WATERLOO — Cayuga Lake, which borders Seneca County on the east, is the source of drinking water for the town of Seneca Falls and the Cayuga County villages of Cayuga, Union Springs and Aurora. Like other Finger Lakes, it faces challenges from hydrilla and harmful algal blooms in an effort to maintain a high level of water quality.
The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, which is based at Wells College, updated the Seneca County Board of Supervisors Tuesday on efforts being waged to protect and monitor Cayuga Lake.
Hilary Lambert, the network’s executive director, and Steve Penningroth, director of the Community Science Institute in Ithaca, said a key part of their work is monitoring the creeks that feed into the lake, including Sheldrake, Johnson and Burroughs. They thanked the county for its $5,000 donation in 2018, saying it was a “much-needed shot in the arm” for its HABs program and for the purchase of sampling kits.
The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, which was formed in 1998, has obtained start-up funding to train three volunteer water-sampling groups in the past five years.
In the end, the board reaffirmed its support for the network and its work, promising to quickly forward the $5,000 in the 2019 county budget to support the group’s efforts.
In other action Tuesday:
• Board chairman Bob Shipley said he plans to create a business advisory group to help foster a business-friendly atmosphere in the county. He said he would propose a group of two supervisors, two county staffers and two business community representatives.
• The county decided to join several others in a lawsuit against telephone and telecommunications companies for allegedly not remitting the 911 surcharges, as required, to help counties pay for local 911 services. The counties will use the law firm of Napoli Shkolnik to pursue the litigation.
• Valerie Sandlas, chairwoman of the Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee, once again asked the county to put together a 10-year solid-waste management plan. She urged the board to include money in the 2020 budget to pay for a consultant to help with a plan. “We need a plan that focuses on waste reduction,” Sandlas said. “Region 8 of the DEC takes 75 percent of the state’s trash, which is unfair to us.” Agriculture & Environmental Quality Committee chairman Paul Kronenwetter said an SWMP will be discussed at the June 25 committee meetings.
• Kronenwetter said he wrote a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation opposing a proposal from Ferro Industries of Dresden to be permitted to discharge chromium and cadmium into Seneca Lake.
• In response to a question from Fayette Supervisor Cindy Lorenzetti, Mitch Rowe said discussion on where to locate the county’s mental health department is moving forward. Rowe, the county manager, said architect John Snyder has been asked to present options for the board to consider.
• A public hearing was scheduled for 6 p.m. July 9 on a possible application to the state Office of Community Renewal for Community Development Block Grant program for a countywide housing-needs assessment. The application would be for $50,000, with a required $2,500 cash match from the county.
• The county will apply for and accept a Federal Aviation Administration grant for engineering design services related to reconstruction of the south apron at the county-owned Finger Lakes Regional Airport in Seneca Falls. The low bid for the project was $934,454, with a 5 percent local cash match required. The grant will be for the $934,454.