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.