The Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario is a federally designated Area of Concern because of a range of concerns including pollution, contaminated sediments, fish consumption advisories and impairment of beneficial use such as beach closings. Many area tributaries to Lake Ontario and the Genesee River do not meet state water quality standards.
The beaches of Lake Ontario are closed typically for 30 to 50% of the bathing season because of high bacteria levels and contamination with algae.
Development of our lakeshore assets, including the Port of Rochester, is dependent upon a sustained improvement in the near-shore water quality.
The challenge to the community is how to reduce contamination of the Lake Ontario and Finger Lakes watersheds from agricultural activities, municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems in a cost-effective manner. Improving the water quality in the region's waters will make a vital contribution to improving the quality of life in the area and to the economic and environmental revitalization of the region's lakeshore assets.
CEI has made significant contributions in recent years toward two major programs - the Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative and the Community Action for a Renewed Environment – to identify the sources of nutrients and pollutants in tributaries leading to the Rochester Embayment and develop cost-effective ways to reduce them.
CEI is seeking financial support to continue and expand its extensive work conducted on identifying and reducing point and nonpoint source pollution in Lake Ontario and area tributaries, promote a better understanding of the issues facing the Lake Ontario Basin and increase public engagement in protecting these resources.
CEI's technical expertise in this area will enable it to build capacity by providing local communities with the understanding and technical assistance needed to equip them to identify their local contributions to water quality impairment and develop practical solutions.
With additional funding and our long experience in partnership building, CEI will:
- Convene the region's water quality stakeholders and experts to develop a path forward to sustained improvement in water quality.
- Identify the highest priority restoration options
- Lead restoration projects.