Skip to Main Content View Site Map
Top of Page
College to host March 9 OWLA workshop on condition of Owasco Lake

DATE: 03-04-2013

The Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) will offer a public workshop from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the Bisgrove Theater, located on the campus of Cayuga Community College at 197 Franklin Street, in Auburn. A description of the condition of Owasco Lake and a comparison to the other Finger Lakes will be presented by Dr. John Halfman of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart William Smith College. An exciting new research project by Dr. Todd Walter of Cornell University will also be highlighted as a part of the morning program.

Two public opinion surveys now underway by students at the Maxwell School of Public Administration at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will be referenced during the workshop. The students will be present at the workshop as well as members of the Lake Association and all workshop participants will have the option of taking the survey. One of the surveys is the result of a collaborative effort with the Maxwell School’s Community Link Program. The direct link to the survey is:  

It is also available in paper form at:  Seymour Library, 176 Genesee Street, Auburn, New York.

Owasco Town Hall, 2 Bristol Ave, Auburn New York, and the  Scipio Town Hall, RT 34 and Quarry Road, Scipio New York, 13147

“We are excited about the workshop and the survey and about the participation of five colleges and universities,” said OWLA Vice President James Beckwith. “The workshop is co-sponsored by Cayuga Community College and the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT). Dr. Halfman comes to us from Hobart William Smith College, Dr. Walters is from Cornell, and the surveys are being done by students from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

“With their help and guidance and contributions from IAGT, OWLA programs have been given a real boost, Beckwith said. “I’m really looking forward to the morning and I hope area residents will join us on Saturday, March 9. It will be a very interesting way to talk to experts and to find out what they are thinking about Owasco Lake and what ideas they have about its long-term restoration and protection. Most importantly, I hope the workshop will encourage even more people to join OWLA and our long- term efforts to protect and restore Owasco Lake.”

Halfman has been studying Owasco Lake for years and has recently completed synthesis of his data for Summer2012. He will present his findings on the condition of the lake and compare it to the status of other Finger Lakes. His work is supported by the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association.

Dr. Walter has been studying nutrient transfer mechanisms in watersheds and is currently developing a system to forecast loading, based on weather forecasts and newly refined models that simulate watershed processes. This milestone work uses a combination of watershed factors and geo-spatial technology to identify and estimate the sources of nutrients entering the lake from throughout the watershed. Nutrients remain a primary, if not the most significant, threat to the condition of the lake.

Owasco Lake is the primary drinking water supply for the City of Auburn and many surrounding towns. As an important recreational destination, it is also used for swimming, boating, fishing, and purely aesthetic appreciation. The lake also supplies water via the Owasco River for power generation and Seneca canal “level” control. The lake and river both provide sewage treatment dilution. The wide array of demands on the lake makes its long-term protection complicated and extremely important.

The event is being sponsored by the Owasco Watershed Lake Association, the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology, and Cayuga Community College.

This workshop is a companion event to Lake Day 2013, to be held at Emerson Park on the shores of Owasco Lake on June 26, 2013, the 25th anniversary of the Owasco Lake Watershed Association.

There is no registration fee for the sessions. Pre-registration is recommended however and would be helpful to conference organizers.

To register by phone or for additional information, call 315-252-8669.