The 2024 Bob Brower Scientific Symposium
“Our Lake, Our Legacy”

People value lakes for a wide variety of reasons. Lakes can hold significant personal and cultural meaning, provide opportunities for recreation, bolster property values and even comprise people’s livelihoods. These values can motivate people to work together to protect, preserve and manage lakes for our future generations.

The Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) is an organization of citizens who conduct activities and events that increase knowledge and raise awareness of the urgency to act now, as stewards, to improve lake conditions. The Bob Brower Scientific Symposium in Plain English is an annual educational effort planned to advocate for a common mission of protecting and improving water quality in Owasco Lake. Here is what is planned.
“OUR LAKE, OUR LEGACY” is the theme of the hybrid (live and virtual) 2024 symposium to be held on Saturday, March 9, 2024 from 9 am – noon at the Auburn Public Theater, 8 Exchange St., Auburn, NY. This free event will review current research-based efforts using cutting edge technology on monitoring and managing the quality of our freshwater in language easy to understand. Register at, mark your calendar and plan to attend in person or virtually. The NYS AWWA is offering continuing education credit for Professional Engineers and Water Treatment Operators.

This year’s presenters will share interesting and thought-provoking information about our freshwater:

Ken Kudla, marketing specialist, and past board president of OWLA will present “Our Regional Freshwater Resources” and take us through the finite amount of fresh water that exists and where it is in the world. You will learn that we only have a sliver of the pie, that represents 95% of all freshwaters in the United States. Everyone will want to become better watershed stewards after hearing this presentation.

Seth Jensen, Director of Municipal Utilities for the City of Auburn will talk on the reality of “Providing Safe Drinking Water”. It will be an overview of where Auburn’s water comes from, how it is treated, monitored, and tested. He will discuss concerns with emerging contaminants, and how they are monitored and treated. To continue to provide safe drinkable water, our local municipality is investing in capital improvement projects, watershed protection and future initiatives for the health and stability of our community.

Kirsten Workman, a Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY Nutrient Management & Environmental Sustainability Specialist will draw upon her decades experience focusing on applied research of nutrient management and environmental sustainability. “The Evolution of Agriculture and Water Quality in New York – a Path of Continuous Improvement” is the title of her talk. Farming practices have changed over time as farmers have increased productivity and simultaneously improved their environmental outcomes. Sustainable farming practices play a pivotal role as keys for water quality, soil health, and climate resiliency.

Lisa Cleckner, Director of Finger Lakes Institute will comment on their current research of in-lake monitoring and trends of Owasco Lake. “What Does the Buoy Tell Us About the Biology and Ecology of Owasco Lake Phytoplankton”. Dr. Cleckner will report on data collected regarding the limnology of biological, physical and chemical aspects of Owasco Lake. She will delve into the different microscopic, single-celled photosynthetic organisms that live suspended in Owasco Lake. Like land plants, they take up carbon dioxide, make carbohydrates using light energy and release oxygen. What is changing?

The message from this year’s Bob Brower Scientific Symposium in Plain English -“OUR LAKE, OUR LEGACY” is to inspire us with hope, to become better watershed stewards. Together we can protect Owasco Lake for the sake of our own personal enjoyment, plants and animals today. We also protect the lake for the sake of the future. We must use our knowledge of natural ecosystems and our capacity to learn from each other for the sake of our grandchildren. For something bigger and more important than our yards alone, yet dependent on them as well. Act today and register at for this free symposium.
Ann Robson, OWLA Board President