Colleges and Professor Honored for Efforts to Protect and Preserve Seneca Lake – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges and Professor Honored for Efforts to Protect and Preserve Seneca Lake

The Colleges were awarded Seneca Lake Protector, director of environmental studies John Halfman was awarded Seneca Lake Watershed Steward, and biology professor James Ryan was elected to a three-year term on the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association board of directors.

August 27, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—During its annual meeting, held August 7 at the Belhurst Castle, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA) honored Hobart and William Smith Colleges with the Seneca Lake Protector Award, and bestowed upon John Halfman, professor of geoscience and director of environmental studies at the Colleges, the Seneca Lake Watershed Steward Award.

The Seneca Lake Protector Award is presented each year for efforts of an individual or agency that serves to protect and preserve Seneca Lake and that provides a substantial contribution to addressing a particular area or issue that is important to water quality, economic viability and quality of life in the watershed.

The Colleges’ departments of geoscience and biology have for years been addressing water quality issues through monitoring and research programs to assess various pollution impacts and the impacts of invasive species, such as the zebra mussel. Support was also received from the departments of political science and economics. In addition, the Colleges provide one to three interns each semester to work in the SLPWA office on particular projects related to Seneca Lake Protection.

The Colleges have underwritten critical lake research for nearly a decade at a cost estimated to be between $30,000 and $50,000 annually.

The Seneca Lake Watershed Steward Award was presented to Halfman for his ongoing efforts to preserve the water quality of the Seneca Lake Watershed and the quality of life within the watershed through research programs underway at the Colleges.

Halfman’s study of Seneca Lake and its tributaries includes weekly monitoring of the lake and key tributaries to assess the impact of the zebra mussels (and now the quagga mussel) on the limnology, ecology and hydrochemistry of the lake. Halfman initiated further sampling of tributaries and lakeshore sites this summer for nutrients and bacterial inputs from failing or inadequate septic systems.

A member of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association Board of Directors, Halfman also serves on the Oversight Committee of Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties, the collaborative working group for Seneca Lake Watershed management.

The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association annual meeting also included the election of James Ryan, professor of biology at the Colleges, to a three-year term on the Board of Directors. Ryan accepted both awards on behalf of the recipients.

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