Riparian Runoff Reduction Project Presentation on the Keuka Outlet Trail


Information and a walking tour of the proposed project to hydrologically connect several Keuka Outlet canals with the Minnesetah Riverway (Keuka Outlet) during times of heavy runoff to improve water quality.

For the past several years, multiple organizations and hundreds of local citizens participated in the research and scientific-based study to explore ways to improve the water quality of Seneca Lake and its massive watershed. The result of this community-wide effort, which included numerous public forums, was the creation of the Nine Element Plan (9E). This carefully crafted and NYSDEC approved quantitative watershed-based management plan specifically addresses non-point source pollution. The multi-year project has identified the type, scale, cost and location of numerous water quality improvement projects to protect the lake from excessive levels of nutrient pollution through rigorous scientific processes. As the Keuka Outlet, known as the Minnestah River by native Americans, is among the largest water flows into Seneca Lake - it presents important opportunities for water quality improvement initiatives.    

  • Sunday, May 21, 2023 - 12:30PM until approximately 3:00PM
  • 12:30PM - Pre-Walk Talk at Seneca Stag Brewing 1740 Route 14 (Corner of Routes 14 and 54)
  • 1:00 PM - Hike from Hopeton Parking Area to Proposed Sites - Parking is limited. Please consider carpooling, cycling or walking to the Hopeton site. 

Ian Smith, representing the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO), which led the 9 Element Plan study, will be sharing information about the proposed repurposing of several abandoned Keuka Outlet canals to help abate flood conditions and erosion along the riverway, while improving the water quality during times of heavy rain and excessive waterflow. After extensive data collection, numerous field visits, and statistical evaluations, Ian will present the hydrologic site solutions and conceptual designs for this wetland retention initiative, which is one of many aspects of the long term 9E Plan. 

For further information go to Nine Element Plan Summary: 

The 9 Element Partnership Organizations include:  

Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO), Seneca Lake Pure Waters, (SLPW), and the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI), Natural Systems Engineering, PLLC (NSE), Friends of the [Keuka] Outlet [Trail].  

The Keuka Outlet Trail follows the Minnesetah River and is open year-round, dusk to dawn. Depending on the time of year and weather, this glacially formed waterway can be a raging river or a babbling brook as it flows eastward approximately eight miles from Keuka Lake into Seneca Lake. A 270 foot drop in altitude from Penn Yan in the west end to Dresden, New York on the east provides ample white water including two waterfalls, notably Seneca and Cascade Falls. In 1984, a group of local citizens formed Friends of the Outlet, Inc. as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserve, protect and develop properties along Keuka Outlet creek as an area for outdoor recreation and education, and to serve as responsible stewards for the region’s natural resources. 

For further information go to or click on this link to read the organization’s most recent newsletter, The Minnesetah Current, Volume 4 Issue 1.

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