Wednesday, December 24, 2008

News from the Finger Lakes Institute

We recently recieved an e-mail from Sarah Meyer with the latest happenings from the Finger Lakes Institute:

January 2009 Happenings at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Education Outreach
- Science on Seneca Database Project
- SOS Lesson Plan: Invasive Mussels

Community Outreach and Public Service

HWS Alternative Spring Break- An Act of Conservation
- Recruiting HWS Students for March 2009 Trip
Finger Lakes Institute supports HWS Community Based Research Projects
-Sarah Holland WS’09, Green Space In Geneva
-Susan Kridler WS ’11, Geneva Biking Initiative
Studying and Maintaining the Quality of Syracuse’s Drinking Water –Skaneateles Lake
-Soni Pradhanhang, SUNY ESF, presents in January

FLI Events :

January 8: Monitoring and Modeling: Assessing Best Management Practices in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed

January 29: FLOW: How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water -Movie Showing and Discussion

Sarah A. Meyer

Community Outreach Coordinator

Finger Lakes Institute
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
601 S. Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A look back at the past year!

It has been a very busy year for OWLA and the movement to further protect Owasco Lake. Where has the time gone?

2008 was definitely a year of change. OWLA transitioned to a new President; Joe Wasileski. We also welcomed a whole new group of active members as well as adding several new Directors to our Board. The organization has also seen a large resurgence of membership participation this year, we hope it will keep growing. Another change this year was the loss of Owasco Lake's longtime advocate, Congressman James Walsh, who decided not to run for an additional term. Jim will be greatly missed by the protectors of Owasco Lake. His legacy of bringing back funding and sponsoring legislation to protect the Fingerlakes will be hard to ever match. Stay tuned for another separate blog to celebrate all of Jim's accomplishments over the years. Thanks Jim!

In April, we started this blog with the intent to get more timely information about what was going on in the watershed to our membership and the public. We hope we have met that goal and possibly exceeded it.

The spring began with a major push to bring some closure to the Groton Sewage Treatment plant issue. There was quite a bit of discussion between the Board and legal advisers on how the organization should proceed to drive some kind of response from the NYSDEC. At the same time our water testing team began preparations for the upcoming season of water sampling on the lake and watershed streams.

By summer the retoric on the Groton STP situation had intensified and OWLA members put together the "First Annnual Owasco Lake Day", where it was announced that the New York State DEC had finally released a draft permit with a tighter limit for Phosphorous that would be dumped into the Owasco Inlet. Local environmental groups set up displays and local Representatives spoke about protecting Owasco Lake. Joe Wasileski also introduced a call for action, with very specific goals for us to go after. (see the OWLANEWS blog link:

It was also OWLA's 20th Anniversary and was celebrated at Emerson Park on the Owasco Lake Day. A lot has happened in 20 years. As I wrote a series of blogs about our first 20 years, I was reminded of all of our great accomplishments and the quality of people who had volunteered to make them all happen (see the OWLANEWS blog link:

Our membership committee also launched a large membership campaign which included several waves of mailings to people around the lake and in the towns served by Owasco Lake's drinking water. Our membership team has been quite creative and is really getting organized. We can't wait to see what they have planned for 2009.

Well there were many other OWLA happenings during 2008, too many to list here. Please feel free to browse back through the past months blog stories to better understand all great things going on to protect Owasco Lake and our environment. All-in-all, I believe it was a very positive year for the organization. Stay tuned for another article very soon, that will outline where we might be headed for 2009 and beyond.

As 2008 winds down I would like to thank all of our members for their efforts and support this year! I can't begin to say enough about the time our volunteers dedicate to protecting Owasco Lake. Thanks Team!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

- Lakeman

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Contrasts of Two Local Lakes!

Many folks turned out at the Auburn Public Theatre this past Wednesday for the OWLA and IGAT presentation of "Beauty and the Beast - A Tale Of Two Lakes" a documentary produced by Peter Cramer. The film contrasts Ononondaga and Skaneateles Lakes and the story of how one was neglected and the other protected.

A crowd of over 50 people attended the showing to show support for the protection of Owasco Lake and to learn more how how they might get involved. OWLA has even talked about helping to produce a documenatry to highlight the present environmental concerns on Owasco Lake. We hope if you were not able to attend, that you might show your support and consider a donation or better yet, by joining OWLA to help continue the efforts to protect Owasco Lake.

See the complete story from the Auburn Citizen:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Come out for an evening to Protect Owasco Lake and its Watershed

OWLA and IAGT cordially invite you to

"Protecting Owasco Lake
- Let‘s Get Motivated!"

Movie, Discussion and Entertainment at the
Auburn Public Theater
December 3, 2008– 7:00 PM

7:00-7:30 PM
"The Beauty and the Beast – A Tale of Two Lakes"
An award winning film created by Pete Cramer and Caleb Kerlin, graduates of Cayuga Community College.
A fascinating history of two local lakes demonstrating the importance of proper lake management.

7:30-8:00 PM
Owasco Lake Projects and Initiatives
Become a member of OWLA !!
The Owasco Watershed Network Project
Sign up for Owasco Watershed Viewer Training

Open "Café Style" Discussion and Entertainment
Meet Pete Cramer and share your thoughts on the movie.
Relax and discuss the protection of Owasco Lake while enjoying some light refreshments and live music.

Auburn Public Theater
108 Genesee Street, Auburn, NY 13021 (315) 253-6669
Entrance at Exchange Street Mall

** Donations are Appreciated **

RSVP to ensure a seat in the new Auburn Public Theater Cinema – (315) 252-8669

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Compromise proposed on Truck Plan in the Fingerlakes

The NYS DOT is reporting a possible compromise in the proposed ban on Heavy truck traffic in the Fingerlakes. The popular "short-cuts" for big rigs would become illegal and would only be allowed if these trucks have pickups/drop offs on the route. The ban would cover Routes 38, 41, 41A, 89, 90, 96 and 96A. This would also indirectly cover Rt. 38A by the Rt. 38 and Rt. 41A ban.

Truck traffic has increased steadily in last ten years over these routes as rising fuel prices have moved truckers to look for short-cuts between Rt 81 and The NYS Thruway. At the same time increased traffic has raised pollution risks to the Fingerlakes watersheds. I personally have witnessed two NYC garbage haulers overturned on Rt. 41A in the last 5 years. One of those landed in a tributary to Skaneateles Lake less than a mile upstream of the lake. Citizens have also complained of the speed and noise of the trucks in residential areas.

Thanks to our local leaders and state representatives who have finally got this problem on the track to resolution. Thanks specifically to Town of Owasco leaders Barb Clary and John Klink who have helped lead the efforts to resolve this complicated situation.

I've got an even better idea for the garbage going to Seneca Meadows - lets haul it from NYC to Seneca Meadows by railroad and save fuel and our roads. Existing railroad tracks exist within one mile of the landfill. What do you think?

see associated article in the Auburn Citizen:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Steamboat at south end of Owasco Lake

Its been a while, but as I promised we will try to from time to time share some history of Owasco Lake.

Here is an interesting post card from the early 1900's showing a Steamboat at possibly Cascade?
There were many steamboats that plyed the waters of Owasco back at that time. We are not sure which one is pictured in this scene. Maybe we will get a short article written over the winter about steamboats on Owasco Lake .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

OWLA BOD meeting - Wed. Nov. 5th

From our President Joe Wasileski:

OWLA's next board meeting will be Wed. Nov. 5th at 7pm at the Springside Inn in Fleming.

There will be a business meeting followed by a presentation on Owasco Flats with Sandie Duran; Owasco Flats Reserve and Andy Zepp from the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

The December meeting will be a special event probably held at the new Auburn Theater. It will be a fund raiser, with the showing and discussion of The Tale of Two Lakes. We will need HELP to pull this off.

A few of us are going to the Land use seminar at Belle hurst Castle on Oct 30th. Please email me if you need a ride. This will be a eye opener of a meeting. Try to make it. A complete agenda for our Nov. meeting will follow soon.

Thanks - Joe

Home Electronics Recycling - Sat. Nov. 15th

Home Electonics Collection - City of Auburn Landfill, 311 North Division Street, Auburn

Sat. Nov. 15th from 8am -1pm

Get rid of your old Televisions, Computer equipment, cell phones, radios, video games, etc.

Call CCE at 315.255.1183 for more Information

Sponsored by:

Cornell Coop. Extension of Cayuga County

City of Auburn

Cayuga County Planning Dept.

