Jul 29, 2010

New Demonstration Rain Garden at METRO Sewage Treatment Facility


On Tuesday, July 27, 2010 the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) worked together with The Onondaga County Dept. of Water Environment Protection (OCDWEP) to install a new rain garden at their Hiawatha Blvd. sewage treatment facility. The Rain Garden, comes complete with with a maintenance booklet, singnage, a brochure and a photo tour of the process. The idea is that it will act as a demonstration site for community members, interested in installing their own garden, to come and see a functioning rain garden and get some information about it. To see pictures, follow the link to OEI's website Flickr Gallery.

What does this mean for the lake? Rain gardens are a means of retaining runoff and preventing it from entering the sewer system. During rain events storm water can fill sewers and cause sewage to overflow into local creeks which empty into Onondaga Lake. Rain gardens help prevent the storm water run off from ever reaching the sewer system by allowing the water to percolate back into the ground, and thus keeping the sewage out of Onondaga Lake.

The weather was beautiful and we all had a great time playing in the dirt while getting something accomplished. I would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible at OEI and OCDWEP by taking time out of their work day to make a difference.

Jul 19, 2010

Honeywell at FOCUS

Honeywell, who is responsible for the pollution and cleanup of Onondaga Lake, will be talking to the public at the FOCUS Greater Syracuse meeting this Friday, July 23 at 8 AM at City Hall Commons. Anyone can and should show up and ask questions.

Jun 28, 2010

Upcoming Event for Wastebed 13 Plans

On June 16, 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially released the supplemental Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) for Wastebed 13 in Camillus, NY. The supplemental HHRA is a document that analyzes and discusses the the potential effects on human health that placing dredged contaminated sediments from Onondaga Lake bottom into Wastebed 13 may pose to residents in the vicinity. Findings show that the entire process of dewatering, transporting, and storing the sediments poses no "unacceptable risks for the surrounding community". No matter if you view these risks as acceptable or unacceptable, we encourage you to contribute your voice to this process.

July 8, 2010 is your moment!
The EPA and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) are holding open house at the Martha Eddy Room at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY at 5:30 pm and a public meeting at 6:30 pm. There will be a public discussion about the risk assessment and a chance for the public to directly ask questions. Contact information is available for those who wish to submit written comments in the EPA press release.

The official EPA press release for the document can be found here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d10ed0d99d826b068525735900400c2a/0ea8db175cff852e852577450051f150!OpenDocument
This link also includes physical locations of where to find hard copies of the plan.

If you would like to read the risk assessment online, you can find it here: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/0203382c.htm
This is a recommended summer read ;-) !

Resident of Camillus? Care about the lake? Oppose or support the plan? Like to comment on blogs? Feel free to leave a comment down below and let others know what you think.

- Janaile

Snake in the Lake

We enjoyed a rain-less "listening to the lake" Sunday, June 28,2010. An osprey flew back and forth several times, and a kingfisher, along with barn swallows chasing insects over the water. Geese paddled single file past the pier and mallard families fed around the burgeoning macrophyte growth. We saw Caspian terns and the usual gulls. And this snake (see picture) which I photographed near the shore as we were leaving.

Jun 15, 2010

The view from the water: alternative states

After Sunday's 6 am silent sitting, Gary Weinstein generously took us out on his boat, a 30 yr old Starcraft that purred along unobtrusively. The view from the middle of the lake is remarkable; so are the views of the bank swallow and kingfisher nests in the walls of white waste lining the lake near Lake View Point. We saw several herons (great blues), and a quartet of turkey vultures picking through washed-up detritus on the beach. Spotted sandpipers' ringing peetoweet, peetoweet, peetoweet calls
The photo shows a couple of bank swallow nest holes, selected among dozens which lined the vertical wall facing the Ninemile Creek outlet. Note the cedars, coming back, and I also saw an elm or two. Elms were cleared from the Point, according to Don Thompson, to make way for the Lake View Resort in 1872 or so.

Jun 1, 2010

Department of Health expands fish regulations - NewsChannel 9 WSYR

Central New Yorkers should only eat up to four meals a month of brown bullhead and pumpkinseed. They have been added to the lake's fish advisory list this year.

It's also recommended that older women and adult men avoid eating large or smallmouth bass over 15 inches; as well as carp, channel catfish, white perch, and walleye.

Women under 50 years old and children under 15 shouldn't eat any fish at all from Onondaga Lake.

"We don't recommend that people eat fish out of here," said SUNY ESF Dean of Research Neil Ringler

I'm glad to see this information getting out to people- it's absolutely criminal that the current warnings about fish consumption aren't posted clearly around the lake. We can't expect that everyone fishing from the lake has a fishing liscense, and has read the fish consumption advisory booklet put out by the DEC. There is a very large immigrant population on the North Side; many come from countries in which fishing from the local waterbody was the way that you get your dinner. How are they to know not to fish from Onondaga Lake?

Someday we will be able to eat the fish again; but that's not possible until the toxins in the lake - especially the PCBs and mercury in the sediments - are cleaned up.

May 27, 2010

Listening to the lake Sunday mornings

Here's an Onondaga Lake experience you won't want to miss. Join us every Sunday morning at 6 am for "listening the the Lake," our chance to sit in silence along the shores of Onondaga Lake. Onondaga Lake, of course, has great spiritual significance as well as a long history of gross mistreatment on the part of industrial and municipal process.

We just sit 45 minutes in silence near the shore or actually over the water on a pier. Meet near the Salt Museum. You might want to bring something to sit on (pad, lawn chair, etc), and dress for the weather if it's cool (can be pleasantly breezey).

We finish by 7 or 7:15. Those of us who have been doing it find that we are discovering a "new" lake, or a new relationship with a much-maligned and abused body of water.

I always notice the birds-- last week eye to eye with Canada goose. Goslings wavering whistles, rather wigeon-like. Also heard common terns over the water, and the leaf patter of cottonwood under which we sat.

May 12, 2010

Fishin' out the carp...

Headed to breakfast at the Canal Walk Cafe in Baldwinsville this morning, I saw signs advertising the upcoming carp tournament in Baldwinsville. This article about the historical introduction of carp into the Seneca River appeared in my inbox not long afterward. It's certainly interesting the way some entrepreneurial local sport fishermen have capitalized on this problematic fish. What I want to know is; when they catch the fish, do they keep them or do they throw them back? There are few good ways to remove invasive fish species from an ecosystem; fishing them out is a good start. Fishermen acting as predators for these fish would benefit the ecosystem of the Seneca River and Onondaga Lake (which also has carp; they go through the locks in the Seneca River): reducing the number of carp in the system reduces predation and competition with our native fish species, and hastens their return to Onondaga Lake. Keep on fishin'!

May 7, 2010

Welcome to Revive Onondaga Lake - rethinking our relationship to Onondaga Lake

If a blog has a beating heart, for this blog it is the concept of Onondaga Lake revival. As watershed residents, rethinking our relationship to the lake is a critical part of revival. Your contributions to this blog drive the heartbeat and give the blog purpose.

As stated in the mission, this blog supports the goal of developing a shared, cross-cultural community vision for Onondaga Lake restoration.

By using unique features of the internet, the goal is to reach watershed residents in an innovative way (including those that would not ordinarily participate in formal gatherings). Sharing information and conversing about Onondaga Lake through the blog will build steps for the lake watershed community to collaborate productively around a shared vision. Restoration moves forward towards real healing of Onondaga Lake over the long-term. Ultimately, restoration progress creates a positive feedback loop for the collaborative effort. Our connection to Onondaga Lake is revived, and the heart of our community beats stronger.
Posted by Meredith Perreault