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: http://owlanews.blogspot.com/2008/07/owasco-lake-day-great-success.html)
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: http://owlanews.blogspot.com/2008/05/owla-is-20-years-old-this-summer-part-1.html).
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!