Honeoye Lake Watershed Public Awareness and Education Project
Honeoye Lake Watershed,
Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
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.
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.
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.
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