Press Room

Volunteers Remove About 5,000 Pounds of Invasive Plants to Help Protect Onondaga Lake and its Waterways

Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps Volunteers Continue Mission to Improve Watershed with Annual Water Chestnut Pull

Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps volunteers in kayaks and canoes were hard at work removing water chestnut from Onondaga Lake and the Seneca River on August 4. Removing invasive plants helps support habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife while improving recreational opportunities for boaters and anglers on Onondaga Lake.

“Conservation Corps volunteers have achieved measurable success by removing invasive plants from Onondaga Lake and the Seneca River,” said Onondaga County Parks Commissioner Bill Lansley, pictured above. “We’re seeing almost no water chestnut in the lake and very little in the outlet. This annual event is benefiting the watershed and Onondaga Lake Park visitors.”

Water chestnut, an invasive aquatic plant species, is impacting Central New York waterways by growing into floating mats of thick vegetation clogging lakes and rivers. The plants can cause fish kills due to low oxygen levels under dense mats and prohibit boater and angler access.

On the shores of Onondaga Lake and along the lake’s tributaries, Honeywell is improving 87 acres of wetlands and planting about 1.1 million native plants, shrubs, and trees. To date, more than 60 acres of wetlands have been created or enhanced. More than 170 species of fish, birds, and other wildlife have already returned to restored habitat near the lake. Dredging was completed in 2014, a year ahead of schedule. Capping will be completed this year, with shoreline plantings and habitat restoration continuing into spring 2017.

Since the formation of the Corps in summer 2012, 15 events have brought together nearly 650 volunteers who have become environmental stewards and Corps members.

The Corps seeks to inspire future stewards of Onondaga Lake and its watershed through a hands-on, experience-based program that offers citizens and organizations the opportunity to participate in activities that help restore and sustain Onondaga Lake and its value as an Important Bird Area.

To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact montezuma@audubon.org or call 315-365-3588. Schools, community groups, local organizations and individuals are welcome. “Like” the Corps on Facebook or visit YouTube to learn more.

Onondaga Lake Invasive Species Removal Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Onondaga Lake Invasive Species Removal 2016 Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteers prepare to remove invasive species from Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteers head out to remove invasive species from Onondaga Lake. Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteers remove invasive water chestnut from Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteer surrounded by water chestnut in Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Boat of volunteers removing invasive species from Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Water chestnut invasive species removal at Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteers helping to remove invasive species from Onondaga Lake Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Volunteers at Onondaga Lake Invasive Species Removal Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps members volunteering for invasive species removal at Onondaga Lake. Photo: Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps

1 of 11