Water issues of local concern: Presentations from our November 3, 2018 Community Conference. 

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network provides two community conferences each year, focused on water issues of local concern. Our spring conference is held at the north end of Cayuga Lake; our fall conference is held at the south end. This year’s November 3 conference in Ithaca was well attended. The audience question and answer sessions were as lively and contentious as the presentations.

Available at the links below are the conference presentations, with information on our presenters, and additional resources (as they become available.)   

Roxy Johnston, City of Ithaca  “Harmful Algal Blooms & Planning for the Future”  Roxanna Johnston, City of Ithaca watersheds coordinator and lab director for the Ithaca Water Treatment Plant, reported on new planning efforts underway to manage Harmful Algal Blooms and other looming global change impacts to Six Mile Creek’s watershed, source of the City of Ithaca’s water supply. 

Elizabeth Moran, Ecologic, LLC. “The ‘Plumbing’ of the Lake’s South End” Elizabeth Moran, executive director of EcoLogic LLC, reported about planning for stormwater impact reduction to Ithaca, by working with upstream/uphill municipalities. Four major creeks drain steeply downhill through Ithaca to Cayuga Lake, and the frequency of extreme rain and snow events is on the rise.
 
David Weinstein, Cornell University “Freese Road: Protecting Fall Creek Valley & Historic, One-Lane Bridge, Varna”  David Weinstein, Cornell University, reported on a proposed bridge replacement project for Fall Creek in Varna with a new two-lane bridge that would be far more vulnerable to flooding and extreme weather events than the present historic one-lane bridge. The present bridge, just upstream of Cornell University, is the keystone to protection of the Fall Creek valley’s trails, wetlands, human and natural heritage.
 
John Burger, Tai Chi teacher, Environmental & Labor Activist  “Lead pollution in Salmon Creek, Ludlowville, Lansing” Documents & links coming soon. Community activists John Burger, Karen Edelstein and Ludlowville residents reported on the apparent failure of the Town of Lansing, NYS DEC and US EPA to require mitigation of fifty years of lead bullet deposition in and adjacent to Salmon Creek by the Lansing Road and Gun Club.
 
Hilary Lambert, CLWN Steward “A List of Concerns for Cayuga Lake & Call for Unified Work to Protect our Waters” Documents & links coming soon. Hilary Lambert, Executive Director of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, stressed that we must be protective of water resources in the face of today’s extreme weather events that are harbingers of global change. Farmers are already dealing with the impacts of changing seasons, as are birds, wildlife, trees - all of the natural world. Our presently abundant, clean, free water will need vigilant protection.
 
Steve Penningroth and Nathaniel Launer,  Community Science Institute  “The 2018 Harmful Algal Blooms Monitoring Program on Cayuga Lake”  Nathaniel Launer, public outreach coordinator for the Community Science Institute, reported on the just-completed Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) monitoring season around Cayuga Lake. He said that we have learned a lot - but we are just getting started on understanding and controlling HABs outbreaks. 
 
John Dennis, CLEAN (Cayuga Lake Environmental Action Now) “Salt Impacts to Cayuga Lake”  John Dennis, CLEAN, (Cayuga Lake Environmental Action Now), and Brian Eden, Tompkins County Environmental Quality Commission, reported on impacts of salt on Cayuga Lake from the Cargill Salt Mine operations in Lansing. The public is encouraged to attend the 11/26 hearing at 1:30 pm, Tompkins County Courthouse, Ithaca NY, to consider the merits of requiring an environmental impact process prior to mine expansion under the lake.
 
Irene Weiser, Fossil Free Tompkins  “The Cayuga Power Plant and the Full Life Cycle Impacts of Methane”  Irene Weiser, Fossil Free Tompkins, presented on the impacts and dangers to our communities of having hundreds of gas transport trucks on our roads if the Cayuga Power Plant switches from coal to fracked gas. She stressed the urgent need to switch immediately from fossil fuels to renewables energy sources, to avoid breaching the point of no return into global warming levels with catastrophic effects.