Cayuga County Office of Waste Management

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seminar: Land Use in the Finger Lakes: Oct. 30th

Land Use in the Finger Lakes: Making the Right Decisions to Sustain Economic Viability and Water Quality,

Sponsored by the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Water quality in the Finger Lakes is related to land use. Local decision making related to comprehensive planning, zoning, and protection legislation by communities surrounding the Finger Lakes will be critical to the future protection of the lakes and continued economic viability. The Finger Lakes Institute will sponsor a full-day symposium featuring a training workshop on land use decision-making by the Pace University Land Use Law Center, a panel discussion on regional approaches to land use and a demonstration of how geospatial technology can be applied in local settings to effect sound land use decisions presented by the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) in Auburn. Registration deadline, Tuesday, October 21. Registration Fee: $25.00 includes refreshments, lunch, and program materials. Register by calling (315) 781-4382 or email

Date/Time: October 30, 8:30am - 4:30pm;
Location: Bellhurst Castle, Geneva

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Watershed Workshop - Nov. 7th, 2008

FL-LOWPA's Watershed Workshop 2008

Friday, November 7th, 2008 at the Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club

- Rural Stormwater Challenges
- Aquatic Invasice Species Volunteer Programs
- Phosphorus report from Cayuga Lake
- Interatcive Mapping - IAGT
- Government partnerships
- much more!

This event is open to the public!

Contact Kristy LaManche at FL-LOWPA for more infromation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Owasco Flats - Annual Meeting - Nov. 12th

The Annual Owasco Flats Nature Reserve Meeting
will be held at 6:30 PM, Wed. November 12, 2008
at the Moravia Fire Hall.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

OWLA Meeting, Wed. October 1st

OWLA BOD Meeting, Wed. October 1, 2008 - at the Point at 7PM.

The Point is the old Sand Beach Church near the traffic circle in Fleming.

The public is invited!


1. Presentation- environmental concerns in farm operation - Dirk Young - Twin Birch Farms
2. Farm management plans - Ron Podolak - chief - Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District
3. Discussion -Terry Lattimore - moderator
4. Farm Tour - Twin Birch - Sign Up
5. Old Business
a. Housekeeping
b. Committee reports
c. Membership drive
d. Corporate Drive - Stas Kott
e. Groton update
6. November meeting - Sandie Duran Owasco Flatts
7. December meeting - Tale of Two Lakes - discussion - Bob Brower and "OWN" - Owasco Watershed Network.
8. January - no meeting (unless emergency)

Hey Guys! Big Joe Here!!

Please come to this meeting, and ask a friend or two to come. It could turn out to be a great start to a relationship, with the farming community!
This is only the beginning, but a JUMPSTART none the less.
BE THERE!!! I am counting on YOU!
Thanks !
Joe Wasileski - President

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Watershed Conference - Oct. 21st

Oneida Lake Watershed Conference

Tuesday October 21st - Lake Shore Yacht & Country Club, Cicero, NY

Municipal officials, agency representatives, nonprofit organizations, teachers, and community leaders are encouraged to attend. The event will provide an excellent opportunity to hear about local and statewide programs, to strengthen regional partnerships, and to discuss priorities for the lake and its watershed. Topics on this year's agenda include economic influences and ecosystem indicators, natural variability and trends in sediment transport, flooding and lake level management, wastewater infrastructure, the influence of global climate change on local weather patterns, and watershed education initiatives for local schools.

For more information, contact:
Anne B. Saltman, Senior Planner
CNY Regional Planning and Development Board
100 Clinton Square
126 North Salina Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 422-8276 ext

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fish Derby Oct.4th - Cancelled!

The OWLA Fishing Derby set for Sat. October 4th on Owasco Lake has been cancelled!

We regret to announce that arrangements for this fishing derby did not work out.

Thanks to everyone who worked to arrange or supported this project.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Househould Hazardous Waste Event Sat., October 4, 2008

Upcoming Hazardous Waste Collection:

CCE of Cayuga County has a long history of coordinating successful hazardous waste collections for a variety of audiences. Since the first event took place in 1996 over 1300 households, farmers, small businesses and schools have participated and more than 134,000 pounds of hazardous materials have been collected and disposed of properly. Several more hazardous materials collections are currently being planned.
For more information on hazardous materials in your home, visit Cayuga County's hazardous waste website or contact our office.

Househould Hazardous Waste Event Sat., October 4, 2008
at the County House Road Complex in Sennett.

* Pre-Registration is needed for this event. Call CCE at 315-255-1183 for more information.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reminder - Owasco Watershed Viewer Training - 9/17/08

Owasco Watershed Viewer Training

The Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) will be holding the next training session for the Owasco Watershed Viewer on September 17, 2008 at 7 pm in the GIS Lab at Cayuga Community College in Auburn. The training and software are free. The session will take about an hour and will cover the proper use of the included data, installation of the Viewer and its operation.IAGT developed the Owasco Watershed Viewer to give watershed stewards, local officials and others a new way to view and understand the Owasco Watershed. The notion is that this will lead to a more holistic view and understanding of issues affecting the health of the lake and watershed, and in turn better informed decisions can be made.The viewer runs on most PC's and features a 3D view of the terrain as well as common base layers and watershed data that can be turned on and off as needed. The application does not require an Internet connection, but there is a web based version available.

If you're interested in attending (or have questions) please RSVP to David Carr, IAGT - 315-283-9421 or 315-252-8669; We are limited to about 15 people at a time for training, but would love to schedule additional training sessions if needed, so please spread the word!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Seaplane Fly-In at Emerson Park, Owasco Lake, Sunday Sept. 14th

There will be a Seaplane Fly-In at Emerson Park on Sunday Sept. 14th. Come see water equipped Airplanes landing on the waters off the north shore of beautiful Owasco Lake. If you haven't seen a seaplane plane land or take off on the water before, this is a pretty cool opportunity to see these planes up close. This event is conducted after Labor Day each year , when the Emerson Park beach is closed and boat traffic has slowed for the season.
Hours are from 11:00am -3:00pm.

(picture from authors collection, all rights reserved - 2008, [2002 Emerson Park fly-in])

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Agenda - OWLA Board Meeting, Wed. Sept. 3rd

Dear OWLA Members,

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, at 7:00 PM at Springside Inn.

If you would like to come eat before the meeting, we will be ordering at 6:00 to be finished and ready for the meeting at 7. Please RSVP Joe
if you plan to come at 6:00 to eat.

The agenda for the meeting Wednesday night is as follows:

1. Discuss agricultural meeting and farm tours.
2. David Carr IAGT - to discuss training program.
3. Adopt A Shoreline - volunteers.
4. Tomato Festival - booth - volunteers?
5. Fish Derby, October 3 - volunteers.
6. Update on Groton
7. Owasco Flats money donation.
8. Membership drive.
9. Treasurers report.
10. Sue Muldoon Report.

Thanks for your support,

Joe Wasileski

Owasco Watershed Viewer Training

Owasco Watershed Viewer Training

The Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) will be holding the next training session for the Owasco Watershed Viewer on September 17, 2008 at 7 pm in the GIS Lab at Cayuga Community College in Auburn. The training and software are free. The session will take about an hour and will cover the proper use of the included data, installation of the Viewer and its operation.

IAGT developed the Owasco Watershed Viewer to give watershed stewards, local officials and others a new way to view and understand the Owasco Watershed. The notion is that this will lead to a more holistic view and understanding of issues affecting the health of the lake and watershed, and in turn better informed decisions can be made.

The viewer runs on most PC's and features a 3D view of the terrain as well as common base layers and watershed data that can be turned on and off as needed. The application does not require an Internet connection, but there is a web based version available.

If you're interested in attending (or have questions) please RSVP to David Carr, IAGT - 315-283-9421 or 315-252-8669; We are limited to about 15 people at a time for training, but would love to schedule additional training sessions if needed, so please spread the word!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

OWLA Fishing Derby set for Sat. October 4th-CANCELLED!

Sorry the event has been cancelled!

Fish for FISH, Not Phosphorus! the theme of the Fall Owasco Lake Fishing Derby, with proceeds going to OWLA.

Sat. October 4th from 7am - 3pm

Check-in at either Emerson Park or South Shore Marina 7-8am

Weigh-in is at Emerson Park 3pm sharp!

Cash Prizes for the top three places! ($200, $100, $50)

Plus many prizes from the following sponsors:

Absolute Repair

Bass Pro Shop

Cascade Grill

Denny's Restaurant

Handy's Bait Shop

Owasco Marine

Shore Products

South Shore Marina

The Fur Shed

For more information call 255-2363, ask for Shawn

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Great article on Emerson Park History!

