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Best Management Practices for Water Quality

Conesus Lake serves as a drinking water supply for over 18,000 people and is a valuable recreational and environmental resource for the Livingston County community. Watershed residents and lake users can do their part to protect water quality by following the Best Management Practices below.  

Waste Disposal:

Never put anything into the lake that you wouldn’t want in your child’s next glass of water. The same applies to putting anything into creeks, streams, culverts, or ditches that eventually run into Conesus Lake. 

This means:

  • No human or pet waste
  • No fishing waste
  • No hazardous materials (e.g., fertilizers, herbicides, household chemicals, poisons)
  • No garbage or discarded food
  • No leaves or grass clippings
  • No oil, gas, fuels, paints or solvents

 Lawn and Garden Care

  • Keep all leaves, lawn, and yard debris out of roads, ditches, streams and the lake.
  • Recycle grass clippings by mulching your cut grass. Or dispose of cut grass, leaves and other yard waste at your town’s recycling center.
  • Use slow-release nitrogen fertilizers that don’t contain phosphorus. Only fertilize when absolutely necessary.
  • Do not over treat your lawn; doing so harms the lake and wastes your money.
  • If you choose a commercial lawn or garden service, discuss a treatment plan that avoids over fertilizing or calls for too frequent applications.
  • Use the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s services for advice on soil testing, the appropriate amount of fertilizer to apply and when to apply it. To learn more go to:
  • If you cut or rake any aquatic vegetation, remove it from the lake. Otherwise it’s likely to wash up on your neighbor’s property or your own. Uncollected weeds will replant themselves and increase  the spread of invasive species.
  • Keep your beach area clean and free of debris.

 Pesticides and Household Chemicals

  • Use pesticides only if needed and only after identifying the best way to control the specific pest.
  • Apply pesticides only under the proper weather conditions.
  • Never pour hazardous chemicals into a storm drain, on the ground, or into the lake or any water body that feeds into the lake.

 Recreation and Boating

  • Only use onshore toilet facilities.
  • Treat Conesus Lake as a litter-free area; do not leave anything behind.
  • Do everything possible to minimize the impact your boat or PWC makes on weeds, the shoreline, and other boaters.

 Invasive Species Prevention

  • Check
    • Check your boating and fishing equipment for invasive species.
  • Clean
    • Clean any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.
    • Discard items in an upland area or in one of the invasive species disposal stations that have been installed at many boat launch sites for your convenience.
    • Zebra mussels can be difficult to remove from a boat hull. They first need to be killed by exposure to water or steam at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit and then removed by brush or pressure washer.
  • Drain
    • Drain all water holding compartments including live wells, bait wells and bilge areas.
    • Drain your boat before you leave the access site
    • Be sure to drain boat ballast tanks if your waterski or wakeboard has them.
  • Dry
    • Dry boats, trailers and all equipment before use in another waterbody.
    • Drying your boat takes at least 5-7 days in dry, warm weather.
  • Disinfect
    • Disinfect anything that came into contact with water, if it cannot be dried before reuse.

Boating Laws and Speed Limits

  • Conesus Lake has a 45 mph daytime speed limit and a 25 mph dusk-to-dawn limit.
  • Conesus Lake has a 5 mph “no wake” zone from 200 ft. offshore to the shoreline.
  • Nearly 60 speed buoys are located around the lake to delineate this “no wake” zone.
  • Avoid any contact with these speed buoys. There is a heavy fine if you damage them.

Pets and Wildlife

  • Never feed waterfowl or allow others to do so; it can make the birds sick and encourages them to remain in our area long past the seasonal norm.
  • Do not wash pets in the lake.
  • Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water