Marcellus: Money secured for Project Watershed

Baltimore Woods just got a whole lot greener.

Assemblyman Will Barclay and Onondaga County Legislator Jim Rhinehart announced last week they have each secured grants totaling $15,000 for Project Watershed, an environmental program run by the Izaak Walton League through the Centers For Nature Education at Baltimore Woods.

The money will be used to pay the salary of Mat Webber, the new coordinator for New York's largest volunteer water-monitoring program. This position will ensure that Project Watershed will continue to pinpoint pollution and give high school science students hands-on experience.

"Project Watershed is an invaluable resource, not only for our water supply, but for the education of our area's high school students. Delving into creeks and waterways is how kids learn to respect the environment and learn about the far-reaching effect pollution has on our local water supply," Barclay said. "I am proud to support this project, which has only grown stronger in recent years, thanks to the dedicated volunteers."

The money will help ensure that high school students and adult volunteers continue to monitor the area's creeks and waterways. Barclay and Rhinehart each secured $7,500 respectively for the project. Some 900 volunteers take water samples and report findings to the Onondaga County Health Department through Project Watershed each year. Volunteers have pinpointed pollution, which has prompted the county to do further monitoring to find and correct the pollution's source.

County Legislator Jim Rhinehart said it is an important program.

"My son participated in the project and has gone on to pursue science as a career. It's a tremendous thing because the volunteers work with the county. The county enjoys an active testing program that Project Watershed provides. I'm so glad that we were able to team up to promote this important environmental program," Rhinehart said.

Mat Webber, the new Project Watershed coordinator will also oversee water testing and quality control procedures. The program's main goals are to make people more aware of potential threats to water quality, teach children how important water monitoring is; and motivate support to achieve optimal water quality in the region's watershed.

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