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Repurposed Crooked Lake Canal will act as natural water filter between Keuka, Seneca Lakes

You may never have heard of the Crooked Lake Canal, but the abandoned 19th century waterway is being repurposed to help naturally clean the water flowing into Seneca Lake.

The canal was built in 1830-33 along the Keuka Outlet between Keuka and Seneca Lakes. It moved goods between the lakes until 1877, when it was abandoned.

Introducing nutrients and pollutants into the water

Geneva Town Supervisor Mark Venuti is a member of the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO), which is devoted to safeguarding the water quality in the Seneca Lake watershed. Every municipality in the watershed has signed a memorandum of understanding and appoints a member to SWIO.

Venuti says the water that flows from Keuka into Seneca Lake by way of the Outlet picks up nutrients and pollutants along the way.

Creating a natural filter

Venuti says Yates County worked with SWIO and Seneca Lake Watershed Steward Ian Smith to obtain grant money to link the Canal with the Keuka Outlet to act as a natural filter to remove nutrients from the water before it reaches Seneca Lake.

Natural Systems Engineering of Syracuse has been hired to an engineering study on linking the canal and the outlet. The $23,821.78 cost of the study will be fully covered by the grant.

Related: INSIDE THE FLX: Seneca Watershed Steward Ian Smith on the 9 element plan, the threats facing the lakes and how we can help (podcast)

Listen to my full Inside the FLX conversation with Geneva Supervisor Mark Venuti below.