The Finger Lakes Institute has received funding in the amount of $ 3,500 from Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association that will enable John Halfman, professor of geoscience, to expand his current water testing field sites in Seneca Lake to include locations in the central and southern portions of the lake, among them Catharine Creek, a critical tributary in the southern portion of the watershed. Prior to receipt of the grant, water testing for nutrient concentrations and other water quality indicators in Seneca Lake was limited to the northern end of the lake. Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is the grassroots environmental steward for the Seneca Lake Watershed.
The expansion to sites located every four-to-five miles along the lake will provide a definitive measure of the impact of leachate from landfills, dumps, inactive hazardous waste sites, mined lands and petroleum bulk storage facilities – the bulk of which are located in the mid- and southern regions of the Seneca Lake watershed. According to a State of the Seneca Lake Watershed Report in 1999, 60 percent of the chemical and petroleum bulk storage facilities in the watershed are in the mid-to-southern region.
The expansion of the Halfman’s program is critical at this point in time, because it will also create a baseline to assess the impact of possible Marcellus Shale drilling on Seneca Lake. This project will supply essential data to support the upcoming State of the Seneca Lake Watershed Report 2012-for which Halfman is the lead author for the water quality and limnology section –and the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council’s Seneca Lake Watershed Management Plan.