Wetlands are an important part of our natural environment. They are transition areas between upland and aquatic habitats. They provide critical flood and stormwater control by absorbing, storing and slowing down rain and snowmelt. They absorb nutrients, pollutants, and filter sediment out of the stormwater.
Cayuga County has received two grants from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Green Innovation Grant Program for the Owasco Flats Wetland Restoration and Riparian Buffers Initiative Project. This project will be located on City of Auburn owned land off of Route 38 in the Town of Moravia. The Owasco Inlet will be reconnected with its floodplain with water control structures so that during high flow events water will flow into created and existing wetlands to filter out nutrients and sediment. The created wetlands will be similar to natural vernal pools that have standing water about a week or two after storm events. Not having permanent standing water will encourage amphibian reproduction, while limiting predatory fish species, nesting waterfowl and mosquitoes.
Riparian buffers will also be added along drainageways and the Owasco Inlet to further reduce nutrients and sediment inputs. Construction of this project is planned to begin this year. Overall, the project will reduce phosphorus and sediment that reaches Owasco Lake while improving habitat for invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Hemlock woolly adelgid is an invasive insect that kills eastern and Carolina hemlock trees. This insect has been found in both the northern end and southern end of Cayuga County. Hemlock trees are important because of the unique ecosystems that they create under their dense canopies. They are important to water quality because they tend to grow on the steep slopes in gorges near streams and above lakes where other things cannot grow. They stabilize shallow soils and provide erosion control. They also provide shade to streams, which helps moderate water temperature which helps cold water species such as trout.
To learn more, please visit the New York State Hemlock Initiative. This website provides information on how to identify hemlock woolly adelgid, how to become a citizen science volunteer, and what you can do to save your trees if you have it.
As part of his 2018 State of the State announcements, Governor Cuomo directed the state’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team to convene four regional Harmful Algal Blooms summits. The Central New York Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Regional Summit was held on March 5th and 6th in Syracuse and concentrated on Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles Lakes. Representatives from the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency were in attendance.
This summit also included an evening session on March 6th that was open to the public where background information about harmful algal blooms was provided; as well as talks by experts, a panel discussion and an opportunity for local residents to share recommendations and ideas. This public session was archived and can be found here. Once on the site, you will see previously-recorded sessions along the right side, including the one in Syracuse (SUNY ESF).