I told you a while back that I would try to throw in some Owasco Lake history once in a while. Well, here is an interseting story from Laurel Auchampaugh; who is quite an exceptional historian and writer. Laurel writes a monthly column on local history for the Auburn Citizen. She is also the Owasco Town Historian as well as story teller and very active contributor to her community. If you have not read one of her stories; its about time you did:

Park offered sea plane rides
By Laurel Auchampaugh

Sunday, August 24, 2008 11:17 PM EDT (from The Auburn Citizen - Mon. 8/25/08)

The picture shown here is from an old tin-type loaned to me by James Moore. If you look closely, in the background you can see the faint image of the Owasco River and the bridge going from the main park to the island where the arcades and amusement rides were located. I did some research and found that there was indeed a sea plane ride at the lake. The name Island Park provides the clue to the approximate date of the tin-type. Before it became Enna Jettick Park and later Emerson Park, it was called Island Park.

These were the years of “the Coney Island” atmosphere created by visionary Michael Carmody. Cayuga County historian Sheila Tucker aptly described the park evolvement in her “Legends in the Dust” columns in the 1970s. She wrote, Michael Carmody bought the park in 1899 and ran it for 20 years. I believe the tin-type was taken in 1919.There were attempts by the owners prior to Carmody to make the park profitable that resulted in financial distress. One even skipped town to avoid his creditors.

When the dedication of the seawall was held in 2001, I prepared a “Timeline and History of Emerson Park.” It describes the various owners and names the park held over the years. This timeline chronicles the woes of the owners prior to Carmody, and if anyone wishes a copy of this history, please send a request for this information with a self addressed stamped envelope to: Owasco Historian, 3 Bristol Ave., Auburn NY 13021.

My memory gates opened wide as I thought of the park and our personal family experiences. I remember the cement monkey pit on the main part of the park as a 5-year-old in 1942. Years later as a young wife, I took my daughter and her friend to ride the miniature train on the Island side under a car with scalloped canopied ceilings. I can still hear the sound of the train whistle as we rode through the shade in the grove of trees along side the lake and the shock when we burst out into the brilliant hot sunshine. To our left was the Deauville Hotel surrounded by its expansive porch facing the lake.My senses were aware of the sights and sounds, even the smell of the train engine.

But it is the merry-go-round that holds a special place in my memory. Recently, my daughter and I went to see “Les Miserables” at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. It was a special outing provided by her husband for her 50th birthday. Once inside and as the theater building filled up, I looked around especially up at the ceiling. This building was built in 1930 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company with a lattice roof to house the carousel that is now restored at Hershey Park, Pa.Yes. The same ceiling that covered the second carousel is now housed in Long Island. I remember the striking animals of so long ago on their endless trek around the moving floor. I could still picture the Ostrich, with one leg up racing alongside the cat, dressed in a little coat with gold tassels. The frog and rooster so jaunty and colorful. Can you remember them too?

We were living in a three-room upstairs apartment at 24 Franklin St. 50 years ago when I read in The Citizen the Merry-Go-Round was sold and being dismantled. My husband, Milo, was stationed overseas in Germany with the Army. How he would have laughed at my plan to ride the Owasco merry-go-round one last time. (I did write him later and confess to him what I did.)I left baby Lynne with our landlords, Floyd and Marlea Montross, and drove alone to the park. I approached the merry-go-round and found a solitary attendant. I was the only person there. He did not reproach me when I asked if I could ride one last time, but patiently allowed me to ride until I was satisfied.Each time I gave him my quarter I rode a different horse. The first was a black steed on the inside that went up and down. When I rode, the band box would start up with a stirring of the drums and then the rest of the hurdy gurdy music would play a rousing march or a series of melodies - just for me.I could see all the miniature lights around the center and overhead highlighting the golden painted panels with each featuring a different scene. I remember it all so well.Last of all, I climbed astride a stationary horse on the outside. I tucked my black flat in the shiny sliver stirrup and pulled myself up. I then put my left arm around the brass pole, and with my right arm, swung out as far as I could reach trying to catch the coveted “brass ring” from the box mounted outside of the ride. With each revolution, I saw the attendant waiting at the side watching me. I would wave to him exultant and sad at the same time.When I was done, I climbed down and returned the silver rings I had managed to snare, but alas no brass ring! I drove back home to face the loneliness of waiting for my husband to come home.Home to meet the little daughter he had never seen or held. It was 1958, the time of the “Berlin Crisis, and the Berlin Wall.” We saved our money living in our little apartment and eventually purchased our home in Owasco in 1961.

Last year, a young father from Owasco now living in Pennsylvania took his three young children to Hershey Park. They rode the merry-go-round there. He called his mother afterwards to ask about the name plate posted on the ride. The plate stated the machinery and all the animals were from Enna Jettick Park in Auburn.“Mom,” he asked, “where was Enna Jettick Park?”My sister Barbara will come for a visit in September from Seattle. We three sisters - all in our 70s - always take a trip together. As a surprise, I have planned a trip to Hershey Park to create two special memories. Barbara craves chocolate, and one of her fantasies will be realized surrounded by all that chocolate.In 2006, for our 50th wedding anniversary, coming back from Washington D.C., Milo and I stopped at Hershey Park. It was November and the amusement park including the rides were closed and boarded up. I pleaded with the staff to just be able to see the Owasco merry-go-round to take a picture - but it was not possible .This fall, I intend to take another ride in the park on the old merry-go-round from Enna Jettick Park that we rode as young children.-

Sources: Hershey Park Web site: links - rides, carousel - shows a picture of the restored Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel from Enna Jettick Park on Owasco Lake; Sheila Tucker's “Legends in the Dust;” Hillary Ford with the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and “How the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse came to Emerson Park”Laurel Auchampaugh is the Owasco historian and can be reached at the Owasco Town Hall

from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoons or at

Link to article:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thanks to OWLA's 2008 Water Testing Team!

Yes, another year of water testing has come and gone. This week our team of dedicated volunteers will wind down its annual summer water testing program. Each Wednesday morning they rise and collect their samples and place them in coolers for pickup by a test coordinator . Then the samples are off to the City of Auburn's Bradley Street Treatment Plant laboratory for analysis.

So if you see any of these folks, please take a minute and thank them personally for the time they volunteer to help protect Owasco Lake.

2008 OWLA Water Test Team:

Ray D'Agostino

Becky Munn

Joe Wasileski

Bill Metzler

Dick Coalson

Shirley West

Don Delahanty

Ray Messenger

Bill Church

Ann McKee

Sarah Osborne

Ken Keppel

Paul Musso

Mike Sawran

Sharon Nelson

Elaine Dec

Gary Polinsky

Jim Ferlenda

Wally Manrow

Also a huge Thanks to the City of Auburn and its professional staff who have helped us for over 15years to analyze the water samples for 3 months every summer. And we can not forget the continued efforts of Joe Wasileski and Dick Coalson to mangage our water testing program and summarize our data; year after year.

Stay tuned here for a summary of this summers water test results.

Tony (aka Lakeman)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Article about OWLA's first 20 years.........

Intersting article on OWLA's history by Dorothy Long - Syracuse Post-Standard.

Association has lake's best interest at heart through the Owasco Lake outlet near Groton, a popular area. The state DEC recently agreed to issue a draft permit limiting Groton's phosphate discharge to two pounds per day by 2010 when its new wastewater treatment plant is up and running. The 20-year-old Owasco Watershed Lake Association considers the rule a victory.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

By Dorothy Long
Contributing writer

When NYS announced that it was going to build a prison just outside the village of Moravia, and town and village officials saw it as a sure way out of the economic slump the area had wallowed in for years.

With communities all over the region vying for a state prison, no one in Moravia wanted to endanger the deal by admitting the village's antiquated sewage treatment plant - which releases it's effluent into the Owasco Lake inlet - might not be able to handle the additional sewage from the prison.

But OWLA wanted assurance that the new prison wasn't going to be a new source of pollution.
"When the prisonwas proposed, as far as we were concerned, there was a void in how to handle the additional waste at the Moravia sewage treatment plant. We didn't believe it was big enough to handle it," Lattimore remembers.

OWL A's concerns caught the ear of the county health department, the city of Auburn and other local agencies. The state dug in its heals, Moravia stuck it's head in the sand and OWLA kept pushing.

