Town of Groveland and Conesus Lake
Conesus Lake is a precious resource:
- It is the western-most of New York State’s famed Finger Lakes
- Approximately 4,000 residents call Conesus Lake home
- Its water serves as the public water supply for approximately 15,000 people, until 2017 the WSA hooked to Hemlock Lake Water.
- Lakeshore property owners provide the highest per-capita tax base of millions of dollars to the towns that surround it
- Conesus Lake & its visitors generate nearly $20 million in annual tourism and recreation
Conesus Lake is one of the most heavily and densely populated Finger Lakes. This is largely due to the fact that the entire lake is served by public sewers and water, electricity, natural gas, and cable television access, and is within a short drive of Rochester, New York’s third-largest city. Although seasonal cottages still make up a noteworthy percentage of the lake’s dwellings, over 65% of the lake’s residents now live here throughout the year.
Conesus Lake also serves as the public water supply for the villages of Avon and Geneseo (including SUNY Geneseo), and for a portion of the Town of Groveland. In total, Conesus Lake provides drinking water to approximately 22% of Livingston County’s residents. (Until 2017)
For residents and visitors alike, Conesus Lake is renowned as a year-round sporting and water-based recreation destination. Fishing, power boating, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, swimming, and cycling (around the lake) are enjoyed in the warmer months. Waterfowl hunting is popular in the autumn, and ice fishing, ice skating, and snowmobiling take place when the lake is frozen. It is a rare winter when the lake does not freeze over.
Although there are six towns in the Conesus lake watershed, the Town of Groveland is one of only four Livingston County towns that immediately surround Conesus Lake. The other lakeshore towns are Conesus, Geneseo and Livonia. There are approximately two miles of Conesus Lake shoreline along NYS Route 256 (West Lake Road) in our Town.
In 2000, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) put Conesus Lake on its Priority Waterbodies List, and identified the lake as impaired for boating and bathing purposes, stressed relative to fishing and aesthetics, and threatened as a public water supply. In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed Conesus Lake on its Section 303(d) list in a category of “needs verification.” A 2004 update to this list named Conesus Lake as a water body on which additional controls are needed to bring water quality into compliance with defined standards and criteria.
The watershed community, including the Town of Groveland, responded quickly to the challenge of restoring Conesus Lake. The following problems were identified in the 2002 Conesus Lake Watershed Characterization Report as being critical to the degraded health of Conesus Lake:
- Weed Growth (non-native invasive species)
- Algae (phosphorous loading from non-point sources)
- Pathogens (animal waste)
- Pesticides (residential and agricultural application)
- Increasing Salts (deicing chemicals and impervious surfaces)
- Erosion (construction, agriculture, and road maintenance)
Click the following link to access the State of Conesus Lake: Watershed Characterization Report: www.co.livingston.state.ny.us/lakerpt.htm
In 2003, the Livingston County Board of Supervisors, led by Groveland Supervisor Jim Merrick in his role as Chairman of the Board, formally adopted the Conesus Lake Watershed Management Plan. The purpose of the Watershed Management Plan is “to design a management plan that preserves, restores and enhances the health, beauty, and rural character of Conesus Lake and its watershed.” This is actively in place even since the retirement of members.
The complete Watershed Management Plan can be found at the following Internet site: www.co.livingston.state.ny.us/lakeplan.htm
The Watershed Management Plan has 36 individual recommendations in four critical areas:
- Controls on loading from external (non-point) sources of pollution
- Water supply and wastewater improvements
- In-lake measures to improve water quality, recreational use, aesthetic quality and ecosystem functioning
- Monitoring and assessment
The Watershed Management Plan is a dynamic document that continues to change as initial issues are resolved and new issues are identified.
Town of Groveland and the Conesus Lake Association
The Conesus Lake Association - the CLA - is an incorporated, registered not-for-profit homeowners’ association that has been working for over 75 years to promote the health, safety and welfare of the permanent and seasonal residents of the Conesus Lake watershed.
The CLA’s members have worked in cooperation with the lakeshore towns in the past to help with renumbering properties, passage of dock laws in the lakeshore towns, installation of perimeter cable television, sewer, natural gas and water lines, building flood control structures at the lake’s northern outlet, establishing boating speed limits, adopting the county-level Watershed Management Plan, and numerous other issues.
The CLA maintains a public web site at: http://www.conesuslake.org.
Town of Groveland residents are urged to visit this web site to learn more about the ways in which the CLA and Town of Groveland are partnering with others to restore Conesus Lake and its watershed to a healthy condition.
The relationship between the Town of Groveland and the CLA continues to grow and develop. Lakeshore and near-lake residents are actively involved in Town activities, serve on town and county boards, and proactively contribute to the improvement of life in our Town.
The Town of Groveland, responding to lake-related issues, has served as lead agency in obtaining grant funding to improve drinking water and sewer services for town residents, and ease the pressure on Conesus Lake. Working with the CLA, the Town provided funding in 2006 and 2007 to test solar-powered water circulation equipment to reduce algae levels in the Lake. A member of the Groveland Town Board serves as a designated liaison between the Town and the CLA. The four town board liaisons meet quarterly to discuss and act on mutual issues that impact the Lake, including the efficiencies of common watershed- related statutes around the Lake.
Check out the Beachcomber located on the lake or email for information @ this (link)