Nearly half a million dollars has been awarded for stream restoration in Cayuga County.
Funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain our Great Lakes Program, the Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council (OLWMC) was awarded $457,839.92 for its Owasco Lake Watershed Critical Streams Restoration Project last month. As Owasco Lake and its watershed are part of Lake Ontario’s watershed, the group was able to get funding for this endeavor.
Dr Adam Effler with the OLWMC told Finger Lakes News Radio that work will be done on the Owasco Inlet. The goal of the project is to prevent erosion of the stream bank. Erosion causes sediments containing nutrients to enter the inlet and eventually Owasco Lake.
“The Owasco Inlet is one of many streams that discharge ultimately into the lake,” Effler said. “The inlet, in certain sections, experiences severe stream bank erosion which ultimately leads to the discharge of nutrients to the inlet and then ultimately to the lake itself, so our want here is to reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the lake through streambank stabilization.”
As nutrient loading is believed to be a cause of harmful algal blooms, the council hopes that by reducing stream bank erosion, Owasco Lake will experience fewer algal blooms.
The OLWMC won’t be undertaking this project alone. The council is working with local partners such as the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District and SUNY ESF to stabilize these stream banks.
Cayuga County Soil and Water will perform what’s known as “hard practices” which include armoring the banks. SUNY ESF will provide shrub willow as a form of “Soft practices” to prevent erosion once the banks are stabilized.
The Owasco Watershed Lake Association, another partner, will conduct tributary monitoring after the project is completed to detect changes in nutrient levels entering the lake.
Effler added that the OLWMC plans to finalize the grant agreement and permitting processes over the winter so it can begin fieldwork in the spring. The vast majority of the work will be done on the inlet near Booth and Cat Path Rds in the Town of Locke.