"A watershed is a geographical area where water drains into a particular receiving water body."
Everyone in the City of Ithaca service area lives in a watershed. In keeping with the mission of the Water & Sewer Division which is to enhance the health and quality of life in the Ithaca Community by providing an adequate supply of safe water and to treat and dispose of the City's wastewater in a responsible manner, the environmental integrity of the watershed is one of our major responsibilities.
The City's primary watershed is the Six Mile Creek watershed, which extends southeasterly from the City approximately 20 miles and covers an area of approximately 46.4 square miles. For the past five years the Ciy of Ithaca has been working with several other municipalities and citizens to manage the Six Mile Creek watershed and several other watersheds in Tompkins County. For more information about this project please contact the Water Treatment Plant at (607) 273-4680.
Six Mile Creek Stream Bank Stabilization
Three critical areas are being targeted for stream bank stabilization in an effort to decrease sediment loading to the City's Silt Dam and ultimately to the Water Treatment Plant. The #1 cost of treating our water comes from the use of chemicals to remove sediments. This project is being implemented with the cooperation of the Town of Caroline and private landowners.
Six Mile Creek Riparian Forest Developments
This project was originally encompassed in the stream bank stabilization efforts. Due to a lack of funding, this portion is being developed separately through a collaborative effort with the Town of Caroline, Ithaca and Skaneateles Cooperative Extension offices, private landowners, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Grants are being sought.
Sources that Pollute the Watershed
- Improperly maintained septic tanks
- Increase in paved areas
- Improper use of lawn, crop and garden chemicals
- Destruction of wetlands
- Channelized and concrete-lined drainage ways
- Oil, antifreeze, and gas leaks from autos
- Improper containment and disposal of animal waste
- Stream bank/road bank erosion
- Agricultural run-off
- Urban runoff
- Storm water run-off
For more information about local watersheds, please visit the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.
Links and Resources
- "Geohydrology and Water Quality of the Valley-Fill Aquifer System in the Upper Sixmile Creek and West Branch Owego Creek Valleys in the Town of Caroline, Tompkins County, New York"
- "Geohydrology of the Stratified-Drift Aquifer System in the Lower Sixmile Creek and Willseyville Creek Trough, Tompkins County, New York"
- Six Mile Creek Status Report - May 2007 (PDF)
- Six Mile Creek: A Management Overview (PDF)
- Six Mile Creek - Flood Mitigation Needs Assessment (PDF)
- Proposed Six Mile Creek Management Actions (PDF)
- Research - Six Mile Creek Sediment Source (PDF)
- Monitoring Plan - Southern Basin of Cayuga Lake (PDF)
- Cayuga Lake Report - July 2008 (PDF)
- Wetland Protections in Tompkins County (PDF)
- Phosphorus Loading and Related Impacts on Southern Cayuga Lake (PowerPoint)
- Download PowerPoint Viewer