• Conesus Lake 2008: Baseline Data on the Stream Bank Restoration Project, Update on Water Quality of USDA Monitored Watersheds

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Severson, ChristiAnn; The College at Brockport (2008-12-01)
      Conesus Lake is fed by 18 tributaries and a number of smaller streams and rivulets (Forest et al. 1978). The terrain in the watershed is characterized by gentle slopes at the northern outlet and southern inlet areas. Steep hilly slopes characterize the flanks and southern portion of the watershed. For example, from the middle third of the lake to the southern end of the watershed, the lake and valley are flanked by steep slopes exceeding 45 percent. The soils of the Conesus Lake watershed are mostly derived from locally-occurring shale and sandstone bedrock material that has been reworked by glacial action (Bloomfield 1978). Towards the north of the watershed, limestone materials transported by the glaciers from the central NY limestone belt influence the soil. This influence is less as one moves south, and in general, soils are more agriculturally productive to the north of the watershed compared with the south (Stout 1970). The soils vary widely in other properties of significance to land use management and water quality impacts. Many of the soils are highly susceptible to erosion, presenting the risk of sediment or sediment-borne nonpoint source pollution. Other soils are poorly drained, which make them likely to be important surface runoff generation areas. They are also risk zones for generation of nonpoint source pollution. Overall, the soils of this watershed present a diverse and complicated mosaic of management imperatives – they prescribe land use decisions at the field scale.
    • Conesus Lake Tributaries

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (2010-11-01)
      After several years of a general decrease in “concentrations” of various nutrients from managed watersheds, substantial increases in the concentrations of nutrients and soil particles were observed in streams during the summer of 2009 (Makarewicz and Lewis 2009). At Graywood Gully, for example, concentrations of soil (TSS), total phosphorus (TP), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), and nitrate increased in the stream water. At Cottonwood Gully, after a 5-year decrease, nitrate concentration (NO3+NO2) increased to levels not observed since 2003. Similar increases were observed in the Southwest, Sand Point, North Gully, Sutton Point and Long Point subwatersheds. Several factors may have contributed to this observed increase in the concentration of dissolved and particulate material; some are natural (variation in rainfall amount and intensity); others are affected by human actions (changes in land use or management practices). Although the increases observed in all the monitored streams may be related to new or changing farming practices, it could not be ruled out that the significant rainfalls in the spring and early summer of 2009 are not the cause. A limitation of the approach taken in 2008 and 2009 was that discharge was not measured as it was in the USDA study. Concentration of analytes is a function of discharge from streams; that is, as discharge increases, concentrations increase as more material is washed from the land and more material is dissolved. The observed increases could simply be due to the higher than usual rainfalls in May and especially June. For example, the daily rate of precipitation in June was twice the rate for any other previous year since 2002. May precipitation was the highest since 2003. Also, a visual inspection of this watersheds in summer of 2009 ruled out any major changes in land use. The increase in nutrient loss from all of the USDA watersheds during the summer of 2009 suggests that the approach taken of using concentration data only to evaluate temporal trends may misinterpreted. The three objectives of this summer’s work were: 1) To reevaluate the stream concentration approach to assessment of stream water by converting the data in the amount of an analyte lost from a subwatershed and to apply a statistical approach that account for discharge; 2) To monitor and nutrient and sediment input from selected watersheds; and, 3) To develop rating curves of discharge and evaluate nutrient loss from the Inlet and South McMillan Creek.
    • Genesee River Watershed Project. Volume 2. Water Quality Analysis of the Upper Genesee River Watershed: Nutrient Concentration and Loading, Identification of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, Total Maximum Daily Load, and an Assessment of Management Practices using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Model. A report to the USDA.

