Oneida Lake Watershed Connections, October 2006
  October 2006

Keeping Soil in its Place

Soil erosion and surface runoff affects water resources by delivering sediment and pollutants to Oneida Lake and neighboring streams. The Great Lakes Commission awarded a grant to the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) that is being used to reduce the flow of soil, nutrients and other by-products of erosion to Oneida Lake. As part of this project, the Madison County SWCD completed a streambank stabilization project along Oneida Creek. The CNY RPDB also collected aerial photographs of Oneida Lake and developed educational brochures and posters for homeowners and municipalities. For additional information, contact Steve Lorraine at the SWCD, 824-9849 or Anne Saltman, CNY RPDB,


Volunteers Participate in the Adopt-A-Shoreline Program

Aquatic plants created problems in Oneida Lake this summer so volunteers helped out by monitoring plant growth, removing plants from the lake, and sharpening their plant identification skills. As part of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s (CCE) “Adopt-A-Shoreline” program, volunteers around the lake tracked the presence and spread of invasive aquatic plants such as water chestnut, Eurasian watermilfoil, and European frogbit. Volunteers attended CCE’s training workshop to learn how to identify aquatic weeds that threaten Central New York waterways. They monitored “adopted” sections of shoreline and reported plant growth to CCE. CCE also developed an educational placemat about water chestnut, conducted two public workshops on invasive aquatic plants, and coordinated private workshops for NYS Canal Corporation employees and US Coast Guard Auxiliary staff. For additional information contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at (315) 424-9485 or visit

Frogbit with blossom

New Research Vessel for Lake Research

Hamilton College was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to support research on Oneida Lake. The award was matched with funding from Hamilton College resulting in a total award $1 million. This initiative will allow the college to purchase and maintain a permanent research vessel to work on Oneida Lake for sediment and bottom survey studies, including inputs from Fish Creek and Oneida Creek. Plans are in place to launch the boat in the spring of 2007. For additional information, contact Dr. Eugene Domack at


Space-Age Technology Measures Water Quality in Oneida Lake

New space-age technology is now measuring water quality in Oneida Lake. A water quality monitoring buoy was deployed in Oneida Lake off Shackelton Point this summer. The instrument continuously measures environmental parameters in Oneida Lake including water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, algae (including toxic forms), and turbidity. The equipment has solar panels that power its sensors which send results to shore-based computers. The new buoy was installed thanks to SUNY-ESF, the Cornell University Biological Field Station, Sensis Corporation, O'Brien and Gere Engineering, and New York Sea Grant. For additional information contact Ed Mills at

Water quality monitoring buoy

Volunteers Monitor Water Quality in Local Streams

Three programs are available this year to anyone interested in monitoring the water quality of Central New York streams: Project Watershed in Onondaga and Cortland Counties, Project Oneida Lake Watershed in Madison, Oneida and Oswego Counties, and the Select-A-Stream Adult Program in Onondaga County. These programs are all managed and maintained by volunteers dedicated to water quality and environmental education. The monitoring method is based on Izaak Walton League of America’s Save Our Streams program. If you would like to plan a stream monitoring activity this fall, contact Project Watershed Field Coordinator Bill Legg at 677-5194, (

Minimum Tillage Helps to Control Erosion

The Great Lakes Commission awarded a grant to Madison County for a Minimum Tillage Program. The grant funding will be used for program development and special equipment designed to reduce the rate of soil erosion from agricultural fields. Several agencies will also participate in educational opportunities for the farming community. Approximately 600 acres of zone tillage will be completed within a two-year program. For information, contact Michael Johnston, Madison County SWCD, at 824-9849.

Craig Nels, Summer Lecture Series, 2006


Sailboats on the shore at Oneida Lake

Students Raise Public Awareness About Stormwater Pollution

This past spring, more than 85 students visited neighborhoods around the Oneida Lake watershed with bottles of paint and a message: “DUMP NO WASTE: DRAINS TO CREEK/LAKE.” As part of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Storm Drain Stenciling Program, students stenciled this phrase next to 115 stormdrains on streets near Oneida Lake and it’s tributaries. Stormdrain stenciling is an effective way to remind local residents that stormdrains should never be used for the disposal of contaminants such as motor oil, antifreeze, leftover paint, or lawn chemicals. The students also distributed educational doorknob hangers to hundreds of nearby residences. Everyone can help prevent contaminants from washing down drains by picking up pet waste, bagging leaves for curbside pickup, planting or mulching exposed soils that are vulnerable to erosion, and using lawn chemicals and fertilizers responsibly. On behalf of the town of Manlius, the CNY RPDB obtained funding for this project through an NYS DEC Environmental Protection Fund grant. To learn more about this program, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County at 424-9485.

Student stenciling project

East Branch of Fish Creek Conservation Easement

Local efforts to protect a tract of nearly 45,000 acres in the heart of Tug Hill, once owned by Lyons Falls Pulp and Paper, was finalized in February 2006. The Nature Conservancy conveyed a conservation easement protecting its 14,000-acre holding to the NYS DEC. A conservation easement agreement was also passed to protect CMO Renewable Resources’ 30,300 acres and the ownership of a strip of land buffering the main East Branch stream corridor was transferred to the state. The East Branch of Fish Creek Working Group worked diligently over the past 11 years to ensure that local needs were met. For additional information contact the NYS DEC at 376-3521.

Staying Informed About Oneida Lake and its Watershed

The CNY RPDB and the Oneida Lake Watershed Advisory Council work on projects that restore and protect water resources throughout the five-county watershed. Advisory Council Board meetings are staffed by the CNY RPDB and are held on the 4th Tuesday of the month. The public is welcome to attend. For additional information about the CNY RPDB or the Watershed Advisory Council or if you would like to schedule a PowerPoint presentation about local water resources for your municipal board, please contact Anne Saltman, Senior Planner, CNY RPDB, 422-8276 or


“Watershed Connections” is produced by the CNY RPDB with funding from the U.S. E.P.A. It is distributed electronically and in hard copy format to agencies, organizations, and municipalities throughout the Oneida Lake watershed. To add your name to our e-mail list or to submit news items, please contact Anne Saltman, CNY RPDB, 126 N. Salina Street, Suite 200, Syracuse, NY 13202 or

Disclaimer: Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA under assistance agreement X-97281200-0 to CNY RPDB, it has not gone through the Agency's publications review process and, therefore, may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board
126 N. Salina Street, Suite 200
Syracuse NY 13202     (315) 422-8276