Auburn—Continuing his on-going aggressive efforts to help improve the water quality and integrity of Owasco Lake, State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R- Fayette) today announced that he has secured $425,000 in state funding to address the critical issues threatening the Lake. Senator Nozzolio made the announcement at Emerson Park in the City of Auburn.
As part of his plan, Senator Nozzolio secured $325,000 for The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to oversee the clean-up of Owasco Lake. Senator Nozzolio also provided a $100,000 state grant for the purchase of a transport vehicle and shoreline conveyor for Cayuga County to enhance weed harvesting efforts.
“As the State Senator representing the Finger Lakes region, the health of our lakes has always been one of my top priorities,” said Senator Nozzolio. “Owasco Lake is one of our region’s most unique and magnificent environmental jewels and decisive action needs to be taken to prevent further pollution of the lake. I was pleased to be able to secure this funding to help preserve and revitalize Owasco Lake, ensuring its protection, and securing its potential, for generations to come.”
With the $325,000 funding announced today, The Finger Lakes Institute will have the resources necessary to study existing data on the water quality of Owasco Lake as well as collect, manage and distribute new information. The study will include a detailed analysis of Skaneateles Lake, which will serve as the prototype for clean-up of Owasco Lake.
The funding will also allow The Finger Lakes Institute, in conjunction with the
IAPG, the Owasco Lake Association, and the Cayuga County Health and Planning Departments, create a data monitoring system to track data relevant to the health of the Lake. The highly specialized software program, called OWaLIS, is able to centralize information from a variety of inter-governmental agencies.
In 2002, Senator Nozzolio secured $1 million in State assistance for the creation of The Finger Lakes Institute. The Institute 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.
“It was a pleasure to secure funding for The Finger Lakes Institute to continue to monitor the health of Owasco Lake,” continued Nozzolio. “The Institute has clearly made a difference in our ability to recognize and focus on the most critical threats to our lakes and I’m extremely proud of their hard work on the behalf of our entire region.”
"I am extremely pleased that Senator Nozzolio has secured funding that will allow The Finger Lakes Institute to work toward solutions to many of the problems facing Owasco Lake. I commend the Senator's many initiatives that promote and preserve our greatest natural asset – the Finger Lakes," said Mark Gearan, President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. "The Colleges' Finger Lakes Institute is an invaluable resource helping to protect critical water supplies and ways of life. We greatly appreciate all of the Senator's efforts on our behalf."
Senator Nozzolio also announced a $100,000 state grant he secured for Cayuga County for the purchase of a transport vehicle and shoreline conveyor to enhance weed harvesting efforts.
George Fearon, Chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature said, “Cayuga County greatly appreciates Senator Nozzolio’s efforts in protecting this special jewel in our region.”
Michelle Sedor, Cayuga County Legislator from Auburn said, “I am very appreciative of Senator Nozzolio’s efforts to hold meetings that have brought people together to discuss their concerns with Owasco Lake. It is so important that people have access to safe, clean water and I welcome Senator Nozzolio’s actions to protect Owasco Lake.”
Senator Nozzolio has called meetings to discuss the issues causing the pollution of Owasco Lake and the initiatives that need to be taken to protect the lake. The meetings have been well-attended by local government officials, scientists, and property owners, many of whom are members of the Owasco Lake Association.
After holding the meetings, Senator Nozzolio worked with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to secure a signed consent order from the Village of Groton to reduce phosphorous discharge into Owasco Lake. The Village of Groton has also agreed to implement additional chemical treatments to water being discharged into Owasco Lake and is planning for an upgrade of their sewage treatment plant.
In addition, Senator Nozzolio will be assisting local governments, in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Institute, with the creation of a Lake stewardship to have authority and jurisdiction in water quality issues within the County.
Al Kozlowski of the Owasco Watershed Lake Association said, “We deeply appreciate Senator Nozzolio’s efforts to improve Owasco Lake. His leadership to rally the community is critical in implementing initiatives to ensure the long-term quality of Owasco Lake and the Finger Lakes.”
In 1994, Senator Nozzolio was successful in securing $1 million in state funding for the City of Auburn to repair the Owasco Lake seawall, which was seriously deteriorated and a critical environmental problem, and a $250,000 grant to enhance water quality in Cayuga County.
“Preserving and protecting the beauty and purity of Owasco Lake will benefit local residents, businesses, farmers, boaters, sportsmen, vacationers, and all those who visit and live along the lake. By investing in the preservation of Owasco Lake, we are investing in the regional economy and in the future of our communities. Assemblyman Gary Finch and I, in cooperation with local government officials, the Owasco Lake Association and The Finger Lakes Institute, will continue to work aggressively to address the critical issues threatening Owasco Lake,” concluded Senator Nozzolio.