Septic System Survey Open Now

Calling all Septic System Owners in CNY.  The SUNY College of Environmental Science (ESF) in Syracuse, NY would like to hear about homeowner septic experiences for a DEC-sponsored research study on septic system management. ESF professor Sharon Moran and student Mackenzie Gregg’s project seeks to learn more about how septic systems are managed in the area to help clarify any problems with septic system management and what could be done to improve it. Responses are encouraged from residents of Cayuga, Cortland, and Onondaga counties. Complete ESF’s online survey available by clicking here, which takes only about ten minutes. Names are entered to win a gift card.

If you’re interested in further discussion, contact to register for an in-person or virtual focus group.” A Septic System Survey Flyer is available and this info is also posted on the New York Septic Study website.

Grant Tips

 By Aaron McKeon and Michele Wunderlich

On March 1, 2023 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Water held a webinar on “Navigating Grant Funding: Municipal Success Stories”. The presentation featured municipal officials from around New York State discussing their success strategies for applying for and managing grant funds.  Access a recording of the webinar here:

Subjects discussed in this 90-minute webinar include:

  • Using multiple grants to fund a project,
  • Developing local support for a project,
  • Building relationships with local partners,
  • Using in-kind services to meet match requirements,
  • Using grant funds to pay for staff, and
  • Tips for first-time grant applicants.

On April 19, 2023, Kate Black and Greg Hutnik gave a presentation at the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (CWIO) on project development, grant management and funding opportunities.

  • Kate (Hogle) Black, a Coastal Resource Specialist with the NYS Department of State (DOS), Office of Planning, Development & Community Infrastructure spoke about DOS grant funding opportunities, and tips on successful grant applications and management.
  • Greg Hutnik, a Senior Planner & GIS Analyst with the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development spoke on project development, grant writing, grant administration, and how the county assists municipalities with grants.

This presentation is available for viewing on the new Cayuga County WQMA YouTube Channel at

Helping our Hemlocks: An Update on Research and Actions to Protect Hemlocks in Skaneateles

Helping our Hemlocks
Helping our Hemlocks

Onondaga Cornell Cooperative, with support from the City of Syracuse, hosted a presentation on February 22nd sharing research and actions focused on protecting Hemlock trees in the Skaneateles watershed and across NY State from Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect that kills Hemlocks.

Link to presentation:

The NYS Hemlock Initiative shared research updates on HWA, including different biocontrol options. The program also provided an update on the independent work of both Skaneateles Lake Association, and Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District in treating Hemlocks in high priority steep ravines in the Skaneateles watershed, on both public and private property.

As a “foundation” species, hemlocks play a critical ecological role, providing many ecosystem services including protection of water quality. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an insect native to Asia that lives and feeds on Hemlock trees. HWA infested trees typically die about 6-20 years after infestation.

The Water Bulletin

By Grascen Shidemantle, Executive Director, Community Science Institute

The Water Bulletin is Community Science Institute’s (CSI’s) annual newsletter where readers learn about the inspiring work of CSI’s dedicated volunteers who monitor water quality in the Cayuga Lake watershed and beyond. In the 2022 edition, we focus on the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and how CSI’s community-centered approach to water quality monitoring reflects the spirit of the CWA. Readers will also learn about the impacts of weather and climate change on monitoring stream water quality and harmful algal bloom (HAB) formation on Cayuga Lake. Next, we cover CSI’s free 4-H2O Youth Education Program, which focused this year on the “journey of water” as it moves throughout the water cycle. Finally, we highlight CSI’s staff, including our newest members, who work hard every day to make a difference in our watershed and beyond.

To view The Water Bulletin 2022 edition and past editions, please go to