Volunteers Community Partners
By January 5, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

2014 Finger Lakes Research Conference: Threats to the Finger Lakes


The Finger Lakes region is home to breathtaking vistas and more than 128 species of fish. Tourists, anglers, and residents enjoy the multitude of national, state and county parks; 1,000+ waterfalls; 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails; and 650 mi of shoreline that make this area unique and revered.

Unfortunately, the area also has long-documented concerns ranging from the consequences of climate change, to nutrient loading, to the seen and unseen effects of invasive species. On November 21st, 2014, the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host its annual research conference on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. This conference will provide an opportunity to learn about the research conducted by those on the front lines of defense against these threats to the Finger Lakes and beyond.

The conference will commence with a welcome from the Director of the Finger Lakes Institute, Dr. Lisa Cleckner, followed by Dr. John Halfman who will present a picture of the broader threats to the Finger Lakes. Dr. Halfman is a well-known advocate of the Finger Lakes as a Professor of Geolimnology and Hydrochemistry for Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Dr. Halfman has published on topics ranging from water quality and nutrient sources to hydrogeochemical budgets and ion concentrations of various waterbodies, to impact of invasive species on the Finger Lakes. Dr. David Finkelstein will follow Halfman with a presentation covering the use of isotopes as assessors of climate change. Dr. Finkelstein has a background in biogeochemistry, stable isotope geochemistry, sedimentology, and stratigraphy.

Ted Endreny, Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering at SUNY ESF, will present along with his PhD students and co-PIs on the new i-Tree tools for visualizing how trees can improve nutrient loading. This United States Department of Agriculture- sponsored project creates i-Tree landscape tools to simulate urban water, heat, and pollution. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefit assessment tools. The i-Tree tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. Endreny manages an active lab with a the goal to provide resilient watershed systems that deliver needed ecosystem services for the welfare of humans and nature and respond to a changing critical zone and climate.

Janet Thigpen, CFM, the Flood Mitigation Specialist for the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board will present on floodplain management and how to manage your land to reduce adverse impacts of flooding. This is a timely issue given the recent flooding in areas such as Penn Yan, NY and Avon, NY this past spring and summer.

Dr. Jacques Rinchard from the College at Brockport has been involved with research to determine the lipid concentration and fatty acid signatures in Lake Ontario and Cayuga Lake fish. Dr. Rinchard has been working in the field of aquatic ecology for nearly 20 years and is a reviewer for over 20 peer-reviewed journals ranging from Journal of Fish Biology to Environmental Biology of Fish. His current lab at the College at Brockport contains six aquaculture ponds and a full aquaculture system where he studies culture techniques, manages broodstock, incubation and rearing of eggs, embryos, larvae, and juveniles on campus. Dr. Rinchard will present the ‘Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology, Trophic Tracers, and Essential Nutrients’ based on his extensive research in this field within the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes.

Dr. Jacques Rinchard, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the College at Brockport, State Universality of New York will present on the application of fatty acid signatures in aquatic systems.


This year’s keynote will be delivered by Valerie Knoblach, President of the Finger Lakes Visitor’s Connection, who will make the connection between ecosystem services and Finger Lakes tourism. With degrees in English Education from SUNY Oswego and an MBA from RIT, Valerie has over 30 years of experiences ranging from adjunct professor at both RIT and FLCC to writer of travel and tourism issues, to presenter at the national level on strategic planning, destination management, and marketing.


Valerie Knoblach, keynote speaker at this year’s Finger Lakes Research Conference. Photo provided by VisitFingerLakes.com


Scott Stoner, Chief of the Standards and Analytical Support Section in the Division of Water at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss New York State Department of Environmental Conservations’ proactive approach to reducing pharmaceuticals within our waterways. Emerging contaminants within our waterways is an issue of concern given that many pharmaceuticals are non-threshold contaminants that have the potential to negatively affect organisms. Scott has dedicated more than 26 years to public service with the DEC’s water quality standards program.

Scott Stoner, Chief of Standards and Analytical Support Section in the Division of Water at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Photo provided by Scott Stoner.

