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Make a Difference for Seneca Lake!


It takes many hands and hundreds of volunteer hours to support Pure Waters Water Quality Programs and overall operations. 

We have a place where you can help, regardless of your skill set or interests. 

Please jump in and volunteer today!

You can make a difference for Seneca Lake and the community.

Volunteers can help Seneca Lake Pure Waters in primarily three areas:

Follow the links below to learn more about these volunteer opportunities

Citizen Science & Water Quality Testing

Lake Level Monitoring

HABs Shoreline Monitors


Harmful Algal Bloom Program Management Team

Stream Monitoring Sampling Teams

HAB Sign Project Team

Invasive Species Shoreline Volunteers

Education & Community Outreach

Lake Friendly Living Committee

Membership Committee

Event Coordination

Organization Development & Support


Writers & Editors

Graphic Artists

*Urgently seeking volunteers opportunities highlighted in RED

Citizen Science & Water Quality Testing

Lake Level Monitoring Committee

Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is actively seeking volunteers to serve on our Lake Level Committee.  The committee will initially meet on a monthly basis and is responsible for creating an Extreme Water Level Notification process and for providing lake level and shoreline preservation content for our membership through the Pure Waters website and newsletters.  If you are interested learning more about the “ups and downs” of Seneca Lake and have a few hours a month to serve as a Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association volunteer please follow the volunteer link above.

HAB Shoreline Monitors

Toxic cyanobacteria blooms, often called harmful algal blooms or HABs, form in the lake during the mid-to-late summer. Seneca Lake Pure Waters is in its 8th year surveying for and reporting HABs. We warn the community when they occur and the bloom data are important for researchers.     

While many of our experienced volunteers are returning (thank you!), we need more volunteers to fill in coverage gaps around the lake. You don’t have to live on the lake to volunteer.

Expectations include a two-hour remote training session and monitoring a mutually agreed on shoreline zone at least once a week from August through early October.

We especially need volunteers in the areas marked in red on THIS MAP.


    Citizen Statewide Lake Assessment Program

CSLAP is a lake water quality monitoring program administered by the New York State Federation of Lakes Association and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Sampling begins in June and is done every 2 weeks, for 8 total sessions through September. Observations are made of weather and lake conditions, water clarity is measured, and samples are taken near surface and at a prescribed depth of 18 meters for lab testing. Water temperatures are recorded and the samples are processed for shipment to the lab. Forms of phosphorous and nitrogen are measured, along with pH, conductance, and chlorophyll (an algae indicator). Four mid lake sites, spaced from north to south on Seneca lake, are sampled by Pure Waters volunteers. Data is analyzed by DEC scientists and a lake report is generally available in the following spring.

      Two Person Teams of Volunteers

  • Boat required for offshore lake water testing
  • Home lab processing (all materials provided)

Harmful Algal Bloom Program Management Team

During the summer and into fall, the Pure Waters fields a strong volunteer force to look for and document HABs as well as take samples. In 2020, we had over 120 volunteers covering 60 miles of shoreline. We expect 2021 to be even bigger as we venture out to cover beyond the shoreline and into the lake. We also coordinate extensively with the Finger Lakes Institute, NYS DEC, the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association and the Keuka Lake Association. Managing such a large force requires extensive planning by a few dedicated people.

Our management structure consists of a Director, 4 Regional Coordinators and staff support for reporting and management systems, training, and communications. We need assistants for the Director and Regional Coordinators and welcome as many support people we can get. The more people working together, the less the workload is for any one individual.

As the HAB Team has gained experience, individuals have moved to start other programs and grow the Pure Waters reach and effectiveness. We need to have a pipeline of individuals to learn the program so they can step up in the future.

The following are brief descriptions of the roles we are looking for. None of these positions requires someone who lives on the lake. They are a great opportunity for those that love the lake or feel strongly about helping, but may not feel they can do shoreline monitoring.

Assistant Director (or any single role below)

  • Administrative support
  • IT and data collection support
  • Communication and writing, formatting articles
  • Training delivery materials
  • Communications (e.g. weekly Bloom Watch newsletters)
  • Developing educational materials

    Regional Coordinators

  • We are organized into 4 regions
  • Not required to be shoreline monitors or live on or near the lake
  • Manage about 20-30 shoreline volunteers during the HAB season (August into October)
  • Help plan for the season and train the volunteers

Stream Monitoring 

Sampling Teams

We are looking for a few pairs of  volunteers spread around the lake for “popup” sampling of nutrients. It won’t be a set schedule for sampling, but as conditions warrant. An example of this was recently a stream on the east side was foaming due to manure spreading. A training session will be required. The following streams are targeted for sampling. Big Stream (Glenora), Keuka Outlet (Dresden), Kashong (Geneva), Castle Creek (Geneva), Indian Creek (Ovid) and Catharine Creek (Watkins Glen).


We are also looking for 2 pairs of volunteers for NYSDEC'S Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators program (WAVES). Volunteers must be willing to enter a stream selected by Pure Waters, safely at low water levels, two to three times between July 1 and Sept 30 with each collection estimated to take 4-5 hours. One volunteer holds a net as the other walks upstream, kicking up the stream bed. Macroinvertebrate samples are collected in the net and sorted. More information can be found HERE.  A waiver is required to be sent to the DEC for the WAVES program and volunteers will also be trained for neonicotinoid sampling.

