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Extraordinary Efforts to Protect Watersheds by Four NY Municipalities Earn Honors from EPA; Groups in Rochester Area, Lake George and Nassau County are “Clean Water Partners”

Release Date: 04/01/2003
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(#03026) New York, N.Y. – Recognizing the critical role local governments play in protecting our nation’s water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman today honored four municipal government groups from New York State for taking extraordinary actions to protect their watersheds. In celebration of the Year of Clean Water, Administrator Whitman designated Monroe County, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council, the Lake George Watershed Conference and the Port Washington Water Pollution Control District as Clean Water Partners. The four were among 79 national honorees chosen from an applicant pool of 200.

“The Year of Clean Water provides us with a tremendous opportunity to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and leadership of local agencies from across the country,” said Whitman. “These award-winners have set a strong example for future clean water efforts, and we look forward to working with our partners toward our shared goals to reduce water pollution and ensure cleaner, purer water for all Americans.”

“These municipalities have made a commitment to protect their watersheds that is above and beyond what the Clean Water Act requires,” said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “At EPA we know that a key difference between an acceptable watershed protection program and an outstanding one is the attitude of people in local government. For the four winners from New York, water protection is much more than a 9 to 5 job. It’s a personal challenge.”

Each applicant for the 2003 Clean Water Partners award was screened to ensure it was in compliance with all federal watershed regulations, and applications were reviewed by a panel including representatives of EPA, the Water Environment Federation, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the National League of Cities.

Descriptions of the New York State winners follow:

Monroe County leads and coordinates efforts to protect and enhance local watersheds that supply drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Rochester-area residents. These efforts include: instituting a Community Water Watch public education program; promoting cooperation between cities and towns to prevent pollution from traveling from one part of the watershed to another; undertaking the Irondequoit Bay Intervention to improve water quality in the Bay; creating the Monroe County Stormwater Coalition; and developing a Rochester Embayment Remedial Action Plan.

The 14 municipalities of the Canandaigua Lake watershed have formally united as the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council to protect this valuable resource. The Council has developed a comprehensive water quality monitoring program to document the health of the lake, and has studied five priority sub-watersheds to determine possible sources of pollution. The Council has also undertaken a range of public outreach programs to educate citizens about human impacts on this scenic water body.

The Lake George Watershed Conference was established by municipalities that make up the lake’s watershed basin in an effort to collectively develop a watershed management plan. The Conference identified over 40 recommendations for an area-wide water quality management plan, and is in the process of executing the majority of the recommended actions.

The Port Washington Water Pollution Control District in Port Washington, New York has created a native plant demonstration garden in Sunset Park, along the Manhasset Bay shore, to educate the public to use native plants to reduce runoff and conserve water. The District also provides its expertise to help the citizens of the Manhasset Bay Watershed adapt their home landscapes to reduce pollution from pesticides and fertilizer.