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Erie County Legislature Chairman John J. Mills has been honored by the board of the New York Water Environment Association with its Frank E. Van Lare Award for Mills efforts to protect and preserve the region’s water resources.

Mills was honored by the group at its 86th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon held Feb. 6 in New York City. Mills was unable to attend the event, so NYWEA Vice President Joseph Fiegl presented the award to him during the Greater Buffalo Water Environmental Conference held Tuesday at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.

Mills has served as chairman of the Erie County Southtowns Sewage Treatment Agency and Erie County Sewer District No. 3, and Chair of the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Recently, he developed the concept of the Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance, which started as a grassroots efforts amongst municipal officials who wanted to work together towards the benefit of the area’s waterways. Under his leadership, the group has grown into a multi-county organization that includes stakeholders from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie counties committed to addressing water quality issues affecting the New York portion of the Lake Erie watershed and its 84 miles of shoreline.