"At first, the state didn't want to add anything to the plant. But we kept the pressure on and told them we thought they were wrong. They finally agreed and paid 100 percent of the upgrade," Lattimore said.
Moravia ended up with a prison and a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant.
And OWLA ended up with a reputation as a tough group that gets things done.

But the group didn't stop with a single success. They lobbied for weed cutters for the lake and began a program of water-quality testing that continues today.
But it wasn't the end of fighting with the state, especially the DEC.

OWLA's second president, Tony Hart took over in 1996.
"I got involved in setting up the water testing with Chris Ryan and Professor Harry Greer, from Cayuga Community College," Hart said. "OWL started in 1988. Now we have quite an extensive portfolio of data that is shared with agencies in the watershed."
OWLA volunteers collect samples from the lake, Hart said and volunteers at the Auburn sewage treatment plant do the testing.

While Hart was president the organization got involved in another program that didn't make it popular in the rural southern part of the county. They pushed for the county health department's septic system inspection regulations. "It was one of the first in the state to have a program that strict," Hart said. "Several other counties have modeled theirs after it."
OWLA began to work closely with agriculture, not as an opponent but as a partner, Hart said. "The large farms have the potential to be detrimental to the lake," he said. "But most of these guys are becoming very good stewards."

Then came Smith Corona. The business machine manufacturer planned to dump ground water used to flush a hazardous waste site in Groton directly into the inlet. Once again, OWLA joined forces with county agencies and state and local politicians to pressure the DEC to come up with a more satisfactory way of disposing of the ground water and, after a long fight, Smith Corona was forced to clean up the site without pouring pollutants into Owasco Lake.

Hart is still active with the group but enjoys working in the background. "Leading was tough. There were harsh critics and you have to keep people motivated." In 2002, when Hart stepped down, Alan Kozlowski stepped up.

Things went along quietly for a while. Testing continued and the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology at Cayuga Community College got involved. Then came the word that somehow Owasco Lake had slipped from one of the cleanest to possibly the dirtiest lakes in the Finger Lakes.

Kozlowski made the rounds of agencies and municipalities demanding a watershed inspector. It took time, and a state grant secured by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, but finally the city of Auburn and the town of Owasco agreed to cooperate and created the position.

Trouble was brewing in Groton again. A fish farm was creating a phosphate problem there, but though the DEC agreed to require their water to go through the village sewage treatment plant, the agency planned to permit the sewage treatment plant to release 4 pounds of phosphates a day into the inlet. OWLA, Nozzolio and local residents argued if Moravia could limit its phosphates to 2 pounds a day, so could Groton.

Just in time for OWLA's 20th anniversary celebration in July, the DEC agreed to issue a draft permit limiting Groton's discharge to 2 pounds per day by 2010 when its new wastewater treatment plant is up and running. The public comment period on the draft permit ended Aug. 8 and the DEC is reviewing the comments.

Now, Kozlowski said, is the time to get everyone involved in protecting the lake.
"There is a lot at stake in this period. There is a lot of significant stuff going on now," Kozlowski said. "We need more inspectors and stewards to visit the towns. We need to rewrite the rules.

Fleming is rewriting its plan to be lake friendly. That's a milestone, one of the most encouraging." The towns that surround the lake will have the most responsibility for cleaning up the lake, Kozlowski said. And it looks like they are ready to step up. "I feel very good about where we are going now verses five or six years ago," he said.

Joe Wasileski became president the first of June. Wasileski lived his entire life on the lake, and when he heard about OWLA forming, he wanted to get involved. He went to the first meeting and asked to be on the board of directors. He was the first chair of the membership committee and in those early days, membership spiked to 1,500.

"We worked hard," he said. "Sometimes there were 10 to 15 people stuffing envelopes."
Membership has dropped to 500 but Wasileski hopes to see it rise again. On the first of July, OWLA held Owasco Lake Day, hoping to attract new members and bring back some that have dropped out.

"My job is to rally everybody," Wasileski said. " People want tourism and jobs to improve the economy. The lake has to be the epicenter of the whole thing."

Wasileski has been working on an eight-part plan for the future of OWLA.
He said his original plan was more of a dream plan but other members pulled him back to reality. Here are the goals:
1. WasileskiÕ Ö Work with the village of Groton to resolve problems at their sewage treatment plant.
2. See the municipalities in the south that make up the watershed, and in the north that use the water, work together to protect the lake.
3. Protecting Owasco Flats, at the south end of the lake and restoring its wetlands.
4. Work with local agriculture.
5. Help support the watershed inspector with volunteers helpers.
6. Help form the Owasco Watershed Network, allowing agencies to share data on line and with a DVD newsletter.
7. Educate everyone about Owasco Lake with curriculum for elementary and high school and Cayuga Community College students, and create a speakers' bureau to reach out to the community.
8. OWLA will work with Robert Johnson, of Cornell University, and Dr. John Halfman, from the Finger Lakes Institute, in hopes of controlling weed growth.

"My personal goal is to rally the community and everybody in the county to get them involved and help save Owasco Lake," Wasileski said.
© 2008 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.
Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Supervisors plan to discuss Owasco Lake water quality issues

More people getting involved in protecting/improving Owasco Lake's quality!

The Syracuse Post-Standard reported the following this past Monday:

Supervisors plan to discuss issues such as water quality and ways to improve it.

Monday, August 18, 2008
By Debra J. Groom
Staff writer

The supervisors of the towns surrounding Owasco Lake soon will be putting their heads together to try to improve the lake's water quality.Owasco Supervisor John Klink said he is calling supervisors in Fleming, Niles, Venice, Scipio and Moravia to see what their concerns are about the lake quality and if they have ideas for improving the lake.

He said the goal is to be sure all the towns are on the same page when it comes to code enforcement, zoning and issues affecting the lake."Our hope initially is a meeting or several meetings," Klink said. "The towns, through codes enforcement, can supervise a bit of the lake in their towns."So far, he has talked to Fleming Supervisor Gary Searing and Scipio Supervisor Keith Batman."I am certainly in favor of this I'm very positive about it," said Batman. "I would think everybody should be in favor of this."Batman said a couple of issues he believes the group would discuss would be the draft permit for operation of the new wastewater treatment plant in Groton. The draft permit, issued in July by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, reduces the amount of phosphorus the plant can discharge into the Owasco Inlet, which runs into the lake.

Another issue is whether the lake needs a second watershed inspector."We'll be meeting with Jessica (Miles, the watershed inspector) and find out what she needs from us," Klink said. "You need a lot of eyes and a lot of ears watching and listening to what's happening at the lake."Klink said the idea for the towns collaborating on lake issues came out of the eight-point plan issued by the Owasco Watershed Lake Association at the meeting concerning the lake hosted by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, July 1 at Emerson Park.

Association president Dr. Joseph Wasileski presented the plan to further improve the lake's water quality. The key, he said, is cutting the amount of phosphorus not only from the wastewater treatment plant in Groton but from all sources including agriculture.

The third point in OWLA's plan is: Create an intermunicipal organization and agreement with all communities in the watershed to establish rules and regulations and share costs for programs.The health of Owasco Lake is important not only to the tourists, boaters and fishermen who use the lake, but also to the nearly 44,000 in Cayuga County who drink water from the lake and those who live along the lake in Fleming, Owasco, Niles, Moravia, Scipio and Venice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

DEC recieves 270 comment letters on Groton STP

The Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting this morning that the DEC has recieved 270 comment letters on the draft SPEDES permit for the Groton sewage treatment plant (STP). OWLA had launched a letter writing campaign to get people to comment on the draft permit that was issued for public comment in early July.

Thanks to all our volunteers who helped make the public aware of this important issue. Thanks also to our local government officials who weighed in for protecting Owasco Inlet and Owasco Lake.

Groton has responded with its own comments, asking for a lessening limits for phosphorous on its discharge to Owasco Inlet.

So now the DEC must consider all the comments and prepare a final permit which will drive the effectiveness of Groton's new STP upgrade design. Stay tuned.....................................

link to Post-Standard article:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Town of Groton complains to DEC about new permit limits

The Auburn Citizen reported today that the Town of Groton has written a letter of protest to the DEC complaining about the new phosphourus discharge limits that will be required under their new SPEDES permit. The permit issues the guidelines and limits for discharging sewage effluent into the Owasco Inlet which empties into Owasco Lake.

Folks, I can't believe that The Town of Groton, who has only contributed to an old problem by adding the fish farm to its STP input, does not want to minimize the damaging effluent it puts into the stream that flows through its own town. I wonder what the citizens of Groton think?

