Finger Lakes watershed projects get $350K from DEC

Jan 01, 2024 at 05:03 pm by Observer-Review

seneca lake
FINGER LAKES--New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced $350,000 in grant awards to help partners restore and protect water quality last week. The eight projects funded through DEC’s Finger Lakes Watershed Grants Program complement federal, private, and DEC grant programs, as well as achieve the goals outlined in the Great Lakes Action Agenda and aid the implementation of clean water plans in the Finger Lakes. This is the first round of grants awarded through the program.
“The Finger Lakes region is an environmental, recreational, and economic treasure and investing in sustainable watershed practices in the Finger Lakes and across the state is essential for safeguarding water quality, restoring ecosystem health, and bolstering community resilience,” said Seggos. “The $350,000 grants awarded today will help advance key projects in the Finger Lakes watershed to improve water quality, promote thriving fish and wildlife habitats, and implement sustainable watershed practices benefiting the region’s communities and economy vitality.”  
The grants awarded will help municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, colleges and universities, and not-for-profit organizations fund projects designed to preserve and protect the Finger Lakes watershed. DEC’s Finger Lakes Watershed Hub administers the grants as part of its work to promote enhanced collaboration and coordination with scientific expertise to find solutions necessary to better understand, protect, and address the water quality issues confronting the Finger Lakes.  
The Finger Lakes watershed is contained in the Seneca-Oneida-Oswego and Genesee River drainage watersheds, which ultimately flow north to Lake Ontario.  
Funding will be used to implement projects to restore and protect water quality by monitoring and supporting research to better understand and address the issues and vulnerabilities facing the Finger Lakes; planning and implementing best management practices; and supporting education and outreach programs to increase public understanding of Finger Lakes natural resources, build community involvement, and encourage future stewardship.
Some of the local awards include:
• Hobart and William Smith Colleges: Research and monitoring supporting the Seneca-Keuka Watershed Nine Element Plan assessment and implementation, $50,000: A project in the Seneca-Keuka watershed will enhance the understanding of nutrient concentrations and sources leading to better practices to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen loadings to Seneca and Keuka lakes.
• Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District: Seneca Lake sediment/nutrient reduction, $50,000: A project in the Seneca Lake watershed to stabilize an eroded and destabilized stream through best practices to reduce sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus loadings into Seneca Lake.
• Town of Canandaigua: Hydroseeder purchase for Canandaigua Lake watershed road ditch stabilization and watershed resiliency projects, $50,000: A project in the Canandaigua watershed to support the purchase of equipment to stabilize road ditch erosion to reduce substantial sediment and nutrient loadings into Canandaigua streams and lake.
• Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District: Castle Creek Water Management Project, $50,000: A project in the Seneca Lake watershed to design and construct water and sediment control basins for stormwater management and flood reduction as well as engage the community in resiliency practices.
• Ontario County: Honeoye Lake boat wash station and aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention project, $39,985: A project that engages the public in the prevention of aquatic invasive species through the installation of a self-service boat wash facility at the Honeoye Lake State Marine Boat Launch.
• Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association: Canandaigua Lake Watershed Education Program: Engaging Students and the Community in Lake Stewardship, $27,622: A project that expands science-driven educational programs for both elementary and secondary students within the three school districts in the Canandaigua Lake watershed.
For more information on the Finger Lakes Watershed Hub, the geographic focus of the Finger Lakes Watershed Grants Program, and more, visit DEC’s website at:
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