flooding of Keuka Lake cottages and homes, water is controlled by the Keuka Lake Outlet Compact (KLOC), and passed through 6 gates at Birkett Mills. The following statement was taken from the Keuka Lake Association webpage, www.keukalakeassociation.org, regarding discharge rates into the Outlet: "Normal maximum allowed water outflow is limited to 1,000 cubic feet per second (CFS), to minimize any potential downstream damage. Exceeding this amount should only happen during high water emergency periods, requiring KLOC to declare Condition B, which is a non-failure emergency condition." If you visit the KLA Lake Level website, you'll see that Keuka Lake is also currently at very high levels (17" over the last eight days).
Although Gravity Renewables in waterloo checked in with Pure Waters , and are pushing water through the Seneca-Cayuga Canal as fast as possible, the inflow into Seneca is greater than the outflow, and we may continue to see the lake rise over the next 24-48 hours, even if we don't get any more rain. Windy conditions may cause more damage to docks and property due to waves, and we may have these conditions before the levels move back into a normal range.
If you are around the lake or own property here, please move any unsecured items away from shore, pull boats up out of the water, and keep an eye on neighbors who may need some help with their properties. If you have seasonal cottages and are not in the area, we suggest you call a neighbor on Seneca or make your way here to check in on any issues your property may have. We also ask that you share this messaging with those who you know may be out of the area, and inform them of the current and potentially damaging conditions.
As always, be very safe as docks may be unstable, and floating debris can be dangerous for those looking to clean up in the coming days.
Visit www.senecalake.org/lake-level to learn more and https://www.canals.ny.gov/water.../netdata/seneca-levels.pdf to view NYS Canal Corporation record of lake level.
Please help us elect the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association Board of Directors, class of 2024 by voting using the poll below.
All members in good standing 30 days leading up to the Annual Meeting are encouraged to vote to elect the Board of Directors. If you are receiving this email, that means you are eligible to vote.
The voting poll will be open October 27- November 4th at 12:00pm. Voting is anonymous, but you do have to provide your name to confirm membership status.
Members up for re-election:
Tom Burrall (Geneva) -
Tom is the 5th generation owner of a local family business, and also serves as a Geneva city council member. Tom's spends his time working with Pure Waters on membership and business membership growth programs.
Frank Case (Romulus) -
Frank is a retired judge and teacher, and is the current treasurer of the Pure Waters Board of Directors. Frank is also the owner and operator of his own farm, and brings a keen understanding of the agricultural community to the Pure Waters Board of Directors.
Frank DiOrio (Himrod) -
Frank is a retired Service Vice President with experience both in the Field and in the Corporate Service environments. His career included 32 years at Eastman Kodak Company and 10 years at Pitney Bowes.
Jacob Welch (Himrod) -
Jake currently serves as the Pure Waters Board President, leads a political action committee through the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance, works closely with the 9E executive committee, and now leads the Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program. Jake's legal knowledge is regularly utilized in Board discussions.
New members up for election:
Steve Bromka (Romulus) -
Steve is a Seneca Lake watershed native, but worked as a Department of Army Civilian in logistics and supply chain management outside of the area. Steve moved back after retiring in 2017, and has been a HABs and Invasive Species Pure Waters volunteer for multiple years, and has most recently began working with the Finger Lakes Institute as a Spotted Lantern Fly monitor. Steve has already encouraged numerous new volunteers for Pure Waters, and will continue to support Pure Waters in a multitude of ways.
Ron Klinczar (Hector) -
Ron is Buffalo native, and is recently retired as a civil engineer for Mott McDonald. Ron has owned property in the Seneca Lake watershed for one year, coming to learn of Pure Waters and quickly reached out to get involved. Ron intends to use his career knowledge to move the new Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program forward.
Jody Tyler (Keuka Park)
Jody has been a Pure Waters member for six years, and a part time employee for five + years. Jody has also joined Pure Waters as a volunteer on our Events, Communications, and Membership Committees for years and will be a tremendous asset to the Board of Directors.
Please follow the link below to vote on the seven members up for election this year. If you voted during the Annual Meeting, please do not vote again.
Thank you for being a Pure Waters' member!
Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops, and maple trees, posing a severe threat to New York's forests and agriculture. SLF has been found in several locations in NY but has not yet spread to much of the state. One potential pathway for the spread of SLF is its preferred host plant, tree-of-heaven (TOH), which is already found in many locations across NY.
