For Immediate Release —June 29, 2009
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

Conesus Lake Study Confirms Best Practices Improve Water Quality; College at Brockport and Geneseo Faculty Led 6-Year Study

GENESEO, N.Y. -- Field studies conducted by area scientists on the Conesus Lake watershed have, for the first time, documented the impact of best agricultural management practices on the lake’s near-shore water quality.

The research papers have been compiled in a special supplement to The Journal of Great Lakes Research. The Special Issue on Watershed Management and Near Shore Lake Water Quality, The Conesus Lake Watershed Study was edited by project director Joseph Makarewicz, PhD, professor of biology and environmental science at The College at Brockport; co-principal investigator Isidro Bosch, PhD, professor of biology at SUNY Geneseo; and Marley Waiser, PhD, adjunct professor in the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

The papers encompass research conducted over a six-year period (2003-2009) by the team of scientists, graduate and undergraduate students led by Makarewicz and Bosch.

The project was funded by $1.2 million in grants from the US Department of Agriculture and with additional grant support from the Livingston Planning Department and Altria Corporation.

“The Conesus Lake Watershed Study represents a unique collaboration among academic researchers, governing bodies, and the agricultural community. At the same time it offers a model that demonstrates how using best management practices can reduce nutrient and soil loss at the watershed level, benefiting both the farmer and the environment,” said Makarewicz.

The publication’s 14 research papers provide evidence that sound agricultural management techniques benefit the farmer by reducing soil loss and fertilizer costs, while benefits to the environment and water quality come from a reduction in the growth of aquatic weeds, algae and bacteria in the lake’s near-shore region.

“We documented decreases of more than 30 percent in the growth of filamentous algae and invasive milfoil weeds along the shoreline after management practices were implemented,” said Bosch. “The improvements were on a local scale, one stream area at a time, but it’s important to realize that the near-shore region is where the public comes into contact with the lake, and where improvements would most enhance the recreational value and aesthetic quality of the habitat,” he added.

In addition to The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo, researchers from the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Program (CSREES), the University of Buffalo, the Livingston County Planning Department, Ecologic Inc, and Perry High School contributed papers to the publication. In addition, graduate and undergraduate students from The College at Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, and RIT were listed among the co-investigators and co-authors.

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research.

The Journal of Great Lakes Research is a peer-reviewed, scientific journal published since 1975. The journal publishes quarterly, with additional special journal issues, such as the special supplement on the Conesus Lake Watershed Study, published periodically.