Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



The Seneca Lake Watershed management planning process began in 1996 with the development of the "Seneca Lake Watershed Study: Developing An Understanding of An Important Natural Resource." The study called for an in-depth description and analysis to determine watershed health. an education and awareness program to educate local residents about watershed issues and stimulate their interest in protecting Seneca Lake, development of a coalition for cooperation and participation in watershed projects, and development of a plan for the watershed and its residents to achieve the following goal:

"To protect and enhance Seneca Lake and its surrounding watershed through the encouragement of sound management practices and cooperation at the local level to develop a comprehensive approach for Improving the quality of life and water in the Seneca Lake Watershed."

Completion of the preliminary watershed study was instrumental in the creation of the Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties (SLAP-S). Comprised of representatives from local, regional, state, and federal agencies as well as concerned citizens, the group serves as the Oversight Committee for the Seneca Lake Watershed Management Planning process. As part of that process, a comprehensive report, "Setting A Course for Seneca Lake," was completed in 1999.

Maintaining high water quality in Seneca Lake is a major purpose of watershed planning. This Executive Summary highlights key findings of the Report. It describes the current "state of the watershed" research, outlines potential threats to water quality in the-watershed, and summarizes the importance of public and municipal government education and outreach efforts.

Watershed protection necessarily contains a large educational component that provides a connection to peoples' lives and can include a variety of audiences such as various interest-groups, school children, local government, farmers, cottage-owners, developers, businesses, municipal water drinkers, industries, highway superintendents, anglers and boaters. Undertaking an intense public outreach and education program to cement stakeholder participation in the next phases of the planning process is the next step in the Seneca Lake Watershed Project and "Setting A Course for Seneca Lake" forms a solid foundation for the hard work of planning and implementation that lies ahead.



"Setting a Course for Seneca Lake, the State of the Seneca Lake Watershed- 1999 .. is the result of several years of effort by the Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties (SLAP-S). The project could-not have been accomplished without the involvement of the participating agencies and numerous funding sources contributing direct financial as well as in-kind support. Major contributors to the research, editing, and production of this report are also listed below. Thanks goes to everyone who helped review this document.

Funding Sources

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Clean Water Act Section 604(b) Water Quality Planning funds and Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation funds

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee
through the Clean Water Act Section 319 for the Agricultural Environmental Management Inventory and Assessment Project and the Critical Roadbank Inventory

New York State Environmental Bond Act
for the Seneca Lake Road Stabilization Project

New York State Environmental Protection Fund
for the Seneca Lake Nutrient Project and the Agricultural Inventory and Assessment Project

The Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance
for the Seneca Lake Watershed Environmental Risk Survey and Assessment

The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Fund
for Watershed Education Support

Open Space Institute
for the initial Watershed Study and the Watershed Education Project

The Tripp Foundation
for Watershed Education Support

Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District

Chemung County Water Quality Strategy Committee

Ontario County

Ontario County Water Resources Council

Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District

Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District

Schuyler County Water Quality Committee

Seneca County Soil and Water Conservation District

Seneca County Water Quality Committee

Yates County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District

Yates County Water Resources Alliance

With additional in-kind support provided by:

Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board