ConesUS Lake Stewardship

Conesus Stewardship Initiative


stewardship logoWhat is it: A cohesive set of actions designed to educate watershed residents on the impact they have on the lake’s water quality along with best practices that have been proven to favorably impact water quality. Through these actions and programs we hope to assist and inspire all watershed residents to become proactive stewards of the future health of our lake.

Why Watershed Residents: Every resident that lives roughly between I390 and Federal Road affects the lake through their actions, whether you know it or not. Since all water from this basin eventually flows into the lake, any chemicals, fertilizers, petroleum products, waste or erosion will also end up in the lake unless each owner is aware of and adheres to best practices to minimize or eliminate such impacts.

Why should you care: The overall health of the lake not only affects the quality of the drinking water drawn from the lake, and the overall enjoyment of those using the lake, it can also significantly impact housing prices, tax bases and the ability of area businesses to draw customers if allowed to degrade.

Can we really make a difference: Recent studies have indicated that the collective impact of watershed residents is the second largest contributor to the overall health of the lake. Our impact is second only to agriculture. At this time many of our watershed farms are actively pursuing their own set of best practices and improvements. If each of us uses those best practices that are relevant to us, we can and will make a huge positive contribution to the health of our lake.

               Watershed-wide Best Practices    

              - Lakeside best practices    

             - Boating best practices

What the Conesus Lake Association has done to date:

  • Helped fund and support a Watercraft Steward Program at the state boat launch that inspected 3800+ boats and educated 7-8k boaters on the dangers of Aquatic Invasive Species and the necessity to “Clean, Drain, and Dry”. Designed and installed Invasive Species disposal stations at all three lake launches.
  • Created a storm drain labeling program that encompasses all four towns and the major perimeter roads around the lake. With the assistance of local Boy Scouts 550+ permanent decals stating "PLEASE DON'T POLLUTE -- DRAINS TO CONESUS LAKE" have been affixed, accompanied by several thousand educational “door hangers” which were distributed to nearby homes.
  • Implemented the ‘Welcome to the Lake’ program to inform new resident of lake issues, best practices and opportunities to become involved. Well over 300 new neighbors have been approached.
  • Launched the ‘Help Protect our Lake’ renter program targeting over 250 renting locations around the lake. Renters are provided with a renter specific brochure on how to help us protect the lake for their enjoyment.
  • Launched the ‘Conesus’ Booth outreach to watershed residents, engaging residents annually at 2 key events resulting in well over 500 people ‘taking the pledge’ to protect our lake.
  • Created programs to help Lakers ‘care for their waterfront as they would their lawn’ with creation and distribution of algae collection tools, enlistment of vendors in the sale of low cost weed mats, offering free weed mat signs, and promotion of the “Smother – Don’t Cut your Weeds” educational outreach.
  • Disseminated “Best Practices” information to all watershed residents via a laminated 2-sided guide, in concert with the Livingston County Watershed Council; and through on-going CLA Laker Articles.
  • Launched the ‘Lake Friendly Vendor’ initiative to identify vendors who help us ‘do our part’, signing up 14 vendors who support us and post our signage.
  • Tested phosphorus levels in 26 lawns around the lake in support of the state restrictions on the use of phosphorus fertilizers.
  • Distributed over 2000 surveys to better understand current levels of understanding and use of water quality best practices by watershed residents.
  • Created the Conesus brand and stewardship initiative to focus awareness on the impact of individual diligence and adherence to best practices.

What’s next?: Based on input from the survey, continue to design and implement programs to educate and encourage best practices by residents and visitors to our watershed. Possible programs include: A boat decontamination station, expanded stream monitoring and invasive species lake monitor programs.

Best Practices to Protect the Lake


Best Practices to Protect Conesus Lake

What is a Best Practice?: A best practice is a technique or method that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result, and achieves results superior to those achieved by other means. A commitment to using the best practices is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one's disposal to ensure success. 

How are these relevant to us? : Every day our actions within the watershed of Conesus Lake have a significant impact on the overall health of the lake, either positively or negatively. We continue to strive to define and promulgate best practices pertaining to our actions: in the watershed, near the lakeside, and on the water, that will ensure we act in a manner that provides the highest certainty that we are contributing to the health, benefit and improvement of our lake. As each of us, and each of our visitors participate in varying activities from boating, to yardwork, to managing pets; each of us will need to understand the relevant best practices and apply them to our individual lives IF we are committed to protecting the lake.


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In an effort to raise sensitivity about the land surrounding Conesus Lake Watershed, the Conesus Lake Association has worked in concert with town, county, and state officials to create several plans that will accomplish this. The CLA gratefully acknowledges the efforts of these individuals and entities to date and looks forward to full implementation of these studies and plans.

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