Volunteers like you are needed to look for SLF and TOH in your area. You can help protect NY's agriculture and forests by knowing what to look for and how to report it to NY's official invasive species database, iMapInvasives. Visit iMap's website to learn about the project and sign up for a grid square on the map to look for these species out in the field.
When one door closes, another one opens… or in this case, when one fishing season closes, another one opens.
In years past, October 15th meant the end of trout season here in New York. However, thanks to DEC’s recently implemented Trout Stream Management Plan, a new catch and release trout stream season (on inland streams) will begin on October 16 and extend through March 31. Now hardy anglers can enjoy trout fishing year-round! During the catch and release trout season, only artificial lures may be used and trout must be immediately released. Anglers are reminded to avoid disturbing spawning trout and gravel beds where trout eggs may be incubating.
To assess any impact of the new season on wild trout populations, angling pressure and young of year trout abundance will be estimated on a statewide sample of 19 wild trout stream reaches from 2021 through 2024.
Visit DEC's website to learn more about the Angler Use and Wild Trout Young of Year Recruitment Study.
Listen in to the Pure Waters' monthly radio show as Director of the Association talks with Ted on this year's Annual Meeting, Silent Auction, and the 2021 HABs season.
2021 October - Radio Recording Kaitlin Fello.mp3
Written by Lewis McCaffrey, DEC
Fishermen on the lake have long suspected that currents within Seneca Lake run fast and deep. Now the true speed and direction of water in the Finger Lakes’ deepest waterbody have been measured for the first time. Researchers from Le Moyne College in Syracuse have used drifting buoys equipped with satellite trackers to take measurements. The buoys were attached to suspended underwater ‘drogues’ at depths approaching 100 feet, where they catch rapidly moving currents. The results will allow scientists to better predict the movement of pollutants, harmful algae blooms and plumes of sediment and warm water.
The trio of drifting buoys were released on 17th October, and the fastest travelled 9 miles in the first 48 hours. The probes were also equipped with temperature and light sensors, which may provide clues to the cause of the currents. They also have orange flashing beacons at the surface to aid identification and ensure safety in navigation. The research is being carried out by Adjunct Professor Lewis McCaffrey and research students Birdem Oz and Jacob Stewart. McCaffrey’s full-time job is as a research scientist for NYS DEC. It is thought that climate change will increase temperature stratification in many American lakes, ultimately causing currents to strengthen, with unpredictable consequences.
Two of the drifters have been safely removed from the lake, but at the time of writing one remains but its GPS is no longer reporting. Anyone seeing a flashing orange light in the lake is requested to urgently email Dr McCaffrey at email@example.com with an approximate location (e.g. lat/lon or address onshore and distance to the light).
1. Research was funded by Le Moyne College, a Jesuit liberal arts school located in De Witt near Syracuse, NY.
2. A ‘drogue’ (also known as a ‘sea anchor’) is an apparatus arranged to produce resistance to movement through the water. In this case the drogues are made of 4 ft panels of HDPE plastic - selected for its unreactivity, abrasion resistance and recyclability.
3. Dr McCaffrey and students are part of the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences. The students will carry out the research as part of their undergraduate program.
4. In general the driving force behind deep currents is the wind acting on the lake’s surface, causing upper waters to shift in the approximate direction of the wind. Deeper water has to flow in the opposite direction to make up for this displacement.
5. Lake residents Larry Martin, Dan Corbett and Addie Mason have enabled the placement and retrieval of the drifters.
6. Contact information:
Lewis McCaffrey, firstname.lastname@example.org, 315 278 1530
Listen in to learn about the Seneca Pure Waters water quality monitoring programs with V.P. of Water Quality, Dan Corbett.
2021 September - Radio Recording Dan Corbett.mp3
2019 Lakewatch Annual Report
2017 Lakewatch Winter Issue
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2016 Lakewatch Annual Report
2016 Lakewatch Spring Issue
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2014 Lakewatch Winter Issue
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2013 Lakewatch Winter Issue
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2012 Lakewatch Winter Issue
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2011 Lakewatch Winter Issue
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2011 Lakewatch Spring Issue
2010 Lakewatch Fall Issue
2010 Lakewatch Spring Issue
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Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
P.O. Box 247
Geneva, NY 14456