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Institute provides watershed practices

GENEVA—Concern over how to use the land and its effects on the watershed attracted close to 100 people to the Finger Lakes Institute’s day-long symposium.
Representatives from town and village governments, lake associations and area organizations attended Land Use in the Finger Lakes: Making the Right Decisions to Sustain Economic Viability and Water Quality, Oct. 30.
One of the biggest things Sue Lange, from Barrington’s planning board, took away from the event was the impact increased construction can have on the Finger Lakes.
“Not that it’s bad, but how it’s done makes a big difference,” said Lange. “They don’t do it deliberately, but they do it because they don’t know.”
Lange learned that spreading a dense population over a bigger area can be more damaging to the watershed than keeping a population clustered in a smaller area. This is happening in Canandaigua because it is closer to Rochester.
Lange said people need to find a way to meet this desire yet still protect the watershed. She found the software used by the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology interesting and potentially useful. Lange said the same technology is good for examining steep slopes. However, it is not used in this area.
“Two million gallons of water are drawn (from the lakes) every day. It’s really an important thing to protect that. Our water is a valuable resource,” said Loretta Hopkins, board member for the town of Jerusalem.
Hopkins also picked up some useful information from John Nolon’s presentation on conservation. Nolon is a professor of law at Pace University. Hopkins said Jerusalem is working on putting away money for conservation, something she has been working on for a few months now. One of the things he had suggested to her was that Jerusalem should establish a local conservation board.
There was also a presentation at the event about steep slopes in Jerusalem, something Hopkins already knew quite a lot about. The other people present learned of Jerusalem’s law on how they manage construction on slopes of land 15 percent or greater. Lange hopes that Barrington will adopt a steep slopes law like Jerusalem’s.
Information on steep slopes was also important to Freeman Freeman, Barrington board member. He said the technology presented to them could be very helpful in planning where and how to build.
“I was interested in drilling issues,” said Hopkins. “I wasn’t acquainted at all with the storm water regulations.”
That presentation covered Marcellus Shale. Hopkins said one suggested way to protect the area was a moratorium on drilling. She explained that one of the issues was where the water goes after it is put into the gas wells to get the gas out.
“I had a lot of people come up to me and wanted more details on our experience and what they should be concerned about,” said Freeman, about natural gas drilling in Barrington. “A lot of people did not know about the issues around gas drilling.”
The other area Freeman found useful from the symposium was the networking opportunities it provided everyone, not just within Yates County. Governments and groups in the area share a lot of the same issues and by sharing those experiences with others, they can help each other.. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE. ARTICLE TEXT GOES HERE

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