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Snyder, Blake; Smith, William B.; The College at Brockport (2013-01-01)
      An assessment of the Upper Genesee River (UGR) watershed was undertaken to determine sources of nutrient and sediment loss geospatially within the Upper Genesee River watershed and to determine the nutrient and sediment contribution (load) of this segment to the Lower Middle Main Stem of the Genesee River. To accomplish this task, a multifaceted, integrated approach was taken by a combination of monitoring, segment analysis, and modeling (Soil and Water Assessment Tool). To achieve this goal, the river was routinely monitored for discharge, water chemistry, and loss of nutrients and soil for an entire year (3 August 2010 to 23 August 2011) at the USGS gauging station at Wellsville and at Portageville, NY. The Upper Genesee River Soil and Water Assessment Tool (UGR-SWAT) model was created, calibrated, and verified for discharge, sediment, and phosphorus loss using these data. Based on the measured loading data to a subbasin outlet and the SWAT model, segment analysis was performed on selected subwatersheds to determine sources of material loss. The information derived from segment analysis, the SWAT model, and the total amount of nutrients, sediments, and bacteria lost from the watershed served to direct watershed management. Lastly, the UGR-SWAT model was employed to test the effectiveness of BMPs on land use and to determine the minimum potential phosphorus concentration expected in a forested Upper Genesee River watershed as a nutrient target for TMDL development.
    • Genesee River Watershed Project. Volume 3. Water Quality Analysis of the Honeoye Creek Watershed: Nutrient Concentration and Loading, Identification of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, Total Maximum Daily Load, and an Assessment of Management Practices using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Model. A report to the USDA.

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Snyder, Blake; The College at Brockport (2013-01-01)
      An assessment of the Honeoye Creek watershed was undertaken to determine the nutrient and sediment contribution to the Lower Middle Main Stem of the Genesee River and to determine sources of nutrient and sediment loss geospatially within the Honeoye Creek watershed. To accomplish this task, a multifaceted, integrated approach was taken by a combination of monitoring, segment analysis, and modeling (Soil and Water Assessment Tool). Thus, the river was monitored for discharge, water chemistry, and loss of nutrients and soil for an entire year (3 August 2010 to 23 August 2011) at the USGS gauging station at Honeoye Falls and Golah, NY. The Honeoye Creek Soil and Water Assessment Tool (HCSWAT) model was created, calibrated, and verified for discharge, sediment, and P loss using these data. Based on the measured loading data to a subbasin outlet and the SWAT model, segment analysis was performed on selected subwatersheds to determine sources of material loss. Together these two bodies of information, the total amount of nutrients, sediments, and bacteria lost from the watershed and the sources of these losses, served to direct watershed management. Lastly, the HCSWAT model was employed to test the effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on land use and to determine the minimum potential P concentration expected in a forested Honeoye Creek watershed. Although Honeoye Creek is not one of the most impacted tributaries within the Genesee River basin, it does contribute a significant amount of P to the Genesee River. This study quantified the total loss of nutrients and sediments from the Honeoye Creek watershed, identified the location of point and nonpoint sources of nutrients and sediment, and determined the most effective practices to manage these sources using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). A water quality target of 65 ?g P/L for P in streams is obtainable by upgrading Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in the Honeoye Creek watershed. To achieve the 45-?g P/L standard, management practices targeting nonpoint sources caused by agriculture would be needed in addition to the upgrade of the WWTPs to tertiary cleanup.
    • Genesee River Watershed Project. Volume 1.Water Quality Analysis of the Genesee River Watershed: Nutrient Concentration and Loading, Identification of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, Total Maximum Daily Load, and an Assessment of Management Practices using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Model. A report to the USDA.

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Snyder, Blake; Winslow, Mellissa Jayne; Pettenski, Dale; Rea, Evan; Dressel, Lindsay; Smith, William B.; The College at Brockport (2013-01-01)
      The Genesee River Project, conducted from August 2010 to August 2013, provides a detailed picture of sediment and phosphorus concentrations (e.g., weekly water chemistry sampling), nutrient loading, allocation and identification of phosphorus sources, and the effectiveness of management practices on the four major Genesee River tributaries (Canaseraga, Honeoye, Black, and Oatka Creeks), the Upper Genesee River, and the lower Genesee River. With 60% of the P load (412,505 kg P/yr) from the Genesee River to Lake Ontario being of anthropogenic origin, a managed reduction in P lost from the Genesee watershed is apparent. Models using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) were developed and segment analysis performed on these subbasins to determine sources of material losses. Together these two bodies of information, the total amount of nutrients and sediments lost from the watershed and the sources of these losses, served as a tool for suggesting a watershed management strategy. SWAT models were employed to test the effectiveness of best management practices (BMPs) on land use and to determine the minimum potential phosphorus concentration expected in the subwatersheds. Simulations of BMPs of management practices on both point and nonpoint sources indicated that phosphorus, a valuable nutrient to crop production, can be effectively kept in the watershed and out of Lake Ontario, where elevated phosphorus stimulates algae production and is implicated in beach closings in the Rochester Embayment. Using our most effective simulated scenario, grassed waterways and upgrading of wastewater treatment plants to tertiary treatment, a 32.9% (135,714 kg P/yr) reduction in P loading from the Genesee River to the nearshore of Lake Ontario with Genesee River concentrations at 65 ?g P/L is predicted - within the debated target goal of 65 ?g TP/L for streams in New York State. Volume 1 covers the entire watershed while volumes 2 to 6 report on specific tributary watersheds. The P load allocation analysis indicates that 60% of the total phosphorus load to Lake Ontario is due to anthropogenic sources and only 40% is due to natural sources.
    • Genesee River Watershed Project. Water Quality Analysis of the Black Creek Watershed. Volume 4. Nutrient Concentration and Loading, Identification of Point and Nonpoint Sources of Pollution, Total Maximum Daily Load, and an Assessment of Management Practices using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Model. A report to the USDA.

