Explanations of a Watershed and its Development & Effect on Wildlife

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Seneca-Keuka Watershed Partnership announces progress in watershed plan
Seneca and Keuka Lakes contain more than 50 percent of the water of the 11 Finger Lakes, so protecting and promoting their water quality is important for the role they play in the background of our lives, and as local and regional economic drivers.
WHAT: A Nine-Element plan will be the subject of three more public presentations
WHEN: Oct. 7, 2021: 10 a.m. at Yates County Office Building, 417 Liberty St., Penn Yan: Overview of draft recommendations
WHEN: Feb. 3, 2022: 10 a.m. at Watkins Glen Community Center, 155 S. Clute Park Dr., Watkins Glen: Review of the completed draft plan
WHEN: April 25, 2022: 6 p.m. at Yates County Office Building, 417 Liberty St., Penn Yan: Unveiling the final State-approved plan

KWIC-KLOC Minutes 9-27-21

Chairman of KLOC, Mark Illig, called the meeting to order at 7:00PM with the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioners present were: Mark Illig (Pulteney), Leslie Church (Milo), Steve Perry (Barrington), Daryl Jones (Rep. Jerusalem), Leigh Mackerchar (Penn Yan), Bill Mahr (Wayne), and John Hoch (Hammondsport). The Town of Urbana was not represented. Chair Illig stated Tom Dunbar has resigned as the Town of Wayne Supervisor therefore cannot be a representive. Bill Mahr has been appointed Supervisor of Wayne. Chair Illig explained he can act currently as an honorary member with full privileges, except voting rights. If he is elected this November, he can become an official Commissioner. Yates County Soil & Water Colby Petersen and Gatekeeper KLOC Melissa Gerhardt were also present.
Guests that signed in: The Churches, Bill Laffin, Joe Miram, Greg Lechner, Mark Heard, Duane Gardner, Tim Smith, Zachary Stout, Jean and Roger Thompson, Linda Pizzo, Pat Rafalowski, Wayne Hand, Steve Bringham, Steve Butchko, Bill Weber, Mark Morris, Erica Giambra, Elizabeth White, Terry and Karin Mulhern.
On the agenda under non-KWIC/KLOC business, Chair Illig brought to attention previous discussion of the short-term rental industry and how the Commissioners were to speak to their Town Boards of any interest pursuing. He stated the Pulteney Town Board at their September 8th meeting appointed 2 representatives on behalf of Pulteney for further discussion. Leslie Church stated she was not at the last KWIK/KLOC meeting; however, she recognizes there is an issue that rentals are not local anymore and not just a problem on the lake. Local Town neighborhoods are changing. She believes it would be beneficial to form a group for discussion. Leigh Mackerchar commented standardized regulations could have benefits. Steve Perry did not think this was any particular Town’s responsibility to regulate, however he is willing to appoint a representative if pursuing. Daryl Jones mentioned the topic at the Jerusalem Town Board meeting with not a lot of comments received. He is unsure how to go about regulating as well. Bill Mahr will put on the October agenda to address with the Wayne Town Board.
Due to the unfortunate passing of Anne Green, the secretary position has remained open. The Commissioners reached out to their Town Clerk’s asking of any interest in filling. Chair Illig made motion seconded by Steve Perry to appoint Erica Giambra, Town Clerk of Pulteney, to a term of September 27, 2021-December 31, 2021. All in favor. Carried.
With Tom Dunbar’s resignation, the KWIK Chair position is open. Chair Illig made motion seconded by Daryl Jones to appoint Leslie Church to a term of September 27, 2021-December 31, 2021. All in favor. Carried.
It was decided to begin with the KLOC agenda. There were no minutes published to be approved from the July meeting. Pat Christensen sent out the Bookkeeper’s report today. Chair Illig noted there are no bills to be paid and approval of the KWIC forgiveness of the KLOC loan. Leslie Church made motion seconded by Leigh Mackerchar to accept the KLOC Bookkeeper’s report. All in favor. Carried.
Chair Illig gave a summary of KLOC’s management of the high-water event beginning August 17, 2021. He reported on the 17th 2 gates were open, by 6am on the 18th all 5 ½ gates were open, as gate 1 still needs repaired. It took 8-9 days for the water to return to mid-point level. In conclusion, he stated it was his responsibility and in hind sight the gates should have fully been opened the 17th rather than the following morning. Even so, will all the gates open, the water level results would have most likely made a difference in only a day and an approx. an inch.
Wayne Hand of KLA agreed reporting with the estimated peak level of 715.17, the levels may have been reduced by an inch if all gates had been opened at the onset of the storm.
To reinforce Wayne’s and Mark’s theory, Bill Weber provided a handout summarizing the events, including current lake level data, historical lake levels, and Seneca Lake level curve and current measurements. He stated the high-water event was practically unavoidable and the outcome could not have been anticipated.
Steve Butchko relayed, and tying into the 9E plan, that the events were a physics phenomenon. The water is known to be higher in Hammondsport flowing like a river.
Most correspondence of concerned residents Chair Illig receives, is due to low lake levels and residents not being able to get their boat off lift. To avoid this, they try to aim for the water level slightly above the median.
Valerie Newell, who lives on the Bluff, commented due to the numerous wave boats on the lake this summer, her shores are deteriorating and causing extreme destruction. She would like to see the lake level reduced on a permanent basis and managed during rain events.
Linda Pizzo commented the events were not unavoidable as the weather was being called for in advance of the storm. They should have been pre-emptive to lower the levels and be more planful. Since delayed, the storm caused mass destruction in areas.
