Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) Fall Update

Written by Rick Nelson

Protecting and Restoring the Health of Owasco Lake:

Dr Adam Effler, Executive Director of the Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council (OLWMC), will provide an introduction to the OLWMC and details about current watershed initiatives, recruitment, and public outreach activities on Wednesday November 6, 2019 at 7 PM at the Springside Inn.   Free admittance.  Public is welcome.

Nutrient and Sediment Control projects:

1) Directing the remaining funds from our 2015 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant to cost share with the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) and the local property owner,  the CCSWCD crew’s implementation is progressing on several important erosion control measures along the lower section of Veness Brook.    The Veness Brook watershed provides the fourth largest inflow into Owasco Lake.

2) Also, in concert with the CCSWCD, OWLA has pledged $50,000 to provide funding for hydroseeding and rock lining for many miles of public roadside ditches.  Often, watershed municipalities do not possess the funds to hydroseed and stabilize their ditches –  necessary after their periodic scraping, clean out procedures.  Roadside ditches are estimated to contribute up to 22% of the nutrients and sediment entering our waterbodies.   OWLA’s fundraising is currently at $45,000 and the CCSWCD has treated several miles of ditches.

3) Additional fundraising is currently being solicited from various private foundations to hopefully provide funds for other high priority areas.   Utilizing the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection and Protection Division (OLWIPD) staff’s familiarity with the landscape to locate these high erosion locations and the OLWIPD’s expertise for appropriate remedies, planning is underway to collect the needed design and cost estimates along with the adjoining property owner(s)’ cost-sharing agreements.  Cost sharing is a vital ingredient to accomplish these joint projects.  If you think your fire lane ditch or nearby stream that flows into Owasco Lake needs erosion control, contact the OLWIPD at owascoinspection.org or the CCSWCD at 315-252-4171.

4) We want to thank Fox Toyota and Toyota National for their 2016 joint donation that allowed us (with cost sharing), under the supervision of the OLWIPD, to stabilize two fire lane ditches, to rebuild one fire lane culvert, to help purchase an emergency response trailer for the OLWIPD, and to provide the initial matching funds for the CCSWCD’s current ditch program.    All of these individual and planned future measures will add up to better water quality for us all.



Hydrilla Hunt 2019

This is an urgent request – please reply if you can assist!

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network needs your help checking shoreline and dock areas for hydrilla, around Cayuga Lake, from October 19 – 31.

Hydrilla Hunter

In recent weeks, hydrilla infestations have been found at new sites around the southern third of the lake, most recently at the marina in Lansing and near the mouth of Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca.

Right now is the time hydrilla makes its presence known visibly at the water surface. They need a team of people checking the shoreline, around their docks and launches, and in shallow water from October 19-31 (or later, if interested).

Could you help? It would take one to two hours of your time on one or two dates of your choice.  The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network will provide you with lake rakes and hydrilla i.d. kits and collection bags and give you simple instructions on how to report suspects to invasive plants experts.

If you are interested, please let them know – quickly! Contact Jenn at programs@cayugalake.org 

This is a serious situation – hydrilla is beginning to show up in new and unexpected places. We do not want to it to spread. Help find it early, before it takes hold and expands rapidly.

PLEASE help – just this once, or on a regular basis.

More information about hydrilla, the top aquatic invasive plant: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/hydrillafs.pdf

For more information on the Cayuga Watershed Nework:  www.cayugalake.org

Invasive Species Awareness Week Activities

The Cayuga County WQMA hosted two iMapInvasives classes and an invasive species identification presentation as part of NY Invasive Species Awareness Week.  Five people were trained during the first iMapInvasives class and four were trained during the second.  These classes also included a presentation on invasive species identification.  One person thought they may have found jumping worm in Cayuga County, which would be the first report of this species in the county.

The invasive species identification presentation for the first iMapInvasives class was scheduled so it was also given to the Cayuga County WQMA.

Thank you to the Finger Lakes PRISM for providing educational materials. Portions of this project were funded by a grant from the NYSDEC EPF to the Finger Lakes – Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance. Thank you also to the IMapInvasives Trainers Network for their assistance.

Educational material from the Finger Lakes PRISM
Invasive species identification


Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day to be held

On October 20, 2018, Cayuga County will once again be hosting a Household Hazardous Waste Day giving residents of the City of Auburn and County of Cayuga the opportunity to safely discard hazardous household chemicals.  The event is FREE, but residents interested in attending however MUST register by October 19th at: https://pub.cce.cornell.edu/event_registration/main/events_landing.cfm?event=HHW2018_205.

Hazardous materials contain ingredients that when improperly disposed of can pose significant health, safety and environmental risks.  Pouring hazardous materials in the drain, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash are not proper measures of disposal.  Many hazardous materials can go through wastewater treatment facilities untouched because they don’t breakdown in the process and will eventually be released into rivers, lakes and streams. Dumping several products down the drain at the same time can also cause chemical reactions that release toxic gases.  By throwing hazardous waste in a garbage can, we create a health risk to anyone who may unknowingly come into contact with it, such as a sanitation worker.

 These items aren’t your regular trash. Protect yourself, your family and your environment by getting rid of them the right way.

 Acceptable Household Hazardous Wastes To Bring to this Event Include: 

  • Products containing chemicals
  • Oil based paints, oil based stains
  • Turpentine, paint thinners, brush cleaners
  • Pesticides (weed killers, insect sprays, fungicides)
  • Mercury thermometers, barometers and liquid mercury (quick silver)
  • Fluorescent tubes and bulbs (contains mercury)
  • Liquid driveway sealer
  • Household cleaners
  • Gasoline, gas/oil, oil/water, gas/water mixtures
  • Antifreeze
  • Mothballs
  • Pool chemicals
  • Photograph developing chemicals
  • Button cell batteries (from hearing aids, cameras, etc.)
  • Propane tanks
  • Smoke detectors

Look for warnings on labels such as DANGER, CAUTION, TOXIC, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE or REACTIVE.


  • Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D or 9-volt batteries are not accepted at this event.  They areNOT toxic and can go in the trash.
  • We can NOT accept rechargeable batteries.  Please bring them to Lowes or Home Depot to recycle for free.
  • Latex paint is NOT accepted at this event.  For latex paint disposal, check out: http://www.cayugacounty.us/portals/0/planning/documents/paint.pdf

If you have any questions about a specific item being accepted, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County at (315) 255-1183.

This event is sponsored by the Cayuga County Legislature, Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development and the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District. Communication and registration is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County. Major funding is provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Cayuga County Legislature.