The Oneida Lake and Watershed Management Plan

Trivia TestAre You an Oneida Lake Expert?
Test Your Knowledge of the Oneida Lake Watershed


Printable handout/flyer

Questions (answers below):

  1. What is a watershed?
  2. How many acres are located in the Oneida Lake watershed?
  3. How many fish species have been identified in Oneida Lake?
  4. How many miles of trout streams are in the watershed?
  5. How many commercial, full-time farms are located in the watershed?
  6. Can you identify this aquatic plant and explain its significance in the watershed?
  7. Where does Oneida Lake water come from and where does it go once it leaves the watershed?
  8. How many people live in the watershed?
  9. How much do the forests of Tug Hill contribute to the regional economy?
  10. How was Oneida Lake formed?
  11. When does the walleye season open and close?

Answers: (Back to questions)

  1. Oneida Lake watershedA watershed is the total land area that drains into a stream, river, or lake.
  2. The Oneida Lake watershed covers 872,722 acres (1,364 square miles) of land draining parts of Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Cortland Counties.
  3. A variety of fishOver 75 species of fish were recorded in the lake during the 20th century. The species ranged from small minnows, to lake sturgeon and common carp. Changes in the fish composition are likely to continue because Oneida Lake is connected to both the Great Lakes and the Hudson River systems.
  4. A troutThere are 850 miles of trout streams in the Oneida Lake watershed, including 141 miles of stocked streams. Water quality is generally high and virtually all trout streams support natural reproduction.
  5. Farmland graphicOver 300 commercial, full-time farms are located in the watershed. Agriculture accounts for almost one-third of the land within the Oneida Lake watershed. The majority of the farms are dairies located within Madison, Oneida and Onondaga Counties.
  6. Water chestnut graphicWater chestnut (Trapa natans) was first sighted in Oneida Lake in 1999. This highly aggressive, invasive plant can reach 16 feet in length and completely cover surface waters making navigation and recreation nearly impossible. The plant's dense growth and spiny nutlet can impede fishing and swimming, other recreational activities and can out-compete native plants.
  7. Approximately 67% of the surface water entering Oneida Lake comes from the Tug Hill region north of the lake. The rest comes from surface and groundwater that drains portions of six counties. The water exits the lake via the Oneida River and eventually flows north to Lake Ontario.
  8. People grahicBased on the 2000 U.S. Census, the watershed has a population of 262,164 people living in portions of 69 municipalities (cities, towns and villages).
  9. Trees graphicThe forests of Tug Hill contribute over $80 million to the regional economy in wood products and paper manufacturing ( Additional benefits of forest land include recreational opportunities such as hunting and snowmobiling, water quality protection and wildlife habitat.
  10. Oneida Lake is a remnant of a much larger lake called Lake Iroquois, which was impounded by a glacier approximately 12,500 years ago. As the glacier receded the depression that remained was Oneida Lake.
  11. A walleyeThe walleye season opens on the 1st Saturday in May and closes March 15th. Current restrictions in the Oneida Lake watershed include an 18-inch length requirement and a daily limit of 3 walleye.
To learn more about our lake and its watershed, view the Oneida Lake State of the Lake and Watershed Report at


For more information on the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan activities e-mail the Central New York Regional Planning Board.

This website is sponsored with funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

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