Yates will get grant focusing on lake health
YATES COUNTY--The office of U.S. Congressman Tom Reed announced Yates County will receive a $195,227 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant provided through the Great Lakes Commission. The grant has been designated for the Sediment and Nutrient Reduction in the Headwaters of the Oswego River Watershed, Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District.
"Yates County is pleased to receive this grant funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," said Nonie Flynn, Yates County administrator. "Sediment and nutrient reduction is imperative to restore and maintain the health of our lakes, not only for recreational purposes, but also for water that is safe to drink and fish that are safe to eat. This funding will help implement agriculture practices that will ultimately lead to improved water quality in our lakes for continued recreation, eating and drinking."
While the grant was issued through the Great Lakes Commission, Reed pointed out the money will be used to ensure the health of the Finger Lakes.
"The Finger Lakes region is such a special place to all of us," said Reed in a prepared statement. "This grant ensures that the best practices are being used to improve water quality and protect the area we hold so dear. We always want to make sure that the Finger Lakes are protected and healthy."
According to the Great Lakes Commission, "This project will implement a diverse mix of best management practices in the headwaters of the Oswego River watershed. Practices include cover crops, grassed waterways, diversions, and other practices aimed at managing runoff. Much of the watershed's agriculture lies within the Finger Lakes region in the western headwaters area. The Finger Lakes is among the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in New York state. However, agriculture has also been identified as a principal source of nutrient and sediment loading in watershed management documents covering the area."
Nutrient loading, which is a result of runoff and agriculture, is the process where too many nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus accumulate in bodies of water, acting like fertilizer and resulting in excessive growth of algae. This can deplete oxygen in bodies of water while also resulting in toxins produced by the algae choking off all local plants, fish, amphibians and anything else that depends on that water source.
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, "nutrient pollution is one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems."
Despite that difficulty, Sharon M. Jackson, chair of the Great Lakes Commission and deputy general counsel to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, said she is confident the issues can be addressed by bringing everyone together to face the problem.
"Bringing together national, state, and local partners is key to protecting the Great Lakes and the economies they support," said Jackson in a prepared statement, adding, "The Great Lake Commission is proud to provide these grants to help organizations improve water quality in their communities."