Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dead fish washing up around lake

We have received  a few calls over the last several days about dead fish washing up on the shores around Owasco Lake. The Owasco watershed inspector Jessica Reinhart has indicated that at this point there is not a cause for concern. Officials believe that the dead fish are most likely the result of a virus. There have also been similar reports of dead fish on Cayuga Lake. The Auburn Citizen has a nice article this morning explaining the situation. Read the article at:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fourth of July Boat display - want to join them?

This years fireworks show at Emerson Park will be complimented by a private boat display entitled  “Electric Patriotism.”
A pontoon boat adorned with over 6,000 red, white and blue L.E.D. lights will again be touring the waterways during the evening celebration (weather permitting). This will be the 5th year of this display along with the fireworks at the park.
This year’s display will include a nearly doubled light count and computer programmed display set to patriotic themed country, rock and orchestral music. The program will be broadcast throughout the park area during the evening of July 3. Everyone is invited to bring a radio and tune into 89.5 FM to hear the evening’s local broadcast.
Durland Krickovich and his electrician, “Sparky” are coordinating this event. The display has grown from hand switching a dozen or so light sets to quite a complicated technical marvel, thanks to the guidance of Steve Atkins from Owasco.

The founders of the display would like to invite others to join in by lighting their boats. Their hope is to start a friendly, local competition and a patriotic boat parade tradition for future years. 

Those interested can contact them by email with questions —

Read their letter in the Auburn Citizen:  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Owasco Lake Day 2011

Dear OWLA members and friends,

Plans for Lake Day are progressing well, but final plans and many details need to be worked out. Much help is still needed to carry out the planned activities.

We need you to help – by coming to the Lake Day meeting on Saturday, June 25, at Emerson Park (at the picnic tables under the covered area closest to Pavilion), from 9 until 10 am.

Info and updates will continue at the OWLA monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 6, at 7 pm at Springside Inn.

Here’s the Lake Day 2011 TENTATIVE SCHEDULE AND PLAN AS OF 06/15/11:

“A Day at the Park”
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Noon until 5 pm

Free admission Free parking
Scheduled Events, Noon - 5 pm:

Family Events
• Free Swimming
• Free Pontoon boat rides

Events scheduled for times to be announced:
• Speakers (updates and information on Lake) and Q&A sessions
• Resource Fair (exhibits/information related to Lake and environment)

Picnic style food available to buy - Noon until 5 pm
Park open regular hours all day, but Lake Day events scheduled from 12 - 5 pm only
Be there on Saturday, June 25 to hear more about the info above and how you can help. And
check for updates on the new OWLA Blog and web site at

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help us with Lake Day 2011!

Dear OWLA members,

Plans are underway for Owasco Lake Day 2011, which will be held on Sunday afternoon, August 7, at Emerson Park. This year’s event will focus on family activities, such as a fishing derby, boat rides, and the like, and will also include updates and plans for OWLA’s ongoing efforts to preserve and protect Owasco Lake.

There is much to be done in a short amount of time, and we want your help.

We need you to come to a very important meeting on Wednesday, June 15, at 7 pm at Springside Inn to hear details about Owasco Lake Day 2011 and to join us in putting on this year’s Lake Day.

The meeting should only take about an hour, and this important (and fun!) community event needs help from all OWLA members to make it a success.

Charlie Greene

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Owasco Flats Restoration


In the spring of 2011, Cayuga County received $712,500 in funds from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Green Innovation Grant Program for the Owasco Flats Wetland Restoration and Riparian Buffers Initiative. This project will be located on City of Auburn owned land off of Route 38 in the Town of Moravia. A portion of the Owasco Inlet will be reconnected with its floodplain with water control structures and the water will flow into existing and created wetlands to filter out nutrients and sediment. Riparian buffers will also be planted along agricultural drainage ways and along the Owasco Inlet to further reduce nutrients and sediment inputs. This work will also improve habitat for invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and birds while reducing phosphorus and sediment that reaches Owasco Lake. The overall objective of restoration efforts is to reduce phosphorus and sediment loads to Owasco Lake. (Link to the Auburn Citizen article from 4/26/11:)

Since its inception, the Owasco Lake Watershed Association has supported the restoration of the Owasco Flats. OWLA has helped finance land-use studies, road improvements and informational sign placement in this special area. Continuing this support, we will be soon be mailing all OWLA members with a copy of the inaugural newsletter from the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve.


