Important local resource should be preserved, says FLI Director
The Finger Lakes Institute announced this week that it will support the conservation goals of the Coalition for Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, a Canandaigua, N.Y., based group that intends to preserve the valuable watershed around the pristine lakes, an area which is currently protected by the City of Rochester. The Institute has signed an appeal for conservation, joining a number of organizations and citizen stakeholders who are concerned about protecting these two small lakes, identified as the “last natural vestiges of the Finger Lakes region.
“These are the only remaining Finger Lakes that have not known development, a significant factor in the water quality demonstrated by these lakes and by which the Finger Lakes region’s scientific analysis can be compared. said Marion Balyszak, director of the Institute. “The City of Rochester has been an excellent steward of this resource but has recently been exploring its future plans concerning the lakes. We’d like to see that continued stewardship is assured for the future.
The approximately 7,200-acre property owned by the city is a valuable and increasingly rare area of mostly undisturbed wilderness that has served as a source of fresh water for the city since 1873. As undeveloped lakes with natural shorelines, the watershed serves as home to one of the few pairs of breeding bald eagles outside of the Adirondacks as well as a host of other species, some of which are rare or endangered.
Canadice and Hemlock lakes also possess areas of natural wetlands, which filter the water and bind nutrients, ensuring the continued quality of the area’s water as well as providing a critical link in the food chains and reproductive systems of the region’s native species.
In addition, the watershed is used as a “living laboratory by faculty and students from area institutions, with numerous opportunities for the study of limnology, hydrology, aquatic biology, wildlife management, soil sciences, geology, zoology and other disciplines.
Balyszak emphasized that FLI was supporting the request by the Coalition to sign an appeal because it is representative of an important conservation initiative critical to the future of these lakes. “When you review the history of protection that has been afforded this public water supply and the importance of ensuring continued public drinking water, it is obvious that joining in this appeal is not an alignment with a group. she said. “Instead, we’re aligning ourselves with the lakes and hoping for the best possible outcome for their unique ecosystems as well as the citizens of the Rochester-area, Finger Lakes region and New York State.
The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates the accumulated knowledge to the general public.