A Nine Element Plan (9E) is a quantitative watershed based management plan similar to the EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load plan but non-regulatory and geared more specifically towards addressing non-point source pollution. This multi-year project will identify the type, scale, cost and location of the water quality improvement projects needed to protect the lakes from excessive levels of nutrient pollution through a rigorous scientific process. Further project information can be found on this page.


A DRAFT version of the Seneca-Keuka Watershed Nine Element Plan for Phosphorus is now available for viewing. Comments can be submitted to either Ian Smith (ismith@hws.edu) or Colby Petersen (colby@ycsoilwater.com) and will be accepted until May 13th. For those interested, oral comments and questions will be welcome at the April 25th public outreach event (see below) and a virtual office hours session will be held on May 2nd from 1-3PM (LINK) to allow for stakeholders seeking information about or looking to provide oral comments specifically on the draft 9E.

Public Outreach & Participation Session #4

The fourth and final public outreach session was held on April 25th as part of the 10th annual Land Use and Leadership Alliance (LULA) training. This year’s program focused on one of the highest priorities goals identified through development of the 9E – increasing hydrologic resiliency – and how the 9E framework is designed to achieve it.


HANDOUT: Managing the Storm – Applying the 9E Framework to Hydrologic Resiliency Goals
HANDOUT: Water Runs Downhill – Managing Runoff on Steep Slopes
HANDOUT: Best Practices of Ditch Maintenance for Roadways and Water Quality
HANDOUT: Stormwater Management and Retention Projects in the Seneca-Keuka Watershed
HANDOUT: Water Quality Protection Tools for Evolving Communities

Public Outreach & Participation Session #3

The third public outreach session was held on February 3rd, 2022. This was largely an information session to provide an update on our work to develop a prioritized implementation strategy using the tools developed as part of the 9E project coupled with local knowledge and public support.

Recommended Management Actions

As discussed during the second public outreach session, development of an implementation strategy to improve water quality conditions is heavily informed by public input. As such we have been seeking input from many sources to help guide development of this strategy and the associated Proposed Actions Matrix.A summary of initial feedback is available, and if you are look for additional information regarding some of the actions themselves you can check out the following links below:

New York State Best Management Practice Catalogue
NRCS Conservation Practice Technical Documents
Lancaster, PA Green Infrastructure Design Manual

Public Outreach & Participation Session #2

The second public outreach session was held on October 7th, 2021. Topics presented included: quick review of the 9E framework, results from an assessment on local laws pertaining to water quality, results from development of the watershed model, and a discuss plus interactive session on potential actions.

Public Outreach & Participation Session #1

Public engagement and input are a critical component of the 9E process and presentation sessions will be held at various stages of project developed. The first of these sessions was held on August 24th, 2020. In light of COVID-19, this session was held digitally, and recorded. Topics presented included: a background on project development, an introduction to the Nine Element Plan process, current project focuses including watershed characterization, data collection and model development, and an overview of the draft Vision & Goals section.


The local partnership group behind the 9E, in coordination with the Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation District, has launched a quarterly newsletter coinciding with development of the 9E. Planning, monitoring, project implementation, random watershed history… you’ll find it all! We hope this serves as a valuable resource to all those interested in the work going on throughout the watershed to address water quality challenges.

Current Issue

Project Resources


This project is sponsored with funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

Additional funding provided by Corning, Inc., Chemung, Ontario, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates Counties, The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Keuka Lake Association, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative and SWIO.

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