Rounding off the conference will be Carrie Brown-Lima and Dr. Chris Pennuto. Brown-Lima is the newly hired Coordinator & Senior Extension Associate at the NY Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University. Carrie has 17 years of experience working with natural resource conservation and management with much of her work being carried out in Brazil and throughout Latin America. Dr. Chris Pennuto, Professor in the Department Biology at and the Great Lakes Research Center Buffalo State College will discuss ‘Round Gobies in Tributaries Streams; Seasonal Abundance, Community Effects, and Energy Consumption’. This will be an important presentation given the infestation of round goby in Cayuga Lake and other areas within the Finger Lakes.


Researchers are invited to present their work as part of the Finger Lakes Institute poster session held concurrently with lunch. Presenters can share their work that covers threats to the Finger Lakes. The best undergraduate and graduate poster will receive an award.


Immediately following the research conference will be a full partnership meeting for the FL-PRISM. It has been a full six months since we last gathered as community poised to tackle the issues of invasive species. This meeting will provide an opportunity for members to get an update of activities since April. We are fortunate to have both Steve, Young, Chief Botanist for the New York Heritage and the Coordinator for the Long Island Invasive Species Management (LIISMA) program; and Steven Daniel, Naturalist and Botanist, Nature Discoveries, Rochester, NY  present about the highly invasive Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender falsebrome) infestation in Tompkins County. James Balyszak will provide an update on the Hydrilla infestation and control methods being undertaken at the South end of Cayuga Lake. Finally, Jessi Lyons and Kristina Ferrare (CCE, Onondaga Co.) will provide an update of Hemlock woolly adelgid in Skaneateles watershed and the potential impact on the region. We will also have a presentation on the impact of agriculture pests on our region, which have a huge impact on our economy of the region.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be involved with your FL-PRISM. We must work together to #stoptheinvasion #FLinvasives.org

Agenda (subject to change)

Topic Speaker
8:30am Registration and poster set-up
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Overview Lisa Cleckner, MBA, PhD

Director, Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

9:15-9:45 Threats to the Finger Lakes John Halfman, PhD

Professor, Dept of Geoscience & Environmental Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

9:45-10:15 Isotopes as Assessments for Climate Change Dave Finkelstein, PhD,

Assistant Professor, Geoscience, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

10:15-10:30 BREAK
10:30-11:00 i-Tree Tools for Visualizing the Impact of Trees on Nutrient Loading Ted Endreny, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Resource Engineering, Associate Editor, Hydrological Processes & Water Resources Research, SUNY ESF,

Emily Stephan, Thomas Taggart, Ethan, Bodnaruk, and Charles Knoll, Co-presenters

11:00-11:30 No Adverse Impact- Floodplain Management Janet Thigpen, CFM,

Flood Mitigation Specialist, Southern Tier Central, Regional Planning & Development Board

11:30-12pm Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology, Trophic Tracers and Essential Nutrients Jacques Rinchard, PhD,

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Biology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York

Poster Contest Concurrent with Lunch

Lunch (12-12:30) and keynote (12:30-1)

Ecosystem Services, Finger Lakes Tourism and Economy Valerie Knoblauch,

President, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection



1:00-1:30 Reducing Pharmaceuticals in Water: NYSDEC’s Proactive Approach Scott Stoner, MS,

Chief, Standards and Analytical Support Section, Bureau of Water Assessment and Management, Division of Water, NYS DEC

1:30-2:00 Invasive Species Carrie Brown-Lima, MS,

Coordinator & Senior Extension Associate, NY Invasive Species Research Institute, Cornell University

2:00-2:30 Round Gobies in Tributaries Streams; Seasonal Abundance, Community Effects, and Energy Consumption Chris Pennuto, PhD,

Director, WNY PRISM, Professor, Biology Department & Grt Lakes Research Center

2:45-4:30 Break
2:45-2:50 FL-PRISM Welcome

Hilary Mosher, Coordinator, FL-PRISM

2:50-3:25 Steve Young, Chief Botanist for NY Natural Heritage,

Brachypodium sylvaticum (slender falsebrome) – a Highly Invasive Grass and Candidate for Early Detection/Rapid Response.

3:25-3:45 James Balyszak, Hydrilla Coordinator,

Hydrilla update in Cayuga Lake and beyond.

3:45-4:10 Jessi Lyons and Kristina Ferrare,

CCE Onondaga County- HWA in the Skaneateles watershed and its impact

4:10-4:20 Agricultural pest update
4:20-4:30 Wrap up and network
Posted in: Posts

Post a Comment