Auburn – New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio today announced that he has secured a $125,000 state investment to create a Owasco Watershed Network Information Exchange that will allow residents to access data and information on Owasco Lake through a single internet portal connecting websites, as well as electronic updates that will be available to anyone concerned with the future of Owasco Lake.
Senator Nozzolio announced the state investment at a community meeting he hosted with the Owasco Watershed Lake Association where local residents discussed and developed an action plan to further improve the water quality of Owasco Lake.
The creation of the Owasco Watershed Network is one of the top priorities of the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA). The Network will be created by the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) at Cayuga Community College, a non-profit organization that collects data thorough Global Positioning Systems (GPS), remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS).
“The groundbreaking work being done by IAGT will allow all concerned citizens to remain educated on the most up-to-date data on the water quality of Owasco Lake,” said Senator Nozzolio. “This advanced technology will be available to all concerned citizens through a website and electronic updates and will allow residents to continue the discussion of needed protection efforts while having the most accurate data available on Owasco Lake.”
Once launched, the Owasco Watershed Network will share data and information on the water quality of Owasco Lake through a internet portal connecting websites, as well as provide electronic updates to the community. The sharing of this data and information will foster the creation of partnerships between key Owasco Lake stakeholders, such as local governments and agencies, and will allow for advanced discussion and decision-making capability in efforts to protect Owasco Lake.
As part of their work in the Finger Lakes region, IAGT has already launched the Owasco Lake robotic buoy program, which provides daily data describing seven water quality characteristics in Owasco Lake. A small meteorological station on the buoy also reports daily weather trends. The buoy enables the routine collection of data vital to the development of an understanding of long-term water quality trends for the proper management of Owasco Lake.
As part of his efforts to preserve Owasco Lake, Senator Nozzolio has successfully secured state funding to address the critical issues threatening the Lake, including enhancing Cayuga County’s weed harvesting efforts. Senator Nozzolio has also secured significant funding for the Finger Lakes Institute, which provides scientists to monitor the water quality of Owasco Lake.
Last year, Senator Nozzolio secured a $60,000 state investment to fund the position of a watershed inspector to help oversee the protection of Owasco Lake. Jessica Mills was hired to serve as the watershed inspector with the funding.
Last year, after meeting with local residents, Senator Nozzolio contacted Commissioner Pete Grannis of the State Department of Environmental Conservation and called for the DEC to restrict the amount of phosphorous discharge into Owasco Lake from the Town of Groton wastewater treatment plant.
This past Friday, the State DEC announced they have agreed to reduce the amount of phosphorous that the Town of Groton wastewater treatment plant is allowed to discharge into Owasco Lake to two pounds per day. The DEC report is scheduled to be issued tomorrow, July 2nd.
“We are certainly excited with the decision of the DEC and I strongly believe that the DEC has agreed to limit the amount of phosphorous discharge because of the strong support of the community and our ability to document our facts and findings. Owasco Lake has faced a number of challenges over the years, and the poor state of the lake even led to it being closed to swimmers at one time. During those times, Owasco Lake was effectively quarantined to the community,” continued Nozzolio.
“Now, because of our collective efforts; between OWLA, the Cayuga County Blueprint Commission, the Finger Lakes Institute, and a public and private collaboration between government and private business; I am proud to say that we are finally starting to see some real results that are leading to a cleaner, more beautiful Owasco Lake,” continued Nozzolio.
This year’s meeting provided an update to local residents on the water quality of Owasco Lake, the initiatives that have been taken over the years to improve the lake, as well as future plans to continue efforts to clean-up the lake. The community meeting served as a follow-up to a public meeting concerning Owasco Lake that was held last year by Senator Nozzolio.
In 2002, Senator Nozzolio secured $1 million in State assistance for the creation of the Finger Lakes Institute, a research and education center located on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Over the years, he has secured additional funding to support the Institute’s mission of preserving, protecting and promoting the Finger Lakes. Since 2006, the Institute has collected and studied data on the water quality of Owasco Lake.
The Institute also helps coordinate the efforts of local governments, lakeshore property owners, organizations, grassroots watershed protection groups, and other regional environmental research centers in protecting the ecology of the Finger Lakes and overseeing development along the lakes.
As part of his efforts to preserve Owasco Lake, Senator Nozzolio has successfully secured nearly $500,000 to address the critical issues threatening the Lake.