Seward Delivers Funding To Protect Owasco Lake

OWASCO, 04/03/14 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today announced that the new  2014-15 state budget includes, at his insistence, $200,000 to implement the Dutch Hollow Brook Watershed Restoration Project.

“This grant protects Cayuga County’s natural resources and is a cost-effective down payment on our future,” said Senator Seward.  “Owasco Lake provides drinking water to 50,000 residents. Additionally, it is the central feature of the local landscape and economy.  We need to ensure its viability and vitality today and for generations to come.”

Dutch Hollow Brook is the second largest tributary of the Owasco Lake watershed.  A 2008 report listed the Owasco Lake water supply as “possibly threatened.”  A 2012 water quality survey determined that water quality in Owasco Lake has remained one of the worst of the eight easternmost Finger Lakes since 2005.

“The data clearly show the need for action.  By embarking on multiple stream bed improvement projects in the towns of Niles and Owasco, we can achieve immediate progress and establish a model for long-term recovery,” Seward added.

The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) will oversee the Dutch Hollow Brook Watershed Restoration Project which will include:

• The implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) to address and alleviate nutrient loading to Dutch Hollow Brook;

• Stream bank stabilization and debris removal;

• Water quality monitoring.

Assemblyman Gary Finch said, “I am pleased that I was able to work together with Senator Seward and our local environmental professionals to identify this key need.  This $200,000 state budget appropriation will shore up essential water quality protection measures along the Dutch Hollow Brook.”

Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation (SWCD) District Executive Director Doug Kierst said, “Senator Seward has once again shown that protecting the environment and preserving Cayuga County’s water quality is important to him. The SWCD believes that the funding acquired by Senator Seward for this implementation and monitoring project is a great step towards a multi-faceted watershed initiative geared towards the protection of Owasco Lake, the drinking water source for the majority of the residents in Cayuga County.  This is great news and an excellent first step.”

Owasco Watershed Lake Association President Charles Greene said, “Owasco Lake is the gem of the Finger Lakes.  Senator Seward recognizes this and his advocacy will help promote this message and improve water quality for both drinking and full recreational use.  This project is a positive step and one OWLA fully endorses.”