Skaneateles Lake

Skaneateles Lake is the fifth largest Finger Lake and the highest at about 863 feet above sea level. Its watershed is only 59 square miles, and the lake itself has a surface of area of 13.6 square miles, resulting in a ratio of 4.3 acres of watershed to each acre of lake.

Photo by Bill Hecht

 

The favorable relationship between the relatively small watershed and the large volume of water in Skaneateles Lake provides a natural protection for Skaneateles Lake that few other lakes enjoy. Skaneateles Lake is classified as “oligotrophic,” or a lake with low productivity due to low levels of nutrients. This keeps aquatic vegetation to a minimum. It also helps keep the water clear and transparent.

Water from Skaneateles Lake flows unfiltered to more than 220,000 households as the primary source of water for residents in and around the city of Syracuse.

Skaneateles Lake Physical Features

Elevation: 863 feet
Area: 14 square miles
Shoreline Length: 35 miles
Length: 16 miles
Maximum Width: 1.5 miles
Maximum Depth: 300 feet
Mean Depth: 145 feet
Towns adjacent to the Lake: Towns of Niles and Sempronius in Cayuga County. Towns of
Skaneateles, and Spafford in Onondaga County. Town of Scott in Cortland County
Cities/Villages adjacent to the Lake: Village of Skaneateles in Onondaga County.

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Features

Area: 59 square miles
Counties: Cayuga, Onondaga and Cortland Counties.
Towns within the watershed: Towns of Niles and Sempronius in Cayuga County. Towns of
Scott, Skaneateles, and Spafford in Onondaga County. Town of Scott in Cortland County
Cities/Villages within the watershed: Village of Skaneateles in Onondaga County.

Skaneateles Lake Initiatives

Due to algal blooms in 2017, the Skaneateles Lake Association is working on developing an action plan and watershed plan. For current information, visit their website.

Groups involved with protecting Skaneateles Lake

Skaneateles Lake Association

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Inspection Program (Call 315-685-6486)

Additional Resources

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List