What do you think? (Feel free to post your comments here)

Stay tuned for more on this one, its not over yet..............................

link to Citizen article:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Swim Owasco on Labor day!

The Owasco Lakefront Owners Association is sponsoring "Swim Owasco" again this year. The event has been moved to the north end of the lake. The swim will go from Buck Pt. to Deauville Island at Emerson Park. A breakfast will follow at the park, catered by the Springside Inn. Registration deadline is Aug. 29th.

Call 497-1231 or e-mail for more information.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Niles - hearing on proposed law concerning lake rights - Thurs. 8/7

The Niles town board will be holding a public hearing on Thursday August 7th at 7pm to consider a proposed law that would require permits for lake rights and shared recreation on both Skaneateles and Owasco Lakes. The planning board would be given power to review and regulate lake rights in the town. This law could also affect existing lake rights. Anyone who has or who may be considering lake rights in the town of Niles should attend this important meeting.

Sorry for the late notice, the notice was on page 3 of the Wed. 8/6/08 Auburn Citizen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Please write today!

Folks - don't forget our earlier postings concerning writing a personal response to the DEC concerning the Groton STP permit application.

Your comments are desired and encouraged. Also see our past links to various represenatatives. Its pretty easy to do on-line!

Thanks for your suppport!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Write to our elected officials with your comments on Groton!

Please write our elected officials by August 8th!

To Write To The Governor:

Governor David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

To Email The Governor:Click here to email the Governor.

Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.

Contact our Senators on-line at:

Chuck Schumer:

Hillary Rodham Clinton:

or by mail/phone:

Senator Chuck Schumer
100 South Clinton Street, Room 841
Syracuse, NY 13261-7318
Phone: 315-423-5471Fax: 315-423-5185

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
James M. Hanley Federal Building
100 South Clinton Street
P.O. Box 7378
Syracuse, NY 13261-7378
Phone: (315) 448-0470 Fax: (315) 448-0476

Please write today!

link to draft Groton SPEDES permit:

Groton STP background document: article:

Posted by Lakeman at 8:06 PM 0 comments
Labels: , , , ,

From the OWLA President - Groton STP response

On behalf of the members of OWLA (Owasco Watershed Lake Association), and all citizens who cherish Owasco Lake as a resource, WE NEED YOUR HELP. We are extremely disappointed and upset by the latest position taken by the NYSDEC. They informed us, (via a press release) prior to the recent Owasco Lake Forum at Emerson Park, that they had reduced the phosphorus limit in Groton’s SPDES permit to 2 pounds per day. A couple of days later, when the permit was made public, we learned that the limit would remain at 4 pounds per day for the next four years. Their position is totally irresponsible, irrational, and unacceptable. Essentially it is a slap in the face.

Weeds and algae are growing in Owasco Lake at an explosive rate. This unprecedented deterioration is unequivocal. Take a look for yourself! The amounts of phosphorus that continue to be discharged into the Lake, and that are accumulating, are destroying the entire ecosystem. Numerous groups and individuals have been pleading for a reduction of this irresponsible discharge, but to no avail. This beautiful lake indeed, is in serious trouble, and the NYSDEC continues to adversely affect the situation. They must be held accountable and responsible. This condition is absolutely at a critical phase.

Action must be taken immediately. The reduction of phosphorous is not only possible, Groton has proven it can be done. In September 2006, under orders from NYSDEC, tests to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the Owasco Inlet were performed at the Groton Treatment Plant. The discharged phosphorous level was reduced to under 2 pounds per day. This low level was maintained for the rest of 2006 and first half of 2007, but began increasing when no draft permit was forthcoming as promised. For at least the last year, the discharge level has averaged over 4.2 pounds per day due to lack of an agreement and enforcement!

The SPDES permit, which the NYSDEC now proposes, would allow a discharge of 4 pounds per day for the next 2 ½ years, and then over 3 pounds per day until 2012!! This is unacceptable. This irresponsibility must stop now. Immediate action must be taken.

Please visit the OWLA News blog at and join our letter campaign to Governor Patterson and our Senators Schumer and Clinton et al.

Please write a personal response letter by August 8th to the DEC:

John H. Merriman, Jr.
NYSDEC Region 7, Cortland SUB-OFFICE, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland NY 13045.

You must include these four Identification fields in your response:
*Applicant’s name: Village of Groton
*Applicants ID number: 7-5028-00005/00001
*Location: Groton, Tompkins County
*Reason for specific objection:

Please ask the NYSDEC to:

#1 Reduce the amount of phosphorus that is discharged from the Groton sewage treatment Plant immediately to under 2 pounds per day, or better yet, what the latest technology can achieve.
#2 Please request them to not phase in this reduction for 4 years until 2012 as the NYSDEC requests, but impose this reduction immediately. (Four pounds of phosphates per day will grow 2000 pounds of weeds per day, every day for the next 4 years, adding 2.92 million pounds of new weed growth on top of the current crisis.)
#3 Form a Citizens Advisory Council to advise and monitor this entire process.

Please write your letter today and e-mail me a copy on our news blog at

Thank you,

Joe Wasileski
President OWLA

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Write to the DEC about Groton

from the Auburn Citizen 7/18/08

Write to the DEC about Groton

By Guy Cosentino

Friday, July 18, 2008 11:47 PM EDT

The revelation disclosed late last week by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, that the new regulations being proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation would string out the reduction of the discharge of phosphorus from the Groton sewage treatment plant should be no surprise.

Possibly to avoid listening to a public outcry at the First Annual Owasco Lake Day earlier this month, the DEC publicly said they were going to propose regulations to reduce the discharge of phosphorus from four pounds a day to two at Groton. This was after more than a year of waiting for the DEC to act after it was clear that the long term health of Owasco Lake was in free fall.
So to avoid logical and rightful questions on their failure to act, they announced without details (they would, of course, come out after the Emerson Park event) about what the specifics of the new regulations would be. As suggested in this column on July 4, local residents needed to be concerned about what was being proposed and be vigilant to the point of action on what would be proposed.

Last week we all found out from Nozzolio that the DEC's regulations are for a more gradual reduction in the phosphorus discharge from Groton. In the end it will be another four years before the levels first suggested on June 27 will come to pass (that is if the DEC approves what they are proposing and don't weaken their already loose standards because of protests from Groton).

None of us should be surprised by this failure of the DEC to act in the public's interest. The DEC has a record of double standards and erratic behavior.Remember when the city of Auburn was kept to a higher standard, being required to have double lined landfills, which raised the costs of building a landfill compared to the private venture in Seneca County? It wasn't an issue of favoring one over the other; it was about the need for consistency. How about when DEC swooped into NUCOR, then known as Auburn Steel, when a small amount of radioactive material failed to set off working sensors and the company seemed to be treated publicly like a criminal in the mid-1990s?

So with this all in mind, using the mantra that “if it is to be it is up to me,” everyone who drinks out of Owasco Lake needs to write to: John H Merriman Jr., NYSDEC Region 7 Cortland SUB-OFFICE, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland, NY 13045, listing the project as the Village of Groton's application, number 7-5028-00005/00001 and write why greater reductions are needed by Aug. 8.

There is no better time than to get this done this weekend.

Cosentino is a former mayor of Auburn and can be contacted at

link to article:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Public Comment needed on Groton STP permit

Concerned citizens - we need your help!

The DEC has issued the draft SPEDES permit for public comment. The DEC has now suggested a phase in of the two pound daily limit that would not end until 18 months after construction of the new sewage treatment plant (STP) is completed(scheduled for Summer 2010).

Folks, this issue has been on the table for over 5 years. We really should stand our ground on this issue and not allow"phasing" in the 2lb. limit. Testing has proven for all practical purposes that the Groton STP can do the 2 lbs. limit now if they want to. There are also other questions relating to the monitoring period and other effluent parameter limits in the permit.

While we are spending money to fix this treatment plant, let's all insist that we do it right. OWLA's board is working on a detailed formal response to all the issues we have identified as questionable. Stay tuned here for some talking points for your responses in the coming days. Please read more about the situation through the links below.

Public Comment Period:
Written comments on the proposed permit should be mailed no later than August 8, 2008. All comments should be addressed to:
John Merriman,
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-1090

link to draft Groton SPEDES permit:

Groton STP background document: article:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Adopt-a-shoreline training by CCE, Sat. July 26th

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County is hosting an Adopt-a-Shoreline training class on Saturday July 26, 2008 from 10am-noon at the Education Center at 248 Grant Ave. in Auburn.

