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Watershed Inspectors walk to an OWLA nutrient and bacteria sampling site on the Owasco Inlet.

Program Background

​Based in Auburn, NY, the Watershed Inspection and Protection Division (WIPD) is responsible for monitoring and responding to water quality issues in three counties: Cayuga, Onondaga, and Tompkins. The WIP was established in August of 2007 through an agreement with the City of AuburnTown of Owasco, Cayuga County agencies, and other Owasco Lake advocates.  

Inspection and Protection Division Mission


​The Inspection and Protection Division's mission is: to make regular and thorough inspections of Owasco Lake, its watercourses, and its watershed to ascertain compliance with the Rules and Regulations of the Owasco Lake Watershed and to provide educational outreach to the watershed community to foster lake stewardship.


The Inspection and Protection Division strives to ensure that the quality of our water is held at a high standard by providing those living within the watershed with the knowledge and tools needed to improve water quality.

Watershed Inspectors monitor construction sites for compliance with erosion and sediment control practices and any applicable permits.

Watershed Inspectors use the Hydrolab to test water quality parameters like pH, temperature, and nutrient levels.

The Watershed Inspection and Protection Division - 2018

In 2018, the Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council assumed the daily administration of the Inspection and Protection Division. 


The mission of the Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council is to coordinate actions for protecting and restoring the health of Owasco Lake and its watershed to ensure that Owasco Lake will serve as a source of public drinking water, a recreational asset, an economic driver, and an important natural resource for the well-being of watershed residents and those who benefit from its protection now and for future generations.


It is the Council’s vision that its membership will eventually be populated by representatives of all of the municipalities within the watershed.


The Council:

  1. Actively monitors and evaluates the general health of the waters of Owasco Lake and its watershed.

  2. Supports research in the watershed to help identify problem areas.

  3. Works on implementing projects by partnering with various agencies including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Finger Lakes Institute, Owasco Watershed Lake Association.

  4. Directs the Inspection Program to identify and stop activities within the watershed that may result in a decrease of water quality.

  5. Looks to implement educational programs that will increase public awareness about the responsible care and protection of the watershed.


Current Council Members (2019)

Adam Effler - Executive Director

  1. City of Auburn represented by Ginny Kent, City Councilor

  2. Town of Owasco represented by Ed Wagner, Town Supervisor

  3. Town of Fleming represented by Don Oltz, Town Supervisor

  4. Town of Scipio represented by Leslie Baxter, Town Council Member

  5. Town of Niles represented by Joan Jayne, Town Supervisor

  6. Town of Locke represented by Mary Alice Stetz, Town Council Member

  7. Cayuga County represented by Aileen McNabb-Coleman, County Legislator

  8. Village of Moravia represented by Gary Mulvaney, Village Mayor

Watershed Inspection Committee
A subcommittee of the Council which assists with Inspection and Protection Division guidance and violation review. 
The Watershed Inspection Committee is a Standing Committee of the Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council.

The current members of the Watershed Inspection Committee are:

  1. City of Auburn, represented by Ginny Kent, City Councilor

  2. City of Auburn, represented by Seth Jensen, Municipal Utilities 

  3. Town of Owasco, represented by Ed Wagner, Town Supervisor

  4. Cayuga County,represented by Aileen McNabb-Coleman, County Legislator

Meet Inspectors
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