Watershed Friendly Legislation
Watershed protection begins at the local level. The following documents describe actual legislation implemented by Finger Lakes towns and villages to maintain and/or improve water quality.
Town of Fleming - Owasco Lake Watershed Overlay
Article 6-9 of the Fleming Zoning Law specifies general regulations and design regulations. These regulations address several known watershed issues, such as:
Town of Niles - Shared Lakefront Recreational Areas
The law allows granting of special permits for share lakefront and requires 10 feet of lake frontage and 2,000 square feet of lot area per dwelling of shared lakefront. The law also allows flexibility for lots of more than 20,000 square feet or greater than 200 feet of shoreline.
Here is an example of how this may be use to regulate development, taken from the Town of Niles Comprehensive Plan (January, 2010)
Cayuga County Health Department Septic System Program
For many years, Cayuga County has been at the forefront of proper septic system testing and maintenance. The Septic System Program sets requirements for regular inspections, construction standards and repair/modification standards. The program also enforces the Cayuga County Sanitary Code and investigates complaints.
In the winter of 2008, the town of Brutus modified their subdivision regulations that require site plans for subdivisions to show how storm drainage will be controlled to prevent damage to other properties. These requirements may be found on pages 20 and 23 of section 108 of the Brutus local law.
Private Land Owner Projects
You don't need legislative power to make a difference. Individuals can make a difference too! The following documents describe projects completed by Finger Lakes land owners that will have lasting effects on Finger Lakes water quality.
The Canoga Creek Farm and Conservancy - Keith Tidball, Associate Director of the Civic Ecology at Cornell University, partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and several other groups to restore wetland function to 70 acres of Canoga Marsh on the western shores of Cayuga Lake. Habitat for migratory birds was enhanced, plant and animal diversity was increased, and most importantly, the water filtration capacity of the wetland was improved.
The Cayuga County Planning Department's Farmland Protection Program was started in 2001 and has since Purchased Development Rights of over 7,000 acres of the county's finest farmland. By partnering with the American Farmland Trust, and the New York Ag Land Trust, as well as the New York State Department of Ag and Markets and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the county has been able to ensure that the lands will remain undeveloped for many years to come.