Ray Dell, President of KLA, commented there should be specific KLOC policies and procedures for when events such as this occur. He stated the gates should have all been open on Tuesday being proactive rather than reactive. He feels we can do better and should be relying on the experts including the National Weather Service out of Binghamton.
Chair Illig noted the KLA should have contacted him to change the venue of the meeting due to the increase in guests and the Barrington Town Hall is one of the smallest venues.
Colby Peterson mentioned that soil saturation matters and this event recorded off the chart rain levels. There is also a requirement of minimum flow at the Penn Yan treatment plant that the level cannot be reduced past a certain point.
Robert Pickney stated the lake is higher now than it was 10-20 years ago. He wants the outlet dredged as it once was and there should be a protocol adjusting and maintaining the gates. Again, reiterating to listen to experts and be pre-emptive in forecasting.
Joe Miram remembers when they would dredge Sugar Creek. He believes the lake is not higher or lower, it depends on where you live on the lake, including how the bottom changes along with the sediments, not the lake level.
Terry Mulhern commented the weather is changing, including more thunderstorms. It would be wise to have a rolling 5-year graph presenting knowledge is power.
Roger Thompson noted he has lost 8-10 cubic yards of his property line due to the high-water event.
Chair Illig thanked everyone for their comments and feedback. He suggested for KLA to possibly provide education regarding docks/boats making sure residents are prepared for high-water events, including raising their boat as high off the lift as possible as well as anchoring docks if needed.
The KLOC Gatekeeper, Melissa Gerhardt, presented the Gatekeepers Report. They have received quotes from Elliott Engineering to isolate and clean out the track of wooden debris in Gate 1. The quote was for $48,000.00. She is awaiting other contractors. They are looking to have the project completed this fall. Gate 6 quote to repair is $45,000.00 for a new gate and $90,000.00 with labor. The gate is still functionable and is only used in emergencies and inspections. The Village of Penn Yan is willing to reweld charging labor only. This should be finished by December. It was mentioned there is leftover material of cofferdam blocks in a storage yard that can be used in repairing to lessen the expense.
Chair Illig proposed, using the KWIK/KLOC inspection results, to develop a short/long-term plan to address costs and timeline for repairs and an upgrade to the structure. A failure in reports will cause the inability of grant funding. Steve Butchko added the 9E Plan however raises the bar in receiving grants.
KLA had asked for data regarding the harmful algae blooms which Melissa has sent. The DOH and Penn Yan Water Plant are still working to determine the impact of the algae blooms to the plant’s intake. Keuka Lake is the only lake within the Water Plant to test positive for HAB’s.
Gates 1 & 2 will be closed temporarily since levels are close to midpoint to remove a snagged tree.
Steve Butchko invites all to an in person or zoom meeting on October 7th at 10:00am to listen to the experts regarding the Seneca-Keuka Watershed 9E Plan. The meeting will be held at the Yates County Office Building. Additional meetings include February 3rd and April 25th.
Chair Illig made motion seconded by Leigh Mackerchar to adjourn the KLOC meeting. All in favor. Meeting adjourned 8:24pm.
KWIC Chair Church reported there are no published minutes for July nor bills to pay. There was a donation made on behalf of KWIK/KLOC in memory of Anne Green. Chair Illig made motion seconded by Daryl Jones to accept the KWIC Bookkeepers’ report. All in favor. Carried.
Colby Peterson provided the Manager’s Report. He had emailed the KWIC inspection report, noting in particular past due septic inspections in Hammondsport and Urbana. Colby stated Soil & Water is willing and able to help with these inspections, taking care of some issues since there has been a lack of communication. Down the road, it is a possibility for Colby and Soil & Water to take over all inspections, especially as more Code Enforcer’s retire.
Colby mentioned Gwen Chamberlain is willing to write 12 articles at $100.00 per article for KWIK/9E Plan. The agreement for services was provided to the Commissioners. It is the same contract that Ontario County enacted with her services. After discussing, Leigh Mackerchar made motion seconded by Chair Illig to enter into the agreement for services with Gwen Chamberlain effective until December 31, 2022 as presented. All in favor. Carried.
We are in the process of rebuilding the email distribution list. Please provide your contact info to Erica at pultclk@yahoo.com.
With nothing further heard, Chair Illig made motion seconded by Daryl Jones to adjourn the KWIK meeting. All in favor. Carried. Meeting adjourned 8:40pm.
Next meeting: November 22, 2021 Wayne Town Hall 7:00pm.

Water Quality
Water Quality

Steep Slopes
Steep Slopes

Sustainable Building
Sustainable Building

Preserving Viewsheds
Preserving Viewsheds

Preserve Agriculture
Preserve Agriculture

Smart Growth
Smart Growth

Good Time for Lawn Weed Control
Use of corn gluten as a Lawn Fertilizer

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Lake Level & Ice - Winter 2014

Keuka Lake Water Level Management

Keuka Lake Watershed Protection Plan ('96) - Introduction

Keuka Lake Watershed Protection Plan ('96) - Watershed Management Plan

Keuka Lake Watershed Protection Plan ('96) - Watershed Description

Keuka Lake Watershed Protection Plan ('96) - Findings & Recommendations

Keuka Lake Looking Ahead - A Community Listens to the Lake

Land Use Action Plan - 2009

Watershed Description

Watershed Management

What is a Watershed?

To Preserve and Protect Keuka Lake