Site photography courtesy of Matt Champlin

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Collaboration is Key to Success       Rachael DeWitt, SLA Executive Director

Since I started working as the Skaneateles Lake Association’s (SLA’s) Executive Director in August, I’ve become increasingly more impressed with the collaboration I have witnessed among various groups in the community.

At the forefront of this collaboration effort is SLA’s Nutrient Management Committee. This committee was formed in the Fall of 2017 as a part of SLA’s 4 Part Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Action Plan. The role of this committee is exactly in its name: to control the nutrients entering our lake and the nutrients that are already in the lake, which can lead to the formation of HABs. This committee meets once a month to discuss nutrient management strategy.

Bob Werner and Bill Dean, both on SLA’s Board of Directors, are spearheading this collaboration effort and leading the Nutrient Management Committee. There are many representatives and groups involved in this committee. These individuals and their respective groups are as follows: Mark Burger with the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program, Aimee Clinkhammer with the Department of Environmental Conservation, Rich Abbott with the City of Syracuse, Max Heitner with Finger Lakes Land Trust, Neil Murphy with State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Brian Madigan with GYMO Architecture Engineering & Land Planning, Richard Wiles with Center for Climate Integrity, and Mary Sennett from the Skaneateles Lake Association.

As evidenced above, there are many players that play a pivotal role in protecting our lake and its watershed. After meeting for many months now, the Nutrient Management Committee is functioning as a well-oiled machine. Strategies, action plans, and remediation projects are developed at each meeting. As of late, the meetings have grown in size to include other individuals and groups to help with remediation projects, the 9 Element Plan, and other efforts. Jo-Anne Humphreys with The Nature Conservancy, Jim Greenfield from the Town of Skaneateles, Kathy Bertuch with Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and Buzz Roberts, Charley Driscoll, Mary Menapace, and Dave Birchenough from the Skaneateles Lake Association have all joined these meetings.

Outside of the Nutrient Management Committee, collaboration continues to happen in many forms. Education, restoration, data sharing, and information sharing are just a few other ways collaboration happens. Shannon Fabiani with Cornell Cooperative Extension has partnered with the SLA on many occasions to host public forums, share educational materials, and plant riparian buffers.

Data collection is another collaborative effort. Upstate Freshwater Institute, Department of Environmental Conservation, US Geological Survey, O’Brien & Gere, The Jefferson Project, Finger Lakes Institute, City of Syracuse Water Department, Syracuse University, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and SLA are all organizations collecting data on Skaneateles Lake. Communicating the types of data that each group is collecting to minimize duplication of efforts has been key. Data sharing to compare findings and subsequently implement remediation efforts is critical.

On a greater scale, Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance has bimonthly meetings to bring all of the Finger Lakes together to discuss everyone’s watershed actions and strategies. Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency holds monthly meetings with all lakes within the county to advise the Cayuga County Legislature on matters related to water resource management and planning. Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance coordinates all counties in the greater Lake Ontario watershed to implement water quality actions.

Collaboration, coordination and communication have been vital to our success. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing, and these meetings allow all parties involved to gain useful knowledge and then decide on the best course of action together. Our SLA Annual Members form the final component of the partnership that comprises our collaborative team.  Their significant financial contributions provide the funding for what we have done and will be able to continue to do. We thank all of our partners for their continued involvement, investment, and support. The Skaneateles Lake Association is looking forward to continuing our partnership with all of these groups in 2019 for the betterment of our lake and watershed. As Edward Everett Hale once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

If you did not join the SLA as a partner in our efforts in 2018, please join now for 2019.  If you joined early in 2018, it is time to renew for 2019.  You can join/renew online at or call 315-558-3142 and ask for an Annual Member Registration Form to be mailed.

Source:  Skaneateles Press

News From the Skaneateles Lake Association

Moving forward on SLA’s 4-part HAB Action Plan

Rachael DeWitt, SLA Executive Diretor

The Skaneateles Lake Association (SLA) is pleased to announce that through the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, The Town of Skaneateles, with support from the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, was approved for funding to complete a Nine-Element Plan for the Skaneateles Lake Watershed. The award totals $235,650. This is significant for the SLA’s HAB Action Plan.

The 9 Element or “9E” Plan will address nutrient loading and Harmful Algal Bloom control as well as identify measures to address water quality issues throughout the entire watershed to sustain Skaneateles’ natural resources and the primary drinking water source for City of Syracuse.

The completion of the 9E Plan will be critical in our ability to secure even larger grants going forward.

The Skaneateles Lake Association, in conjunction with the Town of Skaneateles and Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, was instrumental in developing the application for this grant.

A 25% matching investment of $78,500 was required from the local community to receive the awarded grant. As an in-kind match, Skaneateles Lake Association invested $60,115, which was used in 2018 for vital tributary monitoring. The Town of Skaneateles also invested $18,435. These two additional investments bring the total project cost to $314,200.

SLA is excited to announce that our first step in creating the 9 Element Plan will be a public input period. Stay tuned for this in the near future. Mark Dengler and his team at Research & Marketing Strategies Inc. (RMS) out of Baldwinsville, NY are in the process of developing a public input survey about Skaneateles Lake and its watershed. Current watershed concerns, issues, as well as thoughts about how stakeholders envision the future of the lake and watershed will be captured in the survey. The results from this survey will be used by the Skaneateles Lake Association and the Watershed Advisory Committee to begin the strategic planning and visioning process that serves as part of 9 Element Plan. The survey is scheduled to launch in mid-January. Please keep an eye on our emails, website, press releases, and social media platforms for the official launch of the survey.

The SLA has already begun taking steps to develop the 9 Element Plan, and we look forward to seeing it through to completion.

We thank the following whose memberships and additional generous donations supported the Milfoil Boat for a day or multiple days:  The Bryce Family Foundation, the Columbian Foundation, Lynn & Gardner McLean, an Anonymous Donor.

The memberships and additional donations of the following individuals and businesses providing funding to co-sponsor the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Nicolena & Robert Errico, Mark Heffernan, Mary & Richard Kokosa, Erica & Ken Byrne, The Sherwood Inn, Mary Beth & William Gleason, Lynn & Charles Kelly, Kathleen & Ben Tarantino.

Our Stewards were sponsored for a day by the memberships and additional donations from:  Syracuse Crunch Hockey, Barbara & Richard Evans, Catherine & Steven Fedrizzi,

The following contributed to the David Lee Hardy Fund to support our Steward Program:  Erica & Ken Byrne, Camille & Thomas Potter.

With the announcement of the award of funding for the 9 Element Plan, everyone in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Community owes a round of applause to our SLA Board and community members who comprise the Nutrient Management Committee and who spent hundreds of hours developing the application for the 9 Element Plan.  Your applause can be generated by joining the other (to date) 940 members of the SLA as a 2018 annual member.

If you have not yet joined the Skaneateles Lake Association this year, please do so now.  You can join at or call 315-558-3142 and ask for a member registration form to be mailed.  We are within range of 1000 members for 2018 and your prompt action today can make that happen.  Our memberships are rolling and effective for 1 full year from the date paid. 

Source:  Skaneateles Press