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OCCA has a long standing relationship with the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station (BFS) that started in the early 1970’s.  Since then this relationship has produced several important studies,  allowed for continuous monitoring of Otsego Lake and helped develop their water quality agendas.  The two entities worked hand in hand monitoring Otsego Lake and its tributaries until the mid-1990’s.  At this time the Oneonta Foundation was formed to give the BFS a formal entity through which to bring in research funding, and OCCA turned its attention to carrying out implementation projects to improve water quality based on data collected through previous studies.  Today, both OCCA and the BFS still tirelessly work to monitor Otsego Lake and surrounding water bodies, and ensure there is clean water for all Otsego County residents to enjoy.  OCCA still supports the BFS through internship funding and special projects aimed at maintaining a healthy watershed.  Below is a small example of some of the work funded through this relationship.

2017 Intern Projects

Jim Peterson – Butternut Creek Biomonitoring 

Kayla Dolce

Connor Murch

Elise Iwanyckyj

Past Research Successes

 “A Survey of Otsego Lake’s Zooplankton Community, Summer 2009″

“A Brief Overview of the Physical Limnology of Otsego Lake”

Walleye Stocking Program in Otsego Lake

Otsego Lake Monitoring Data (aided by OCCA interns during the summer season)

For more information and studies that OCCA has funded through the years, see the BFS Annual Reports

Celebrate and learn about many topics in ecology, natural resources, land management and much, much more.  The Be Informed! lecture series has a topic for everyone.  Planned in conjunction with Mohican Farm, this series is intended for older students and adults as a way to stay current on a variety of issues and learn in the process.  Join us quarterly at Mohican Farm for your favorite local speakers.

Lecture Series Schedule

February 25 – How You Can Make an Impact Using Clean Energy

  • Dan Sullivan, Outreach Coordinator, Mohawk Valley Clean Energy Communities Program, NYSERDA/Mohawk Valley Economic Development District

May 17 – Integrated Pest Management for the Home Gardener

  • Bob Sutherland, Mohican Farm, Clark Foundation

August 23 – What’s in My Creek?

  • Leslie Orzetti, Executive Director, OCCA

November 15 – The What, Why and How of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Karey Foster, Casella Resource Solutions; Karen Sullivan, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste; Bob Sutherland, Mohican Farm

Since 2001, OCCA has organized nature walks on local trails for more than five years. We believe that getting out and enjoying Otsego County’s open spaces is important to understanding and appreciating the bountiful natural resources of our area.  Our nature hikes include both leisure and educational walks for all audiences. Our schedule includes public and private trails around the county with varying levels of difficulty to accommodate all types of nature enthusiasts.  Many of our hikes are included in the OCCA publication “Otsego Walks & Paddles” and on the Otsego Outdoors website

New in 2017 is “Get The Kids Out” a special program for families during school break time. If you want something to do, get some exercise and bring the whole family.  Watch our schedule for times and locations.

Nature Hike Schedule

Nature Hikes 2017

OCCA has a long-standing practice of providing communities with planning support. All municipalities in Otsego County and surrounding jurisdictions are entitled to assistance on occasional planning-related questions and projects from OCCA’s Environmental Planner at no charge. A modest amount of free support can be provided to each municipality. Free services include but are not limited to:

  • telephone support providing advice and assistance with planning questions
  • organizational support for planning boards and zoning boards of appeals (e.g., rules of procedure, zoning amendment schedules, application forms and checklists)
  • access to our library of planning resources

To learn more about environmental planning in general, view the following PowerPoints:  

Additional Land-use Planning Resources

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send eight Otsego County school students to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Camp this coming summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

Otsego County students ages 11-13 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (campers must be 11 by December 16, 2017). This year’s contest question is “What would you tell President-elect Donald Trump is the most important environmental issue facing the United States today?” Contest winners will receive a week-long stay at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where they will spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“It’s very important for kids to get outside and connect with nature,” said OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti. “I’m thrilled that OCCA can continue to offer our children this great opportunity. Our past winners have loved the experience they had at DEC camps.” In 2016, OCCA provided camperships for nine students.

Winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 27, 2017. Winning essays will be chosen by February 1 and notified immediately. Contest winners will be given a special code by OCCA which will be used to register for DEC camp.

“We’re hoping teachers will be able to incorporate the essay contest into their classroom lessons, but recognize there’s a quick turnaround,” Orzetti said. “Camp registration opens on January 25 and we know they fill up fast.”
Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing director@occainfo.org or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to be recognized as a participating school.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.






New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Accepting Applications for Urban Forestry Projects

The Environmental Protection fund is investing $2.3 million in tree planting, maintenance grants, tree inventory, and community forestry management plans. Tree inventories and community forestry maintenance projects have no required match. Tree planting and maintenance projects require a 25% match.

  • Applications are due March 1, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Eligible entities: municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian nations or tribes.
  • Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000 depending on municipal population.

The DEC’s Urban Forestry Program will host a webinar on Thursday, January 5 at 2:00 p.m. to educate potential applicants on the grants process and answer questions. To register, please follow this link: https://meetny.webex.com/mw3000/mywebex/default.do?service=1&siteurl=meetny&nomenu=true&main_url=%2Fmc3000%2Fe.do%3Fsiteurl%3Dmeetny%26AT%3DMI%26EventID%3D516769132%26UID%3D0%26Host%3DQUhTSwAAAALEa5AUqtj42H1tFPDCTn0aPsMndUDgYmcjSgRTdIQhAJJcwWwMR_7-y6vMC4NvwMp4TN4kPobCtp2byfGc7wHw0%26RG%3D1%26FrameSet%3D2%26RGID%3Drb01dbcfb520aee2a273dd76ab2f8c20d.

NY-SUN Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance

NY-SUN is now accepting applications for the Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program. This new funding opportunity supports the development of solar projects for multifamily affordable housing and community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, with up to $200,000 for each approved proposal.

Applications may be submitted by local governments, affordable housing, community organizations and service providers working to make solar accessible to LMI communities in New York. NY-SUN will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Visit the following link for more details and the application: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/ASPTA.

Circuit Rider Planner Program

OCCA’s Circuit Rider Planner Program provides ad hoc and project-specific land use planning support for Otsego County municipalities. Our Environmental Planner can be retained by your municipality at minimal cost in order to provide committed, continuous support for your community’s land use initiatives.  For more information see our website at:  http://occainfo.org/circuit-rider-planner-program/



14th Annual Catskill Regional Agriculture Conference, January 12, 2017

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, in partnership with the Watershed Agricultural Council, will host the 14th Annual Catskill Regional Agriculture Conference Thursday, January 12, 2017, from 10:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. at Farrell Hall, on the SUNY-Delhi campus.  For more information or conference details please visit https://ccedelaware.org/ag/crac/, or call Kim Holden at (607)865-7090, ext. 241. Pre-registration fee is $25 per person, and includes lunch and materials. Conference registration will begin at 9:30 A.M. with a chance to attend one of three early bird sessions that begin at 10:00 A.M.