      Winslow, Mellissa Jayne; Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (2013-01-01)
      Nearshore Lake Ontario suffers from several beneficial use impairments due to water quality issues from the Genesee River and its contributing tributaries. Segments of Black Creek located in the Lower Genesee River basin are listed as impacted on the New York State 303(d) list because of excess sediment, nutrient, and bacteria losses. Sources of these pollutants from the Black Creek watershed include improperly managed cropland and pastures, dairy manure application, and effluent discharges from wastewater treatment plants. An assessment of the Black Creek watershed was undertaken to determine the nutrient and sediment contribution of Black Creek to the Genesee River and to determine sources of nutrients and sediment loss geospatially within the watershed. To accomplish this task, a multifaceted, integrated approach was taken by combining stream monitoring, segment analysis, and hydrologic modeling [Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)]. The annual losses (June 2010 through May 2011) of total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and total coliform bacteria from the Black Creek watershed were 16.5 MT/yr, 349.4 MT/yr, and 7.0E15 CFU/yr, respectively, where most of the losses occurred in the upper portion of the watershed. Impacted tributaries (Bigelow Creek and Spring Creek) had the highest areal loads of nutrients and bacteria and were a focus for remediation. More than 70% of the TP load was found to be due to anthropogenic sources including but not limited to manure applications from Confined Animal Feeding operations, the Bergen wastewater treatment plant, and nonpoint agricultural practices throughout the watershed. Sediment loss, on the other hand, was the highest in the downstream reaches of Black Creek where 73% of the total sediment load (8,360.6 MT/yr) occurred due to excessive flooding and stream bank erosion during events. These findings were used to calibrate a SWAT model for Black Creek that simulated the impact of implementing several Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce phosphorus and sediment loads. Individual BMPs reduced TP loads from Black Creek at Lower BC anywhere from 0 to 28% and sediment 0 to 84%. A holistic approach to watershed remediation using a combination of several effective BMPs focusing on major contributors of phosphorus and sediment reduced TP 28% and total suspended solids (TSS) 73%. This remedial action plan, if implemented, can reach a water quality target of 65 ?g P/L proposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation, which would reduce the annual TP concentration from 79.6 ?g P/L to 38.3 ?g P/L. This scenario can be used to determine an appropriate Total Maximum Daily Load for Black Creek that will help attain the ultimate goal of reducing the impairments of nearshore Lake Ontario.
    • The Development of an Stream Water Quality Assessment Index to Evaluate Stream Health Conesus Lake Tributaries Spring 2011

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Snyder, Blake; The College at Brockport (2011-11-01)
      The major goal was to develop an assessment tool for watershed health utilizing the USDA data base. Such a tool would allow the county to evaluate the status of watersheds; that is, are they improving, getting worse, or not changing. An evaluation tool of this type would allow further development and direction of the Conesus Lake Watershed Management Plan. Monitoring of two of the USDA streams (Cottonwood Gully and North McMillan Creek) was changed to the spring rather than the summer. This was done as a result of last year’s work which suggested that spring monitoring may provide a better Stream Water Quality Assessment Index watershed status than a summer index. A Stream Water Quality Assessment Index was developed based on spring data that has promise for evaluating trends in the impact of land use on Conesus Lake subwatersheds.