2024 Bob Brower Owasco Lake Scientific Symposium “Our Lake Our Legacy”

The 2024 Bob Brower Owasco Lake Scientific Symposium will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at Auburn Public Theater at 8 Exchange Street in Auburn or virtually via zoom.  The event runs from 9 am to noon (doors open at 8 am).

Resiliency and adaptation are key in adjusting to the impacts of climate change.  Please plan to attend this Scientific Symposium in Plain English as the professionals touch on a variety of key issues!

Ken Kudla of OWLA will speak on “Our Regional Freshwater Resources.”  Seth Jensen who is the Director of Municipal Utilities of the City of Auburn will speak on “Providing Safe Drinking Water.”  Kirsten Workman a Nutrient Management & Environmental Sustainability Specialist with PRO-DAIRY will speak on “The Evolution of Agriculture and Water Quality in NY- A Path of Continuous Improvement.”  Finally, Dr. Lisa Cleckner of the Finger Lakes Institute will speak on “What does the Buoy tell us about the Biology and Ecology of Owasco Lake Phytoplankton.”

To register for this symposium or for more information, please visit https://owla.org/bbss2024/.


After Christmas this year, trade in your old tree for a free Colorado Blue Spruce seedling! The Cayuga County Trade-a-Tree for a Tree program offers residents an opportunity to recycle their Christmas tree in exchange for a conifer seedling.   It’s fast, easy, and free!

WHAT: Trade-a-Tree for a Tree Program

WHERE: Cayuga County Natural Resource Center , 7413 County House Road , Auburn

WHEN:   Tree pick-up for those who received coupons is at the Spring Annual Tree and Shrub Sale Pick-up. Please remember to turn in your coupon for a free Fraser Fir Seedling on May 10, 2024 at Soil & Water.

For more information, please contact the District office at 315-252-4171 ext. 4

Dates & Times for Recycling:

December 26-29, 2023 from 8 am to 3:30 pm
January 2-5, 2024 from 8 am to 3:30 pm
January 8-12, 2024 from 8 am to 3:30 pm
January 16-19, 2024 from 8 am to 3:30 pm

Water Quality Data Jam

Water Quality Data Jam

Join Community Science Institute for a team exploration of YOUR water quality questions!

Friday, November 3, 10am – Noon
Tompkins County Public Library
BorgWarner Room
101 East Green St.

Do you have questions about the water quality in your watershed, such as:

  • Where on Cayuga Lake do Harmful Algal Blooms occur most frequently?
  • Which of my favorite swimming holes have the highest  colicounts?
  • How is the water quality on Six Mile Creek, the source of the City of Ithaca’s drinking water?

Community Science Institute (CSI) has been collecting water quality data in the Cayuga Lake Watershed for many years through our volunteer stream and lake monitoring partnerships. We invite you to come explore these data with us at our upcoming Water Quality Data Jam event hosted at Tompkins County Public Library. This event will give community members with questions such as those above an opportunity to delve into the data to find answers for themselves. CSI staff will be close at hand to guide teams to find critical information using our water quality database.

Attendees will work in teams to address their questions about water quality in the Cayuga Lake Watershed and beyond! At the end of the event, teams will come together to share their findings with the rest of the attendees.

Sign up and bring your water quality questions with you. Together, we can embark on a journey of data exploration!

Sign up using the following link: https://www.tcpl.org/event/data-jam-community-science-institute

If you have any questions, reach out to Community Science Institute at info@communityscience.org. We’ll be happy to clarify for you. We hope to see you there!

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 nysepticstudy@gmail.com 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: https://bit.ly/3Msg2kH

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 https://www.youtube.com/@CayugaCountyWQMA.