Cayuga County is home to an abundance of water resources including three Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, Cross Lake, the Seneca River, the New York State Barge Canal and numerous smaller lakes, rivers and streams. These water resources supply drinking water, recreational opportunities, and are an important part of what makes Cayuga County a great place to live! Water from Cayuga County drains into Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, the Seneca River, Lake Ontario and the Oswego River.
To view a map of the watersheds, click here.
The Cayuga County Planning Department is currently actively involved in many projects to understand and protect these water resources.
Water Quality Management Agency (WQMA)
The Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development staffs the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency. The mission of the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency is to protect and improve the quality of water in Cayuga County. Cayuga County is located in the heart of the Central New York's Finger Lakes region. This Agency is made up of the County Legislature´s Environmental Advisors, non-County Local Officials, and Representatives from Waterbody Associations in Cayuga County.
To find out more information, please visit their web site at Water Quality Management Agency.
Finger Lakes Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance
Cayuga County is member of the Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FL-LOWPA), a coalition of all 25 counties in New York State's Lake Ontario drainage basin. FL-LOWPA fosters coordinated watershed management programs across the Lake Ontario Basin based on local needs. Michele Wunderlich from the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development is the representative to this coalition. Cayuga County receives funding for water quality projects from FL-LOWPA which is provided through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), through the support of a committed delegation of State Legislators representing the 25-county region.
For more information on FL-LOWPA, visit their web site http://www.fllowpa.org/index.html.
The P-Project is a collaborative program led by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County and conducted in partnership with the organizations of the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency. The goal of the P-Project is to reduce the amount of external phosphorus reaching Owasco and Cayuga Lakes, as well as other waterbodies in Cayuga County.
For more information, visit Water Quality Management Agency.
The Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development provides information and training on the Stormwater Phase II Rules and Regulations. Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or snowmelt does not soak into the ground and instead flows over the ground and runs into waterways. Stormwater runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, nutrients, dirt, bacteria and other pollutants. The runoff can then flow into a storm sewer or directly into a lake, stream, river, wetland or other waterbody. This untreated water enters the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing and drinking.
The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District provides training to contractors on this issue. Visit their web site at http://www.cayugaswcd.org/.
Weeds Watch Out!
The Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development is part of the Weeds Watch Out! (W2O!) Program. W2O! is an education and outreach program that will attempt to stop the spread of invasive aquatic plant species into, within, and from the Oswego River Basin, a sub-basin of Lake Ontario.
For more information, please visit W2O! (Weeds Watch Out)
Landscaping for Healthy Streams and Lakes
The Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development assists with the Green Thumbs for Blue Water program. The Green Thumbs for Blue Water is an educational program for riparian and lakeshore residents who are concerned about erosion and water quality. The program focuses on the use of backyard buffers to minimize erosion and integrated pest management techniques for maintaining healthy and environmentally-friendly lawns and landscapes.
Visit their web site at Green Thumbs for Blue Water.
Cayuga Recycles is operated by the Solid Waste Management Program Office within the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Cayuga Recycles embraces a number of programs that protect our water resources. These include hazardous chemical collections, propane tank collections, electronics collections, tire round-ups, and other recycling opportunities and programs.
For more information, visit their web site: Solid Waste Management.