About the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance
In 2010, eleven lake and watershed organizations representing the inhabited Finger Lakes in New York State formed the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance (“FLRWA”). This alliance represents over 10,000 individual property owners, residents and voters across the entire Finger Lakes region.
The purposes of FLRWA are to bring together the members, expertise and desires of the Finger Lakes watershed associations to preserve and protect their watersheds with a collective regional voice; to join forces to advocate for mutually beneficial regional changes, backed by sound research; and to promote collective actions that represent the desires of the entire Finger Lakes region.
Alliance members believe that a common cross-Finger Lakes positioning regarding the issues that face these lakes might be more successful than individual lake and watershed associations acting independently. The impact of lake and watershed associations acting together is more likely to produce positive results when dealing with agencies and higher levels of government. Alliance members also believe it is important to draw upon the collective skills and resources of the entire region’s lake and watershed associations to launch innovative pilot programs that, if successful, can be shared across the region.
Honoring Past Board Members
Lynn Thurston, First President
Lynn Thurston, who co-founded the FLRWA with Phil Cianciotto, has always been passionate about the environment. Originally hailing from Canada, she enrolled in the first environmental studies program offered by a Canadian university - the University of Waterloo. She continued her studies and received her Master's and Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of California, Berkely and her MBA from Queen's University in Canada.
After moving to the U.S. in 1996, Lynn joined the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association (CLWA) and served as its President. The Association joined forces with another lake association, the Canandaigua Lake Pure Waters Association. This resulted in a consolidation of efforts and a reduction in administrative costs. Prior to this, the Association had worked for 17 years to form a Watershed Council comprised of the cities, towns, and villages in the watershed to collectively protect Canandaigua Lake's drinking water. The CLWA had a strong history of collective impact. When invasive species issues and fracking started to gain momentum, the idea of forming a regional association of lake organizations started to percolate.
Like so many initiatives, a chance meeting occurred. Lynn attended a meeting of the New York State Federation of Lake Association (NYSFOLA) and happened to sit beside Phil Cianciotto who was the President of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA). Over lunch, Lynn asked Phil if he'd ever thought of forming a regional association. The answer was a resounding "yes." Together, and with encouragement from the Finger Lakes Institute, meetings were held with each of the nine original lake associations to share draft goals and objectives. After agreeing on the mission and goals, the FLRWA was launched in December 2010 and continues to preserve and protect the watersheds of the Finger Lakes with a collective regional voice.
Bob Brower, One of the Founders
For 35 years Bob served in his dream job as the Cayuga County Environmental Planner, and eventually Director of Planning. He went on to found the Institute for the Application of Geospacial Technology at Cayuga Community College. Bob worked with the Executive Committee of the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) to preserve and protect Owasco Lake, the source of drinking water for 50,000 people. During his career, he was instrumental in the creation of the Finger Lakes Association, the Historic Preservation Committee, and served as the Chair of the Auburn Public Theater Board of Directors. Bob worked with the Cayuga County Health Department, Auburn City Council, Cayuga County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Owasco Lake Watershed Association, and other organizations to work toward coordinating solutions to the challenges of the algae blooms and toxins affecting Owasco Lake and the threat to drinking water. Bob enjoyed working with community stewards and throughout his career demonstrated a unique dedication to stabilizing and sustaining the work of local organizations in Auburn, Cayuga County, and the Finger Lakes region.
Director, FLRWA – Jim Barre
Jim and his wife, Betsy, have been on West Bluff Drive at Keuka Lake since 1974. They first used their cottage as a weekend getaway from the Rochester area and since 1998 spend as much of the summer as possible at the Lake. Keuka Lake is a treasure that equals any lake in the country. Jim chaired the Bluff Point Association for eight years pursuing the adoption and enforcement of a land use policy on the Bluff that maintains the beauty and enjoyment of Keuka Lake. During his tenure, he developed a positive working relationship with the officials of Town of Jerusalem. Jim currently is a Director of the KLA and Chairs its Hydrofracking and Well Disposal Committee.
Jim was born in Ames, Iowa, lived in Indiana and Ohio through college where he graduated in engineering from The Ohio State University. Jim spent his working years in the Printing and Publishing Industry where he worked most of his time at Eastman Kodak in and out of Rochester in marketing and business alliance development.