Corydon Ireland Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
— Proliferating exotic weeds, pollution from city streets,
leaking septic systems, shrinking wildlife habitat, odorous
blooms of rotting algae.
All are among the problems besetting what some natural scientists
call New York's "northern coast." The 300-mile Lake Ontario
shoreline stretches over seven counties from the Niagara
River to the St. Lawrence River.
A conference Friday in Pittsford, sponsored by the Rochester-based
Center for Environmental Information, will puzzle over problems
among the coast's bays, rivers, creeks and bogs.
"Some (shoreline) weed growth is so dense and intense it
rules out recreation," said Robert K. Williams, director
of Wayne County's Soil and Water Conservation District.
Swimmers don't want to jump into weedy water, he said, and
tangles of aquatic plants foul boat propellers and fish
lines in Sodus Bay, Blind Sodus Bay and other inlets that
draw crowds in good weather.
Joseph Makarewicz, director of the environmental science
program at the State University College at Brockport, said
the conference will consider the state's lake coast as a
region, with interconnected problems affecting shoreline
"The economies of individual bays don't mean much," he said.
"But when you take the whole coastline of New York state
-- that has a lot of impact."
And there's a deepening ecological cost, said Makarewicz.
Polluted near-shore areas are not getting cleaned up as
rapidly as Lake Ontario's deep water.
But regional planning and cooperation have worked brilliantly
elsewhere, he said, reversing degradation in the upper Hudson
River, in Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades of Florida.
More than 30 co-sponsors at the conference include public
and private agencies and companies such as Eastman Kodak
and Xerox Corp. Experts on tourism, fisheries, economics,
planning and remediation will speak.
N.Y. Secretary of State Randy Daniels will speak, along
with state Sen. George Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda, Niagara
County, whose district spans three lake counties.
Lake Ontario's open water is cleaner than it has been in
100 years, said Makarewicz. But coastline pollution persists,
and -- like the reek of summer algae -- is more obvious.
"Most people walk along the shoreline," he said, "and that's
where the problems are."
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