The Owasco Flats encompass approximately 1,500 acres of land within the Owasco Inlet floodplain. The Owasco Flats occur within the valley of the Owasco Inlet. As the name suggests, the topography of the Flats is almost level, with a change in elevation of less than 20 feet over the 2.8 miles between the southern end of Owasco Lake and the northwestern portion of the Village of Moravia and across the approximately 0.6-mile valley width. Land cover within the Flats includes swamps, forest, emergent marsh, active agricultural fields, successional old field communities, and sparse residential development. The Flats support 11 identified ecological communities and provide habitat for a wide diversity of plants and animals, including a number of state and federally protected species.

Almost the entire Owasco Flats and roughly half of the Village of Moravia occur within a 100-year floodplain. Natural functions of a floodplain include temporary storage of floodwaters, attenuation of peak flows, water quality improvement, and groundwater recharge, among many others. When undisturbed by human activities, the low lying, flat expanses of floodplains reduce sediment and nutrient loading by slowing down the velocity of water as it approaches the receiving water body, allowing sediment to settle and nutrients to be absorbed by floodplain vegetation.

However, the functionality of the floodplain wetlands has been compromised by human activity. Prior to the onset of agriculture, the Flats most likely consisted of a forested ecosystem that did not contain the present-
day diversity of ecological communities that have inadvertently resulted from the area’s agricultural history (e.g., clearing areas for agricultural fields that have since been left fallow). As the area slowly reverts to a forested landscape, a reduction of the present-day diversity of plants and animals may occur.

Prior to departing the Owasco Lake Watershed in the late 1700’s, the Cayuga Indians had an effect on the Owasco Flats ecosystem. The Cayugas subsisted on hunting and fishing, and cultivating corn, beans, pumpkins, tobacco, sunflowers, hemp, and fruit trees. Clearing and cultivation of the Owasco Flats by Native Americans created a rich meadowland throughout much of the area. The Village of Moravia was originally called Owasco Flats but was re-named Moravia in 1819.

The Southern Central Railroad was completed and opened in 1869. It passed through the western portion of the Town of Moravia along the valley of the Owasco Inlet and crossed the Inlet at two locations. The railroad made significant efforts to control the course of the Owasco Inlet.

The City of Auburn began managing the lake levels in 1886. As a result of industrial water use, the lake levels were drawn down significantly during the summer season in the 1800’s/early 1900’s before electricity became available from other sources. The summer drawdowns provided drier soils for agricultural use in the Flats during this time period. In some areas, additional wetlands have been drained for the purposes of agricultural use.

In 1938, aerial photographs reveal that approximately 70% of the land was cleared for agricultural use. Since that time, some of the wetter land has been allowed to revert back to forest and shallow marsh so that now only about 25% of the land is classified by the Cayuga County Real Property Services database as agricultural. Much of the land that was apparently actively engaged in agriculture in 1938 is now used intermittently for pasture, hay or is fallow; the rest of the Flats today is covered by forest (30%) and open marshland (20%).

In addition, the Owasco Inlet was hydrologically separated from the Owasco Flats floodplain as a result of 1948 and 1960 Army Corps of Engineers flood control projects along the Owasco Inlet, Mill Creek, and Dry Creek in the Village of Moravia. “Improvements” to the Inlet included widening and straightening of the channel, enlargement of bridge openings, and removal of trees, gravel bars, and debris jams. Today, the Flats’ wetlands no longer filter floodwaters before they enter Owasco Lake to the extent that they would under more natural conditions, thereby increasing sediment and nutrient loads and impairing the water quality of the lake.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upcoming Boater Safety Classes

The Cayuga County Sheriff's Department will be holding three Boater Safety classes during June and July.

June 18th - 8am -4pm, at the Ira Fire Dept. Route 176 in Cato.

July 9th - 8am -4pm, at the Summerhill Town Hall on Route 90.

July 16th - 8am -4pm, at the Owasco Fire Dept. on Owasco Road, Auburn.

Class size is limited and registration is required by calling Deputy John Nezda at 315.294.8145. The courses are free, but adults will be charged a $10 filing fee when filing for formal credit from the State of NY.

For more information on upcoming classes check out this link: