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Recipients of the 2022 Seneca Pure Waters’ Annual Awards

  • / Updated:
  • Concetta Durso 

The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association honored three individuals with awards this year during the Associations’ Annual Dinner, hosted on August 25th at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The three awards given annually include the Friend of Seneca Award, President’s Award, and Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Friend of Seneca award recognizes an individual or organization whose efforts, outside of the Seneca Pure Waters Association, have significant impact on protecting Seneca Lake. This year’s Friend of Seneca award recipient is Ian Smith, Seneca Lake Watershed Steward. 

Since his hire, Ian has worked with the Seneca Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO) to bring municipalities together to collectively combat the threats to the lake. Perhaps Ian’s most notable accomplishment to date is the development of the Nine Element Watershed Management Plan (9E) for the Seneca-Keuka watershed, a three-year project now nearing its completion. The 9E Plan will guide the efforts of organizations like SWIO and Seneca Pure Waters who work to preserve, protect, and promote Seneca Lake water quality and identify the most prominent threats to the health of Seneca Lake.

“The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association would like to sincerely thank Ian Smith for his contributions to the health of Seneca Lake and look forward to working with him for many years to come”, said Jake Welch, President of Seneca Pure Waters as he presented the award during the Annual Dinner.

The President’s Award is given annually to recognize and honor an association member, often a board member, who has made the most significant contributions to the goals and objectives of the association. This year the Board of Directors honors Rich Adams, posthumously, for his contributions to the association and to Seneca Lake. To honor Rich, the award has been renamed the “Rich Adams Memorial President’s Award’.

Rich Adams, a passionate volunteer for the Pure Waters family, passed away on April 26, 2022. Rich led the Water Quality area of Pure Waters. As part of that, he initiated the much-awaited Sediment, Nutrient, & Pollution Reduction program, now fully in place. Never one to rest, and even in the brief weeks before his passing, Rich put together a new Pure Waters’ fisheries team, and co-wrote a grant for invasive species education.

A name plaque honoring Rich’s dedication to Seneca’s water quality will be mounted on a bench overlooking the lake along side the Sampson State Park Marina.

The third and final award of the night honored Mary Rose, posthumously, as the 2022 Volunteer of the Year. The Pure Waters’ Board of Directors voted to change the name of this award to pay tribute to Mary Rose, active community member and Pure Waters’ volunteer. Mary passed away in March, 2022 after eight years of leading the Big Stream, stream monitoring team and had been one of the most active and vocal leaders for Pure Waters in the years since. She was a true champion for the health of Seneca Lake and was unselfish in her efforts to make an impact.

Seneca Pure Waters honored Mary this year with the “Mary Rose Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award” and will remember her dedication each year moving forward when new volunteers are recognized. A name plaque will be mounted at the Spring Street Park in Dundee overlooking Big Stream to commemorate Mary’s contribution to Seneca Lake water quality.