Honeoye Lake Watershed Public Awareness and Education Project
Honeoye Lake Watershed, NY

Grantee: Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $12,000
Non-federal Funds: $6,000
Project Duration: 06/1998 - 06/1999
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Public information surveys indicate that there is considerable concern about water quality in the Honeoye Lake watershed. Despite this concern, the level of watershed and water quality knowledge is minimal. The Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District proposed developing a comprehensive publication for the watershed to be used as an educational guide to protect the watershed's natural resources. The book promotes landowner commitment to specific soil erosion and sedimentation reduction actions.

Steep bank hydroseeding and mulching.

Background
The Honeoye Lake Watershed Management Committee formed as a result of a public survey carried out by a local college. The survey indicated concern among the public about water quality issues related to recreation, such as sedimentation and aquatic vegetation control. Despite concern about these issues, the level of watershed and water quality knowledge was minimal. Most respondents suggested short-term solutions to the problems, such as dredging or weed harvesting. The management committee intends to develop a watershed plan, however, the lack of a strong public understanding of the intricacies of these issues could inhibit the success of a plan.

Given strong community concern about water quality issues in the Honeoye Lake watershed and public interest in learning more about them, the conservation district proposed developing an education strategy to raise public awareness. The primary focus of the strategy will be a book outlining the impact of human actions on water quality issues and provide information on issues such as water supply, testing and treatment, drainage and runoff, household chemicals, private septic tanks and shoreline development.

Activities
The conservation district recruited a sub-committee of the Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force to develop an outline and contents for the Honeoye Lake Book. Technical members of the Task Force reviewed the data and research while other members of the team sorted graphics, digitized maps, illustrations and photographs for the publication. The final product, 1,000 copies of the Honoeye Lake Book was completed on June 30, 1999.

Much of the information developed for the Honeoye Lake Book was also presented in fact sheet form and used at conferences, forums and local meetings. The fact sheets were also distributed throughout the watershed.

The process of developing the book enhanced public awareness about water quality impacts even before the final product was available. The project also involved the collaborative efforts of a diverse range of stakeholders within the watershed. In the process, it created a number of new and healthy working relationships that will be required for future projects. All the involved Task Force members have gained a strong working knowledge of water quality issues from their work and interpretation of the data.

Rip-rap rock ditch stabilization.

Results
The Honeoye Lake Watershed Public Awareness and Education Project has produced positive results. Over 1,000 residents of the watershed received copies of the Honeoye Lake Book. Public interest generated by this process has made possible several workshops on shoreline concerns through a recent Protected Shores grant. Five of the six watershed townships support the watershed management process and have contributed funds to a tributary sampling and monitoring program and other research projects. In addition, existing ordinances are being reviewed by the Honeoye Lake Watershed Trust and new models drafted addressing stormwater management, septic systems and logging controls. These models will be offered to watershed municipalities for approval and adoption. The conservation district anticipates ongoing educational opportunities including workshops on forestry and additional public meetings.

Contact: Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District, (716) 396-1450

 

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