The once-pristine Finger Lakes are under stress. While they dodged a bullet in 2014 when the state banned high-volume fracking for natural gas, major threats remain: invasive species, gigantic garbage dumps, stream runoff carrying agricultural and munitions wastes, toxic waste dumps, salt mines, etc.
A drinking water source for hundreds of thousands, the 11 Finger Lakes have also emerged as one of upstate New York’s most powerful economic engines. They are home to a flourishing wine and tourism industry even as most of upstate New York is starved for economic activity.
And yet, the state and federal agencies charged with protecting the lakes often side with private interests that seek to exploit the region for profit. Ditto for many local politicians.
While local environmental defense groups try to engage these threats, local media typically remain on the sidelines. I hope my blog Water Front sheds some light on these increasingly consequential battles.
New York’s Finger Lakes
The 11 Finger Lakes, from east to west: Otisco, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock, Conesus.