Participants will learn to identify, monitor and control invasive aquatic weeds, thus enabling them to help maintain local water sources.

Pre-registration is required by calling Cornell Coop. Ext. at 315.255.1183.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canoe/Kayak Trip on the Owasco Inlet - July 26

The Owasco Flats Nature Reserve invites you to a Canoe/Kayak trip up the Owasco Inlet. Our first canoe/kayak for 2008 was held on June 14th and it was a great success!. Thanks to Bruce Natalie and everyone who attended. If you missed out, here is your chance to make plans to attend the next trip. See the attached flyer for more information.

Mark Whitmore, Forester and Author of the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Owasco Flats Report, will lead the trip on July 26, 2008 and share his knowledge of the ecological values of the Flats and the effects of water level changes on vegetation. JOIN US!

Reminder to Bring...a camera, binoculars, sunscreen, bug juice, water and check out the new canoe launch built by Tom Hayden's Construction Class. Please be aware that poison ivy does exist in the Flats (on the ground and on tree trunks) so please be careful. There are bathroom facilities at the Southshore Marina just before entering the road to the Flats.


When: July 26, 2008 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Where: Meet at the Owasco Flats parking area –
Cascade (west side of Owasco Lake), Firelane 1 off Rt. 38, past Cascade's Restaurant, go straight past marina and follow road to end.
There are Canoe and Kayak rentals
available at the South Shore Marina 315 497-2013
CALL 315-497-0343 FOR MORE INFO!
See you there!

Thank you on behalf of the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve, Inc.

Sandie Doran, Chairperson

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some Owasco Lake History...........

This view: Ice Harvesting on the Owasco Outlet at Emerson Park.

We know a lot of you have a great passion for Owasco Lake and also its very interesting history. Stories and pictures of the amusement parks, hotels, steam boats and sail boat races; all peak our interests. So we have decided to add some history to the OWLA News Blog.
I have been a student of Owasco lake history for over 20 years. Over that period I have collected quite a few interesting post cards. I will share some of the most interesting images and maybe some unusual stories in future blog entries.

If you have some Owasco Lake history you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail at

Also, check out our "links" to several web sites with some very interesting Owasco Lake History.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Owasco Lake Day - A great success!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Emerson Park today to celebrate Owasco Lake and the anniversary of the Lake Association! I would estimate the crowd at just over 250 attendees. An exceptionally large turn out by our local officials was also greatly appreciated.

Also, a big Thank you! to Norma Leone and her committee that arranged this meeting and worked all the details to make it happen. Nice Job!

One of the evenings highlights was the unveiling of OWLA's action plan for Owasco Lake. President Joe Wasileski and the OWLA board have developed an action plan for the future of Owasco Lake.

OWLA ACTION PLAN - July 1, 2008

1. Aid and Assist the Groton Community in facilitating their STP expansion
Attend public hearings, give input in the SPEDES permit process, aid and partner with Groton in this endeavor
Encourage possible movement of the fish farm to a more advantageous site

2. Create an INTERMUNICIPAL Organization and agreement with all communities and agencies within the watershed
Cost sharing and expansion of steward programs
A coordinated approach of all communities and agencies within the watershed is necessary to assure best practices to protect the lake
Identify ecologically critical areas within water shed
Establish regional approach to rules and regulation within entire watershed

3. Permanently protect and preserve OWASCO FLATS
Fund land purchases and increase awareness of the tremendous importance of this area to our water.
Restore portions of land to their original wetland state to aid in nutrient deposition
Work with land owners to provide buffers to reduce sedimentation
Partner with Owasco Flats Nature Reserve and WQMA to aid in mission

4. Promote viable and safe AGRICULTURE within the watershed
Utilize buffers and wetlands to control runoff and endorse best nutrient management practices
Partner with farmers to buffer all existing tributaries within their acreages
Help obtain funding to aid farmers in these goals
Tour farms to obtain understanding and cooperation

5. Support the role and resources of the WATERSHED INSPECTOR
Instill a sense of stewardship in all people living within the watershed
Aid inspector in anyway possible through volunteerism
Aid steward in educating lake residents
Help expand and broaden the inspector programs

6. Create the OWASCO WATERSHED NETWORK (OWN) developed by IAGT
Foster the creation of partnerships between key Owasco Lake stakeholders and agencies
Share data and information with a prototype internet portal connecting websites, and develop an electronic newsletter on DVD format
Employ and evolve decision making capabilities utilizing this system

7. Educate everyone within the watershed of the enormous importance and potential of OWASCO LAKE
Inspire an awareness, understanding and appreciation for Owasco Lake and its watershed
Develop curriculum to be taught in grammar schools and high schools
Develop courses at CCC in Environmental Science targeting Owasco Lake utilizing their interactive auditorium (for use by all residents)
Speakers Bureau and outreach to community

8. MONITOR AND SUPPORT the management of invasive species
Identify areas that need weed harvesting (Robert Johnson – Cornell)
Study new methodology to eradicate weeds eg. (Skaneateles Lake Program), lake mats, natural predators
Obtain permanent funding to aid programs
Continue OWLA water testing program and ally with Finger
Lakes Institute and Dr. John Halfman in their programs

Please come to our next board meeting to help OWLA work as group to achieve these goals for our lake!

Also at todays meeting, Senator Mike Nozzolio was bestowed Honorary Memebership in OWLA after he announced a $125,000 grant to IAGT for use in developing new technologies to enhance Owasco Watershed Management.

Many others also spoke about various environmental issues as well as energy conservation in the Fingerlakes. All-in-all the meeting was a great success that we look forward to holding in future years!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Finally, DEC lowers Groton STP discharge limit!

We couldn't have said it better, "OWLA recieves 20th Anniversary gift from the the state on friday" said the Syracuse Post-Standard in its Saturday morning edition.

Yes, it is true! After years of pressure by OWLA and local government agencies, the DEC has announced it will be limiting the phosphorus discgarge at the Groton sewage treatment plant to 2lbs. per day. This was half of the originally proposed DEC limit.

We want to give a big thank you to all the folks who have been involved in trying to wake up the DEC to push for tougher stands on water quality. State Senator Michael Nozzolio has been one of our biggest supporters on this issue. Locally, the Cayuga County WQMA, with the technical leadership of Bruce Natale, and Eileen O'Connor of the CC Health Dept., among many others.

Al Kozlowski, Dick Coalson, Charlie Greene, Paul Lattimore and Joe Wasileski, with support from other members, have poured literally hundreds of hours into this issue over the last four years. They did a great job researching this issue and bringing it to the forefront. A special thanks to Al for his leadership to the OWLA team during a long fight. Thanks guys!

This is just another example of the difference that can be made if people get involved in protecting our "Jewel", Owasco Lake.

Don't forget this Tuesday July 1st is Owasco Lake Day! Come out and celebrate with us at Emerson Park from 5-7pm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't forget: Owasco Lake Day July 1 at Emerson Park

Senator Nozzolio and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association will host Owasco Lake Day at Emerson Park onTuesday, July 1, at 5 PM in the Pavilion.

Come celebrate our Lake and OWLA's 20th anniversary!

On the agenda:
- Senator Nozzolio will discuss protecting Owasco Lake
- The Finger Lakes Institute will be issuing the final results of their studies in Owasco Lake and its tributaries
- The DEC's draft permit for Groton will be coming to a head
- OWLA will be putting forth an action plan for all stakeholders around the lake
- OWLA will celebrate two decades of safeguarding the Lake with a 20th anniversary cake and a special membership offer.

Also; displays by Cornell Coop. Ext. of CC, IAGT, OWLA and others....

This will be our third summit. Let's make it standing room only. It's time to act!

Owasco Lake Buoy Weather Information Now Available

Owasco Lake Buoy Weather Information Now Available!

With the help of the Upstate Freshwater Institute (UFI) in Syracuse, NY, current weather conditions on Owasco Lake are available in “near real time” on the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology’s (IAGT) web site. The information can be accessed from their home page ( using the “Owasco Lake Buoy Data Feed” button on the right side of the page. If you prefer, the full URL for the page is . There are also links on the page to the water quality and weather trend data collected daily by UFI, and OWLA’s web site as well.

