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  • 02/01/2019 12:00 PM | Seneca Lake (Administrator)

    Finger Lakes Times

    GENEVA — Planting trees is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve water quality, according to the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association.
    In fact, SLPWA is urging property owners near Seneca Lake and its tributaries to plant trees. “Compared to the cost of building drains for storm water or repairing flood damage with concrete and steel, trees are a bargain,” said Rich Weakland, SLPWA president. The organization issued a statement Thursday on the ways trees help protect Seneca Lake. They include:

    INTERCEPTION: During rainstorms, tree canopies are the first line of defense. Leaves and branches intercept the falling rain, dispersing it at a slower rate over a large area, encouraging more absorption by the ground.

    FILTRATION: Trees help to filter road salt, fertilizers and pesticides out of water. Some chemicals are taken up by the trees themselves while others are taken up by fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms that exist in forest soils.

    INFILTRATION: Decomposing materials from trees and plants collect on the ground and form an absorptive layer that acts as a sponge that soaks up water. A tree’s root system helps to break up compacted soil, opening up spaces for water to soak into the soil.

    STABILIZATION: Tree roots help give the soil structure, preventing erosion. Organic matter from leaves and microorganisms living in the soil help hold soil together, acting like glue to bind soil particles together.

    HABITAT: Trees growing along the lake’s shoreline or along the banks of a stream or creek support aquatic life. Leaves and seeds provide food for insects that, in turn, are eaten by fish and other large animals. Roots, falling logs and branches provide food, shade and hiding places in the water. Trees also shade the water, keeping it cool for species that are sensitive to temperature and keeping down the growth of algae and weeds that can clog waterways.

    Weakland said the Ontario, Seneca and Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation Districts will sell seedlings this spring. People can pre-order by Friday, March 8, and receive the trees for planting in May. Those district offices can be contacted for details.

    For more information, call (585)396-1450 in Ontario County, (315)568-4366 ext. 4 in Seneca County, and (607)535-0878 in Schuyler County.

    SLPWA’s membership cycle begins June 1 and ends May 3, 2020. Weakland says anyone interested in the protection and preservation of Seneca Lake can help by joining the organization. People can join by visiting senecalake.org. The cost is $10 for students, $30 for households and $50 for businesses.

    Checks can also be mailed to SLPWA, P.O. Box 247, Geneva, 14456.
  • 01/06/2019 12:00 PM | Seneca Lake (Administrator)

    The Chronicle-Express - By John Christensen
    Posted Jan 6, 2019 at 12:01 AM

    The Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO) is conducting a search for the new watchdog/advocate to protect Seneca Lake as a clean source of water. According to Mark Venuti, chair of SWIO, State Sen. Pam Helming got $110 million in Clean Water funds tucked in the state budget, and $200,000 of that is earmarked for the Town of Geneva to hire the Seneca Watershed Steward, and to fund program efforts.

    The SWIO Steward is a full-time, benefits-eligible, administrative salaried position for $59,000 per year. Venuti says Hobart & William Smith Colleges will manage payroll and the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) will provide office space. Venuti says this arrangement of support relieves SWIO of the burden of administration and paying for office space.

    Venuti says he expects the steward will report day-to-day to Dr. Lisa Cleckner, Director of the FLI, and to the SWIO governance group as an executive committee. SWIO hopes to fill the position by the end of January, and already has six applicants for the post.

    According to the request for applications, the Seneca Watershed Steward will work on behalf of SWIO to “identify and implement projects in the watershed and lake to improve the water quality of Seneca Lake. The watershed steward will be the “on the ground” Seneca Lake expert and work with a number of different stakeholder groups, including the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, county governments, water purveyors, business and tourism entities, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, agricultural producers, academic institutions, Keuka Lake (part of the Seneca Lake watershed) organizations, and citizens to ensure that the lake remains a Class AA drinking water source. An annual work plan for this position will be developed in consultation with a small governance group (five members) from intermunicipal groups of Seneca and Keuka Lakes, watershed associations of Seneca and Keuka Lakes, and the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.”

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