Volunteers will need to transport samples to Community Science Institute in Ithaca (nutrients), or SLWPA Office in Geneva (WAVES and Neonicotinoids). 

HAB Sign Project

In fall of 2019 Yates County Health Department decided to use some grant funding for HAB information signs at strategic locations on lakes within its boundaries. It partnered with Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, Keuka Lake Association and Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association to adapt an EPA design and procure the signs. Seneca Lake will get about a dozen metal signs to place at key lake access locations. There are also laminated posters and handouts that can be posted at Lake-related businesses.

In January 2020, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association partnered with Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association to procure a small grant for signs in Ontario County. Seneca Lake has another dozen signs ready for placement.

In order to complete the project the Association needs someone to lead the installation effort.

      Metal Signs

  • Survey and document potential locations for signage.
  • Work with property owners, private and public, to arrange installation.
  • Document locations and property owner contact information.
  • Where necessary, arrange for someone to install the sign.


  • Identify businesses as candidates for posters.
  • Work with businesses to display posters.
  • Catalog poster locations.

Invasive Species

Shoreline Volunteers

In this second year of out Invasive Species Program we desire to expand our lake coverage and knowledge of invasive macrophyte species that reside in our lake, and become more aligned with efforts that would control introduction of more harmful weeds.  Our near neighbor, Cayuga Lake, has been fighting the proliferation of Hydrilla, and we need to step up our efforts to prevent introduction into Seneca Lake.  

   Invasive Species Shoreline Volunteer:

  •  Aquatic plant survey volunteer, includes training, rake toss and data submission every 2 weeks during summer months
  • -Boat launch water craft steward volunteers, includes training and inspection of boats/trailers at launch sites
  •  Monitor and report terrestrial invasive species that lead to negative water quality impacts.

Education & Community Outreach

Lake Friendly Living 

Pure Waters Lake Friendly Living Program seeks volunteers to help promote and educate residents about home practices that can have a positive impact on our lake. As a Lake Friendly Program volunteer, your role can cover a variety of promotion and education needs including:

  • Introduce the program to your community through meetings with your social, religious and professional groups. Pure Waters will provide you with information and materials.
  • Organize a workshop on “how to’s” related to landscape techniques such as planting rain gardens, buffers and native greenery, installing a rain barrel or permeable surfaces

Let us know what you are interested in doing and we will help make it fun and easy to do! Thank you!

Membership Committee

Pure Waters is looking for volunteers to serve on the Membership Committee. This committee plays a critical role in the recruitment and retention of our membership base. The role of the Membership Committee is to:

  • Promote the benefits of Pure Waters membership.
  • Identify strategies to increase membership.
  • Work to retain current members.
  • Identify strategies to enhance the value of a Pure Waters membership.
  • Recommend dues structures and member benefits.

Serving on the Membership Committee would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about preserving and protecting Seneca Lake. Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone.

Event Coordination

Pure Waters is looking for volunteers to serve on the Events Committee. This committee plays a critical role in developing and coordinating key public events across the watershed.  As an example, both educational and fun events at wineries and craft beer locations are planned by the committee. The primary role of committee team members includes:

  • Event coordination and venue selection
  • Event advertising and promotion
  • Event calendar development
  • Annual Meeting/Silent auction planning and coordination

Serving on the Events Committee would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about preserving and protecting Seneca Lake through fun and educational events. Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone.

Photography Enthusiasts

Develop a Photo Contest

Pure Waters is looking for volunteers be part of a Photo Contest Team responsible for developing a photo contest for residents of our Seneca Lake watershed. Awards for the best photos will be presented at the Pure Waters Annual Meeting in August. In addition, photos will also be used in various newsletters and brochures. The role of the Photography team will include:

  • Investigate how other Finger Lakes have structured their photo contests.
  • Develop a solution for storing photos.
  • Launch the contest to the Seneca Lake watershed community.
  • Judge photo entries.
  • Help assemble awards to be present at the Annual Meeting.

Serving on the Photo Contest Team will help us spread the beauty of our Lake. In addition, the photos collected will enrich our newsletters and other collateral material developed by Pure Waters. Meetings for this activity will typically occur once a month.

Organization Development & Support

Writers and Editors

Pure Waters is looking for volunteer writers and editors to serve on the Communications Committee. This committee plays a critical role in developing both hard copy and soft copy communications to deliver to the Pure Waters membership base and the community at large. The primary role of communications team is to develop and deliver:

  • Newsletters
  • On-line presence/Website/Social Media
  • Brochures
  • Event displays and posters
  • Annual Meeting programs
  • Press Releases

Serving on the Communications Committee would be a natural fit for anyone who feels passionate about preserving and protecting Seneca Lake through clear and effective communications. Committee meetings occur once a month and can be attended in person or via phone.

Finance Committee Volunteers

The Pure Waters Finance Committee, led by the Treasurer and a co-chair, supports the Treasurer and board of directors by recommending financial policies, developing the annual budget, monitoring financial performance, handling ad hoc financial issues, and collating the annual report.

While board members fill most of the positions, the committee seeks to have non-board committee members to provide a fresh perspective and energy. The committee is particularly interested in individuals with non-profit, business, or financial/accounting experience. 

Meetings occur the second Monday of each month in the late afternoon, usually lasting about 45 minutes to an hour. Preparation time is usually less than 30 to 60 minutes. Total time spent less than 2 hours per month.


Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association

P.O. Box 247

Geneva, NY 14456


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