‘Threats to the Finger Lakes’ – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

‘Threats to the Finger Lakes’

The Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) of Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host the 2014 Finger Lakes Research Conference titled “Threats to the Finger Lakes” on Friday, Nov. 21.

The Finger Lakes region is home to breathtaking vistas and more than 128 species of fish. Tourists, anglers and residents alike enjoy the multitude of national, state and county parks; more than 1,000 waterfalls; 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails; and 650 miles of shoreline that make this area unique and revered.

Unfortunately, the area also has long-documented concerns ranging from the consequences of climate change, to nutrient loading, to the seen and unseen effects of invasive species. On Nov. 21, the FLI will provide an opportunity to learn about the research conducted by those on the front lines of defense against these threats to the Finger Lakes and beyond.

The conference will commence with a welcome from the FLI Director Lisa Cleckner, followed by Professor of Enviornmental Studies John Halfman, who will present a picture of the broader threats to the Finger Lakes. Halfman is a well-known advocate of the Finger Lakes who teaches and researches such topics as geolimnology and hydrochemistry. Halfman has published on topics ranging from water quality and nutrient sources to hydrogeochemical budgets and ion concentrations of various waterbodies, to impact of invasive species on the Finger Lakes. Assistant Professor of Geoscience David Finkelstein will follow Halfman with a presentation covering the use of isotopes as assessors of climate change. Finkelstein has a background in biogeochemistry, stable isotope geochemistry, sedimentology and stratigraphy.

Ted Endreny, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering at SUNY ESF, will present along with his Ph.D. students and co-principal investigators on the new i-Tree tools for visualizing how trees can improve nutrient loading. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored project creates i-Tree landscape tools to simulate urban water, heat and pollution. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefit assessment tools. The tools help communities strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. Endreny manages an active lab with a the goal to provide resilient watershed systems that deliver needed ecosystem services for the welfare of humans and nature and respond to a changing critical zone and climate.

Janet Thigpen, certified facility manager, a flood mitigation specialist for the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, will present on floodplain management and how to manage your land to reduce adverse impacts of flooding. This is a timely issue given the recent flooding in areas such as Penn Yan and Avon, N.Y., this past spring and summer.

Jacques Rinchard, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at SUNY Brockport, has been involved with research to determine the lipid concentration and fatty acid signatures in Lake Ontario and Cayuga Lake fish. Rinchard has worked in the field of aquatic ecology for nearly 20 years and is a reviewer for more than 20 peer-reviewed journals ranging from Journal of Fish Biology to Environmental Biology of Fish. His current lab at Brockport contains six aquaculture ponds and a full aquaculture system where he studies culture techniques, manages broodstock, incubation and rearing of eggs, embryos, larvae, and juveniles on campus. Rinchard will present on the “Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology, Trophic Tracers, and Essential Nutrients” based on his extensive research in the field within the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes.

This year’s keynote will be delivered by Valerie Knoblach, president of the Finger Lakes Visitor’s Connection, who will make the connection between ecosystem services and Finger Lakes tourism. With degrees in English education from SUNY Oswego and an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Knoblach has more than 30 years of experiences ranging from adjunct professor at both RIT and Finger Lakes Community College to a writer of travel and tourism issues, and presenter at the national level on strategic planning, destination management, and marketing.  

Scott Stoner, chief of the Standards and Analytical Support Section in the Division of Water at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), will discuss the DEC’s proactive approach to reducing pharmaceuticals within waterways. Stoner has dedicated more than 26 years to public service with the DEC’s water quality standards program.

Rounding off the conference will be Carrie Brown-Lima and Chris Pennuto. Brown-Lima is the coordinator and senior extension associate at the New York Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University. She has 17 years of experience working with natural resource conservation and management with much of her work being carried out in Brazil and throughout Latin America. Pennuto is a professor in the Department Biology at and the Great Lakes Research Center at Buffalo State College, who will discuss “Round Gobies in Tributaries Streams; Seasonal Abundance, Community Effects, and Energy Consumption.” This will be an important presentation given the infestation of round goby in Cayuga Lake and other areas within the Finger Lakes.

Researchers are invited to present their work as part of the FLI poster session held concurrently with lunch. Presenters can share their work that covers threats to the Finger Lakes. The best undergraduate and graduate poster will receive an award.

In addition, the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM) will hold a meeting beginning at 2:45 p.m. The meeting will provide an opportunity for PRISM members and the community to hear from Steve Young, chief botanist for the New York Heritage and the coordinator for the Long Island Invasive Species Management program, and Steven Daniel, naturalist and botanist at Nature Discoveries in Rochester, N.Y. They will present about the highly invasive Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender falsebrome) infestation in Tompkins County. In addition, James Balyszak will provide an update on the Hydrilla infestation and control methods being undertaken at the South end of Cayuga Lake. Finally, Jessi Lyons and Kristina Ferrare, of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County, will provide an update of Hemlock woolly adelgid in Skaneateles watershed and the potential impact on the region. There will also be a presentation on the impact of agriculture pests on the region, which have a huge impact on our economy of the region.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be involved with FL-PRISM. Organizers urge all to work together to #stoptheinvasion #FLinvasives.org

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