Seneca-Keuka watershed plan to be presented April 25

SENECA-KEUKA LAKES – As late winter and early spring snowmelt and rains pour into Seneca and Keuka Lakes, final details are added to the Nine Element Plan for the Seneca Watershed -Keuka in order to have a fully approved plan. by two state departments in place in time for this year’s grant cycle.

Seneca-Keuka Watershed Partnership

A plan that has been reviewed and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of State will benefit municipalities and organizations seeking funding for projects that will improve the water quality of the vast watershed. The plan will include best practices for working landscapes such as woodlands, croplands and pastures; wastewater management; hydrological resilience (water movement); invasive species management; and local laws.

The Keuka and Seneca Lakes Watershed

The plan’s draft vision statement states, “The Seneca-Keuka Watershed Nine Element Plan will result in water quality improvements that restore natural ecosystems and protect human health, thereby maximizing economic, social and cultural value. of these endangered resources. The means to achieve this will ensure the preservation and enhancement of the region’s agricultural vitality as well as other valuable natural resources that together define the character of the landscape and the community.

The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and comment on the plan at a meeting on April 25 at 6 p.m. in the Yates County Office Building.

Ian Smith, Seneca Lake Watershed Steward, explains that because there are multiple sub-watersheds involved, the plan will include strategies and tools that can be adapted to meet localized conditions and needs. He says continued public input will be essential. “It’s not a process with an end date,” he says, adding that involving landowners is an important part of the process.

Colby Petersen, Keuka Lake Watershed Manager and Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager, says the plan addresses watershed-wide actions that already have strong support. public, such as hydrological resilience measures that slow the movement of water, improvements to sewage treatment, plants, preservation and conservation efforts, and erosion reduction. An erosion management project currently in the engineering phase will also provide recreational and educational opportunities as it protects part of the Keuka Outlet Trail, he says.

Smith says the final approved plan will be helpful to municipalities in the watershed as they draft or update comprehensive plans and associated zoning bylaws. Twenty-three percent of all municipalities in the watershed do not have zoning bylaws, which can include requirements for development on steep slopes, construction and inspection of private septic systems, and more.

The Seneca Lake watershed is 712 square miles and extends from the town of Italy in western Yates County to the town of Hector in eastern Schuyler County, and the town from Horseheads in Chemung County to the city of Geneva in Ontario County. Seneca and Keuka Lakes contain over 50% of the water of the 11 Finger Lakes and they are connected by a natural waterway, the Keuka Outlet, historically known as the Minnesetah River.

The project is sponsored by funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund. Additional funding is provided by Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative, Keuka Lake Association, The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Seneca County, Schuyler County, Ontario County, Yates County, Steuben County, and Corning Inc.

The Seneca-Keuka Watershed Partnership Executive Committee includes Mark Venuti (Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization), Dan Corbett (Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association), Steve Butchko (Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative) and Mark Morris (Keuka Lake Association) with councilors Lisa Cleckner (Finger Lakes Institute), Ian Smith (Seneca Lake Watershed Steward), Colby Petersen (Keuka Watershed Manager) and Administrator Betsy Landre (Ontario County Planning Dept.) 4559 or, or Colby Petersen at 315-536 -5188 or

What there is to know

WHAT: Nine-element plan, designed to improve water quality in Seneca and Keuka lakes, will be the subject of a public hearing

WHEN: 6 p.m. on April 25

DETAILS: The draft plan will be published at the end of March on

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