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Great Lakes watershed gets new signs

The next time you’re taking a leisurely drive through the region’s Great Lakes watershed, you'll find some new signage displayed along the way.

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with several state agencies, gathered at Beaver Island State Park Friday to unveil brand new signs reading “Entering Lake Erie Watershed” and “Entering Lake Ontario Watershed.”

There are 15 signs placed along roadways in the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario watershed in an effort to increase awareness and education about the Great Lakes.

“It’s our great hope that when kids, in particular, are traveling with their parents they say ‘Mom, Dad, what’s a watershed?’ and we want to start the conversation,” said Judith Enck from the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 office. “So people know what a watershed is and the importance of protecting it.”

The project is the result of a collaboration between the EPA, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the state Transportation Department and the Thruway Authority.

Some areas of installation are along Interstate 90 east heading toward Batavia and west in the Utica-Rome area, as well as on Route 219 in Cattaraugus County.

Representatives from the EPA could not provide details on similar signage in other Great Lakes states. However, such signage exists in watershed areas in other states, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Also during the unveiling Donald Zelazny, coordinator for the state DEC’s Great Lakes Program, mentioned his involvement in the controversial Waukesha water diversion issue. The city of Waukesha is requesting to divert water from Lake Michigan.

Zelazny served as the New York State representative to the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Regional Body, which conducted a technical evaluation of the application. He said the findings -- an endorsement with conditions -- will go to the eight governors of the Great Lakes states on June 21.

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