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Public rollout for Owasco Lake watershed rules and regulations begin in Auburn

A draft of the first update to the rules and regulations governing Owasco Lake in decades is nearly ready for public presentation, and the leaders behind the effort are preparing for the rollout process, officials said Thursday at Auburn City Council.

Last updated in 1984, the rules and regulations are an enforceable set of requirements designed to protect the lake by governing activity within its watershed. Following a surge of harmful algal blooms on the lake in 2017, a new effort to update the rules with modern science and practices kicked off.

The goal behind the rewrite project has been to improve and protect the lake’s water quality through updated regulations that are “effective, equitable and enforceable” and made with an engaged public participation process, according to Cayuga County Director of Planning and Economic Development Steve Lynch Thursday at Auburn City Council.

Lynch, whose department has been one of numerous agencies leading the rewrite effort, briefed the council on the impetus for the project, how the rules have been developed and how they’ll be rolled out and possibly approved.

“This is really to say: this is where we are and how it’s going to roll out,” Lynch said.

As the purveyors of water, the city of Auburn and town of Owasco will be responsible for approving the rules before they are then sent to the state Department of Health with a request to amend public health law as the rules suggest.

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