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The Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (IO) announces the release of its update to the Cayuga Lake Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan (RPP). The original plan from 2001 developed a comprehensive list of threats to the Cayuga Lake watershed and its water resources. The update details additional threats to the watershed and water resources and resulting evolving priorities.

The updated Restoration and Protection Plan will help provide sustainable, long-term protection and management strategies for area streams, wetlands, creeks, and the lake. These invaluable water resources will continue to need attention and care in the coming years. Financial support for the project came from the New York State Department of State through the Title 11 Environmental Protection Fund.

The NYS Priority Waterbodies List highlights Cayuga Lake's Mid-north and Mid-south segments as threatened due to real and potential pollutants from onsite wastewater treatment systems, agriculture, atmospheric deposition, road bank and streambank erosion, invasive species, and stormwater runoff. The List also includes a number of waterbodies within the Cayuga Lake watershed as threatened or possibly threatened. The RPP update identifies current priorities and data gaps, and provides new recommendations based on current conditions. The Town of Ithaca, on behalf of the IO, contracted with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network to produce the update under the direction of Watershed Steward Hillary Lambert.

The Town of Ithaca has received additional State funding for a 3-year IO project to advance regional watershed restoration and protection efforts. The funding will be used to hire Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board to work with watershed communities on planning projects that address update recommendations and assisting municipalities in seeking funding to support those projects.

Copies of the RPP document are being circulated to the watershed's 45 municipalities and local libraries. An electronic version of the plan can be found on the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network's website.

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