For any of you interested “techies” out there, the data is uploaded from the buoy via cell phone system to UFI, where it is processed and then sent on to IAGT’s servers via FTP and then posted on the web site. As a result, the weather information on the web page is updated every 20 minutes, but the actual time of the reading may be as much as 40 minutes old when viewed.
For more area weather information, IAGT also maintains a land based weather station with more detailed information for conditions in Auburn, NY: .
Questions? Contact David Carr, IAGT: 315-283-9421,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canoe/Kayak Trip up the Owasco Inlet 0n Sat. 7/26

The Owasco Flats Nature Reserve is sponsoring a Canoe/ Kayak Trip up the Owasco Inlet with Mark Whitmore, Cornell University, Natural Resouces Dept. When: Sat. July 26th Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm "Ecological Communities of the Owasco Flats"

- see the full FLLT report at

Program on Control of Eurasian milfoil in Owasco Lake

The Owasco Lakefront owners are sponsoring a talk on Saturday June 28th at the Cascade Restaurant. Firelane 1, west side of Owasco Lake, in the Town of Moravia.

Owasco Flats Nature Reserve's Jean Siracusa and Bob Johnson of Cornell Ponds will be presenting their work on Biological Control of Eurasian watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive species in Owasco Lake. TIME: 1pm - needs to be confirmed!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

UPDATE: Owasco Lake Day July 1st at Emerson Park

Owasco Lake Day July 1 at Emerson Park

Senator Nozzolio and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association will host Owasco Lake Day at Emerson Park on

Tuesday, July 1, at 5 PM in the Pavilion.

On the agenda:
- The Finger Lakes Institute will be issuing the final results of their studies in Owasco Lake and its tributaries
- The DEC's draft permit for Groton will be coming to a head
- OWLA will be putting forth an action plan for all stakeholders in the lake

And - OWLA will celebrate two decades of safeguarding the Lake with a 20th anniversary cake and a special membership offer.

This will be our third summit. Let's make it standing room only. It's time to act!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Report on Groton STP due out soon!

The Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting this morning that the DEC has stated that the draft permit for the Groton Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) should be done in late June or early July. The long awaited draft permit announcemnet will commence a 30 day public comment period. The Groton STP has been identified as a major contributor to high phosphorous counts in the Owasco Inlet and Owasco Lake.

OWLA, local officials and State Senator Mike Nozzolio have been pushing the NYSDEC for over a year to enact a more stringent phosphorus limit on the Groton STP. OWLA is urging the NYSDEC to enact a 2 lb. per day limit on phosphorous in the effluent dumped from the STP into Owasco Inlet.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Groton STP situation!

Link to article:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Owasco Lake Day! Tues. July 1st

Come out and celebrate Owasco Lake Day at Emerson Park!
Tuesday July 1st from 5-7pm,

Guest Speakers:

- State Senator Michael Nozzolio - Protecting Owasco Lake and its Watershed, Update on Groton STP SPEDES Permit

- Prof. John Halfman - Finger Lake Institute at Hobart William Smith College - State of Owasco Lake

- and hear OWLA' s action plan for the future of the Owasco Lake Watershed

Also come see various environmental displays from local groups and agencies.

Afterwards, stay for a celebration of OWLA's 20th Anniversary!

More details to follow.

Please e-mail us if your group would like to participate or if you have questions at

We hope to see you on Owasco Lake Day!

Owasco Flats Father's Day Canoe/Kayak trip - June 14th

Bruce Natale, Naturalist, Environmental Engineer and Father will be leading a canoe/kayak trip on Saturday afternoon, June 14th at 1:00pm. Bruce will share with you the History of the Owasco Flats and the bird life found in this beautiful natural area. Bring your binoculars, sunscreen and bug juice and come check out the new canoe launch! Just be aware of the poison ivy on the ground and on tree trunks.
There are bathroom facilities at the Southshore Marina.

Please meet Bruce and his daughter at the Owasco Flats canoe launch by 1:00 pm.

Directions: Take Route 38 (west side of Owasco Lake) to Cascade (approximately 5 miles north of Moravia) to Firelane 1 and Cascade's Restaurant. Pass the restaurant, and proceed slowly past several homes and straight into the stone driveway (Owasco Flats). Take the stone road to the end. You can load/unload your canoe/kayak at the loop and then park your vehicle on the side of the road. Try to carpool if you can. If you would like to rent canoes or kayaks, you can do so at the marina at the south end of the lake. Southshore Marina.

Please pass this along to anyone that would be interested.

Thank you on behalf of the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve, Inc.

Sandie Doran, Chairperson

UPDATE: If you need further information Contact Jack Phillips at 315.730.3881 or 315.282.7568

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

July Fireworks and Syracuse Symphony on the Lake!

July 3rd Fireworks and Syracuse Symphony Performance
Site Location: Emerson Park - Owasco Lake
Date(s) of the event: July 3rd
Hours of the event: Symphony 8:00pm- 9:45pm+-
Fireworks 9:45pm+-
Admission Fee: $5.00 per car, handicap and senior citizens free
Description of the event: Syracuse Symphony performs on the lawn at Emerson Park, immediately followed by a large fireworks show along the shore of Owasco Lake. Alcohol not permitted in park.

Syracuse Symphony Performance
Site Location: Emerson Park - Owasco Lake
Date(s) of the event: July 9th and July 17th
Hours of the event: 8:00 pm
Parking Fee: $2.00 per car, handicap and senior citizens free until 8:00pm
Description of the event: Syracuse Symphony performs on the lawn at Emerson Park,

Get more information on Emerson Park - Owasco Lake at their web-site:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How are we doing?

It has been two months since we started this blog to help people keep informed on Owasco Lake Watershed issues and happenings.
How are we doing?
What do you think?
Are we covering topics and news that is pertinent to you?
Do you like the information that we have linked to?
Too much? Too little?

Do you have Lake/Watershed information to share? If so, send it along.

Please e-mail us at and let us know what you think.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Next OWLA Board Meeting is Wed. June 4th!

Don't forget that the Owasco Watershed Lake Association will hold its monthly board of directors meeting on Wednesday June 4th at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Springside Inn on West Lake Rd. in Fleming.

The public is always invited. Please come and see what OWLA is about and get involved in protecting our lake.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

OWLA is 20 years old! (Part 2)

Last time, I mentioned some of the great things that have happened during our groups first 20 years. It started me thinking about what the next 20 years could bring........... maybe I'll make that a "Part 3".

As promised, I said I would share some details on the founding of OWLA back in 1988. I believe the first orginizational meetings started in late 1987, and early 1988. By summer the paperwork had been filed to Incorporate the group and make its by-laws official. The founding group of directors was: Margaret Kilmer, Michael Janas, Irene Main, Jeanette Curin, Louis Vergamini, Dr. Joe Wasileski, Alan Kozlowski, George Spears, Ann Robson, Paul Lattimore Jr., Gordon Reed Jr., and Charles Greene. You might recognize that many of those people are still active in OWLA today.

In the sumer of 1988 OWLA's first regular board of directors meetings began and along with regular membership meetings. Standing committees were formed and the group began to blossom. That is where my involvement began. I had been attending many of the early meetings and got "hooked" by Gordon Reed Jr. to lead the Environmental Committee. I reluctantly accepted and we started to form some solid objectives and plans for the committee. A few months later I was asked to sit on the board and at the end of Paul Lattimore Jr's tenure as President in 1996, I was elected as the next President. I am still greatful to Gordon for pulling me into action with OWLA. It has been a great way to give back to our community and it's something I have really enjoyed. I have also met some really great people and developed some life long friendships.

Well...........back to the story, I think the first real big issue facing OWLA was the impending plan to build a prison in Moravia and the concern of the effect the prison's sewage would have on an outdated sewage treatment plant(STP). The Moravia STP was already known to have raw sewage overflows several times per year. OWLA launched a campaign to get not only a state-of-the-art STP but also a holding tank at the prison to balance sewage releases to the STP over a 24 hour period. OWLA had to threaten a lawsuit, but it brought the Corrections Commisioner to Auburn to negotiate and then announce a cooperative agreement. OWLA's membership roster swelled to over a thousand members during this period. Things were really happening, and OWLA won its first big battle!

Paul Lattimore remained President until the summer of 1996. Paul stepped down leaving behind a strong legacy of public service and conservation. The OWLA Board of Directors named Paul the first Honorary Lifetime member in August 1996. Paul is still active with the group today. Tony Hart was elected as the next President that fall and continued on for another 6 years until he stepped down in June of 2002. Al Kozlowski was Tony's succesor and served into the spring of this year. He has recently decided to step down and the election of his replacement comes next month. Al had the original idea, as well as being the champion for finding the funding and helping with the hiring of our full-time Watershed Inspector position.

