Cayuga Lake Watershed Network

2016 Annual & August Meeting & Picnic

August 17 (rain date August 18).

5-9 pm at Long Point State Park, Aurora, off Route 90 on the lake’s east shore.

Members and supporters all are welcome to attend! Come find out more about the Network, and how you can get involved in protecting our lake and creeks.               

YES families! RSVPs welcome but not required –

Picnic, 5 pm:

We grill hot dogs, burgers, black bean burgers, & provide fixins’. Please bring a dish, snack, dessert, beverage to share. Plates, cutlery, & cups provided.

Annual Meeting, 6 pm:

Reports to the Membership about the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network’s past year, accomplishments, and goals. With brief presentations by the Steward and Staff, members of the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs.

Ithaca videographer David O. Brown will give an informal presentation about the Jennings Pond Project.

Election by the Membership of new and returning Board members.

Three new Board members have been approved by the Board for 2016 election to three-year terms, to represent the listed counties. Their biographies are provided below.

Mel Russo (Seneca County)

Neil Schwartzbach (Tompkins County)

Katherine Graham (Cayuga County)


August Board Meeting, 7 pm:

The Board will elect officers for 2016-7 and conduct other business.

Please stay to relax, eat, drink, chat and enjoy the lake at this beautiful spot.

Information about Long Point State Park:


Biographies of three new Board member nominees

Carmelo “Mel” Russo 

Born in Geneva NY on May 5, 1946


Graduate of DeSales High School in 1964

Graduate of S.U.N.Y. Brockport in 1968 with B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry.

Graduate classes in biology including ornithology, ecology, and natural history at Cornell University and several other graduate summer institutes in the area accumulating an additional 40+/- graduate credit hours in biology.

Work experience

*Teaching assistant S.U.N.Y. Brockport limnology, ichthyology, general biology (1967-68).

*High school biology and chemistry instructor at Romulus Central School (1968-1988).

*Owner/operator 112 acre cash crop farm (1972-2010) Town of Varick, Seneca County.

*Owner/operator shoreline and dock building business (1980-1989.)

*Licensed Real Estate agent Century 21, Seneca Falls NY (1983-1989).

*Founder/Broker/Owner Senecayuga Properties Real Estate firm, Seneca Falls NY (1990-present).

As a youngster I frequented the shores of Seneca Lake and Marsh Creek, a tributary to the north end of the lake. In 1968 I moved to Poplar Beach on the west shore of Cayuga Lake to accommodate my teaching career. In 1969 I moved to East Varick, again living on the Cayuga Lake's west shore. In 2010, five years after a divorce (following a 39 year marriage), I moved to Kidders, in the Sheldrake area of Cayuga Lake where I built a house on 11.5 acres fronted by 112 feet of the lake. I have been a

Cayuga Lake west shore resident for 48 years; enjoying and observing it daily. I am currently single. I am the father of three sons and five granddaughters who enjoy the lake.

Additional info in cover note:

I am flattered to be considered for the Cayuga Lake Watershed Board of Directors.

To the best of my ability, I have developed a biography/resume for your consideration. Keep in mind, I have been mostly away from academia and such things as resumes for 30 or more years. My employment history has been rather stable. Several careers were overlapping and concurrent in order to make ends meet as a teacher, and father of three children, all of whom attended major Universities. (Cornell, Notre Dame, and Syracuse).

Although I have served as member and chairman of several citizen and municipal organizations during my time, I am currently only serving as vice chairman of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway Board of Directors in addition to running a full time business. Furthermore I am a member of the Ithaca Board of Realtors as well as the Greater Rochester, New York State, and National Boards of Realtors.

I am a life-long resident of the Finger Lakes area. To write a 70 year resume is kind of tough but it is nevertheless attached herewith. My education experience is somewhat meager but I have many years of various practical experiences to bring to the board.

Neil Schwartzbach

The principal grant writer and trainer for GOT ( ) is Neil Schwartzbach. Until his retirement from Cornell University in 2009, Neil was the Senior Coordinator for Grants and Outreach in Cornell’s American Indian Program (AIP). 

Prior to his work at AIP, Neil was the Research Coordinator at Cornell’s Community and Rural Development Institute and the NY Farm Viability Institute. While at Cornell, Neil worked with faculty and staff on over 50 grant proposals to federal and state agencies and foundations, generating approximately $5 million in research and community education and program funding.

Before joining Cornell in 1994, Neil was executive director of Business Partnership for Peace; in four years he transformed the organization’s financial resource base from a deficit of $15,000 to an unencumbered budget of $350,000. In his grant writing, training and coaching, Neil has worked with university faculty, community educators, not-for-profit agencies and graduate and undergraduate students.

Before his work in the grant-seeking world, Neil was a lecturer in the departments of history at Cornell University and Elmira College and in the writing programs at Cornell and Ithaca College. He holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany and a M. A. in American History from Cornell.

Katherine Graham

I have lived in the Finger Lakes region for nearly 33 years. Prior to that I lived in New Hampshire, where I completed my undergraduate degree and worked for several years. I came to central NY to get a Masters in Agricultural Economics at Cornell, and although my intent was to return to New England upon the completion of my degree, the beauty of the area and a job opportunity convinced me to stay.

For the past 28 years, I have worked at SUNY Cortland, first as a lecturer and currently as an instructor. I am in the Economics Dept and teach an Excel based business course as well as an introductory Economics courses.

I have always been interested in the juxtaposition of economics and the environment.

Although all the lakes in this region are special, I consider Cayuga Lake to be “my” lake. Every day, as I look east from my house, I see a beautiful view of the lake and the opposite shore. My kids and dogs have spent many hot afternoons wading and playing along its beaches. I am always enchanted when the lake fog rises on cold mornings, and driving north toward Montezuma, I marvel at the many osprey nesting sites and the beautiful scenic views.

While Cayuga Lake is integral to the vitality of this area, I know there are many pressures that might jeopardize its health: invasive species, water quality issues, the competing desires from a diverse group of stakeholders and more. I look forward to being part of a group that is dedicated to protecting this beautiful treasure.