The Oneida Lake Tributary Monitoring Program
Eleven sites on Oneida Lake tributaries were monitored during 2002 and 2003 to scientifically document sediment and nutrient loading to the lake and to prioritize the streams according to problem severity. The program was designed to identify watershed areas for potential restoration and protection projects.
Dr. Joseph Makarewicz of SUNY Brockport compiled a final technical report based on the laboratory and field data. Municipal government representatives and watershed stakeholders are now able to reference this data when defining goals and recommendations for the Oneida Lake and Watershed Management Plan. In addition, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Health Departments, and Planning Departments are using the data when restoration options are reviewed. Based on the Makarewicz report, the Technical Committee recommended Segment Analysis during the summer of 2003, which involved additional sampling on Oneida Creek.
During the 2002-'03 monitoring program, county sampling groups (Onondaga County Health Department, Oswego and Oneida SWCDs, Madison County Planning Department) provided staff time for the sampling sessions. The CNY RPDB provided funding for the laboratory analyses, the technical reports, and for the purchase of equipment for County use when needed. Dr. Joe Makarewicz served as the Data Manager and Quality Assurance Officer.
Twelve sampling sessions took place over the course of a twelve-month period - six "event" sampling sessions, and six "non-event" (baseline). "Non-event" sampling sessions were scheduled to represent temporal flow and loading variability. All of the "event" samples were taken within a three-hour time period. An "event" was defined as a period of heavy precipitation or significant snowmelt that resulted in a substantial increase in the volume of water flowing down a tributary. The rainfall event was within plus or minus 50% of the local average duration and total rainfall. Historic weather data was available from the Northeast Regional Climate Center in Ithaca on precipitation amounts and duration for the past several years.
On-site and laboratory analyses were conducted and flow data was collected with the use of a flow meter. The following parameters were analyzed at Life Science Laboratories, Inc. in East Syracuse: total phosphorus, TKN (total Kjeldahl nitrogen), nitrates/nitrites, total suspended solids, and chlorides. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH were recorded on-site using a HydroLab.
For the 2003 Segment Analysis on Oneida Creek, samples are taken at various locations along the entire stream during "non-event" and "event" situations. The samples are analyzed for turbidity, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, nitrate and nitrite concentrations. All water chemistry analyses are done at SUNY Brockport.
During the 2002-'03 monitoring, sampling sites were located at the base of the primary tributaries flowing into Oneida Lake. Eleven sites were sampled - 3 in Onondaga, 3 in Madison, 3 in Oneida, and 2 in Oswego. Selection of the sites was based on safety and proximity to Oneida Lake. The eleven sites were located at the base of the primary tributaries flowing into the Lake, but are situated far enough upstream to avoid any back-flow influences from the Lake. The sites in the southern watershed region were the same as those selected during 1999-2000 sampling season in order to maintain consistency. Technical Committee members and each of the four County sampling teams participated in the selection and final approval of the sampling sites.
Sites sampled in Onondaga County
Sites sampled in Madison County
Sites sampled in Oneida County
Sites sampled in Oswego County
Dr. Joseph Makarewicz
The monitoring program is a component of the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan, a regional initiative coordinated by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. This and other parts of the management plan are jointly funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation using dollars from the Environmental Protection Fund, and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency with funds secured from Congressmen Walsh and Boehlert.
For more information on the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan activities e-mail the Central New York Regional Planning Board.