Another key member was our long-time secretary Margaret Kilmer who was not only our secretary for almost 14 years, but was also a strong defender of the often neglected South East on Owasco shoreline. She had spent summers at her family's lake cottage since she was a little girl. Margaret has many, many stories of the "good old" Owasco Lake and Inlet when she was growing up. Margaret was also the second OWLA member to be given an Honorary Lifetime Membership by the Board in June of 2002.

Our members have also been involved in many groups that parallel OWLA's mission. Many of our Board members have also sat on the Cayuga County Water Quality Managment Agency, The Cayuga County Environmental Managment Council, and the Board for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County.

There are many others that have been actively involved in our success over the years. I wish I had time to list them all. Maybe we can tell more stories about them in another posting later this year.

I would like to again thank that core group that stepped up and volunteered 20 years ago to get this organization going. Its been quite a trip! Thanks to all who have volunteered and/or financially supported us over the years.

If you have not been involved up to now, please feel free to join us at one of our upcoming meetings. We need your help, now more than ever!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

OWLA is 20 years old this summer! (Part 1)

It really doesn't seem like it has been 20 years, but this summer marks the official aniversary of OWLA's incorporation. When I look back, it is amazing how much has happened and all the different improvements that we have seen in our Lake and Watershed.

Do you remember any of these? :

- a new state-of-the-art Moravia Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) , no more raw sewage overflows in the inlet!
- Community and Government efforts to get the same type of new STP in Groton (we haven't won this one quite yet, but some conditions have improved and we are still working on it!)
- a strict County Septic Inspection law and periodic septic inspections in the watershed.
- a volunteer water quality monitoring program (each summer) with support from the City of Auburn that is still active after 15 years!
- Development of an Owasco Lake State of the Lake Report and Owasco Lake Management Plan.
- OWLA started a 24 hour/7-day a week, water quality HOT LINE for the Owasco Lake watershed.
- A revived/active Water Quality Managment Agency in Cayuga County
- the proper clean-up of the old Smith Corona plant on the Owasco Inlet, Town of Groton.
- A full-time Owasco Lake Watershed Inspector
- Cooperation between Federal, State, and Local government all working to protect Owasco Lake (well..............most of the time).
- A new Sea Wall and complete overhaul of Emerson Park!
- A water quality monitoring buoy in Owasco Lake, sampling 24 hours a day!
- An ever improving Owasco Flats! (just the beginning!)
- too name just a few!

.... OWLA and its members have been leaders/facilitators in all of these efforts.

OWLA has been Instrumental in driving our elected officials into cooperative action. And it all got its start back in the late 1980's. A steering group was formed and Paul Lattimore was elected the first President of OWLA. Under Pauls' leadership and direction, things really started to happen.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will go into more detail on OWLA's founding fathers and our initial efforts.

Before I sign-off, If you have been one the people that have helped us get to where we are today - Please take a minute and pat yourself on the

Also Thanks to our government partners; City of Auburn, Cayuga County Health Dept., Cornell Coop. Ext. of CC, CC Planning Dept. CC Soil and Water Conservation District, CC WQMA, NYSDEC, and the watershed Towns. Also our many elected officials which are too numerous to name.

We have all enjoyed working together to effect REAL changes! It takes a community working together to make great things happen!

Happy Birthday OWLA!

-T (Lakeman)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Looking for summer help with watershed inspection!

The Owasco Lake Watershed Inspector is looking for help this summer. See the job description we received from Jessica Miles today!

Do you know someone who might fit this position? If so, pass it on................

Job Description for Assistant Owasco Lake Watershed Inspector (Seasonal) Position

The Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection program is seeking two Assistant Watershed Inspectors (Seasonal) for the 2008 field season. Each position is a paid, full-time (including some weekend work) internship ($9.00/hour) for no more than twelve (12) weeks.

Tasks performed by the Assistant Watershed Inspector (Seasonal) will include, but are not limited to: identifying and inspecting areas of water quality concern, ability to perform some physical labor and work under inclement weather conditions, collect water and/or soil samples for analysis, assist staff with water quality related projects, complete reports using word processing, GIS, and other computer programs.

Qualifications: Completion of at least 60 credit hours, with a minimum of 12 credit hours in physical and biological sciences. Must possess a valid NYS driver’s license.

Contact: Please send resume and college transcript by June 6, 2008 to:

Jessica Miles, Owasco Lake Watershed Inspector
7413 County House Road
Auburn, NY 13021

Monday, May 19, 2008

Electronics Recycling Event - Nice Job!

Judging by the number of cars and SUV's I witnessed Saturday morning at the Natural Resources Center, the Electronics Recycling event was huge success. As usual the staff of Cornell Cooperative Ext., Cayuga Co. Planning, and the CC Soil and Water District did a great job collecting used electronics and propane tanks from the public. The weather cooperated to keep the staff dry and enthusiastic. I saw folks like Bruce Natale the County Environmental Engineer, Our Watershed Inspector; Jessica Miles, and CCE Educator Renee Jensen all working to keep the traffic moving through the parking lot in a timely manner. It should be noted that Bruce has been one of the strong advocates and early organizers of these recycling events in our county. Great Job guys!

Please note the other recycling and hazardous waste collections later this year on our OWLA News calendar. These events are great ways to keep wastes and refuse out of not only our watershed but also from contaminating our groundwater.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Owasco Flats - There's a lot going on!

Stop by and check out all the great things happening in the Owasco Flats. Thanks to a multitude of groups efforts, a renewed emphasis has appeared focused on improving many aspects of this large wetland habitat. Led by the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve, a variety of projects ranging from re-building a wetland water control structure to eradication of invasive plant species, have been taking place over the last several years. The Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) has recently completed a study and report (link below) outlining the present condition of the flats, along with some great ideas for its future. The flats is a key environmental buffer which helps protect the quality of Owasco Lake. Wildlife found within the Flats include abundant populations of game species such as white tailed deer, wild turkey, and waterfowl as well as an occasional siting of a bald eagle. This area is also home to many very unique types of flora and fauna. Anyone who cares about protecting Owasco lake should take a few minutes to learn more about this very special area.

Better yet, stop by and take a hike or kayak up the Owasco Inlet to witness some unique sights and sounds of mother nature!

Link to the Cayuga County Parks & Trails Owasco Flats recreation web-site:

Link to the FLLT Report on Owasco Flats:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

OWLA Board meeting this Wednesday Night! (5/7/08)

Don't forget that the Owasco Watershed Lake Association will hold its monthly board of directors meeting on Wednesday May 7th at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Springside Inn on West Lake Rd. in Fleming. The public is invited.

Also, the OWLA Newsletter/Publications committee is always looking for help for the newsletter and also a future project to update the OWLA web-site. If you can type up or research articles or have experience developing or editing web site content, we would love to have your help. Feel free to e-mail us at or stop by the meeting.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2008 Watershed Workshop - May 16th

FL-LOWPA's 2008 Watershed Workshop at the Vali Golf Club on Rt. 20 in Lafeyette, N.Y. - Friday May 16th from 9:30am to 2:45pm

Presented by Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FL_LOWPA)

Learn more about watershed managment techniques from the people who have been practicing them first hand!

Program presentation topics include:
- Lessons in manure management from the North Country
- Using Minimum tillage techniques in the Oneida Lake Watershed
- Optimizing a Water Quality Monitoring Program
- Controlling the spread of Water Chestnuts
- Control of Eurasian Milfoil on Madison County Lakes
- and many more.................

The program is open to the public!

(There is a program fee of $15.00, pre-registration is requested by May 13th)

Call 585.313.7119 or 315.536.7488 for more information.

For more information
- go to the FL-LOWPA web-site at:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Annual Meeting Coming June 4th

Please save the date; June 4th for the Owasco Lake Watershed Association's annual meeting. This will be our 20th aniversary. Come celebrate our successes and hear more about our future work to protect this jewel of the Finger Lakes.

We will also be voting for our new Leadership:
Pres. - Joe Wasileski
Vice Pres. – Charles Greene
Treasurer – Jeff Trescot
Sec. – Kathy Clay

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Next OWLA Board of Directors Meeting - 5/7/08

The Board of Directors of the Owasco Lake Watershed Association will hold its next monthly meeting on Wednesday May 7th at 7 pm at the Sprngside Inn in Fleming, N.Y. The general membership and the public are always invited to attend.