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x Otsego Lake Sunrise 2OCCA strives to protect the waters of all of Otsego County which include the headwaters of the Susquehanna River and, by extension, the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary of national significance. Water is essential for all life; ensuring clean water is one of the major thrusts of our activities.

OCCA has initiated and funded numerous comprehensive water quality programs throughout the county, including barnyard water management projects, riparian buffer plantings, septic system management and inspection, and aquatic  invasive species control and education. OCCA also raises awareness of water quality issues through educational events, publications and the local media.

Water/Climate Funding

OTSEGO LAKE WATER QUALITY DATA AVAILABLE ONLINE

With support from OCCA, the SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station has introduced a new feature on its website. Otsego Lake water quality data and details on the monitoring performed by the BFS can be accessed by clicking on the above link. The BFS monitors the water quality, algae community and zooplankton community of Otsego Lake bi-weekly from May through October.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW “A SURVEY OF OTSEGO LAKE’S ZOOPLANKTON COMMUNITY, SUMMER 2009,” A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION BY OCCA-SPONSORED BFS INTERN SHAWN GILLESPIE.

OCCA FUNDS WATER SAMPLING COUNTYWIDE
Each year, OCCA contracts with water quality resource professionals for water sampling, monitoring and analysis. Past efforts include:

  • Hartwick College Water Sampling
    • Proposal: A comprehensive analysis into the health of the upper Susquehanna River
  • Dr. Mary Allen, Chair and Associate Professor of Biology; Dr. Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, Assistant Professor
  • Two Investigations:
    • A. Presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and corresponding antibiotic consuming bacteria
      • 1. Bacteria used as indicators of human fecal contamination and coliform bacteria which are antibiotic resistant
      • 2. Bacteria that can consume antibiotics; Six sampling sites, taken monthly from Otsego Lake to the City of Oneonta
    • B. Continuation of Devin Castendyke’s 2008 data collection of nitrate, ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids from 40 sites along the Susquehanna River

Through a separate program, OCCA has funded surface water sampling at 50 sites countywide by Hartwick College students working with the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District. To read reports written by Nicole Daniels and Martina Shorkey as a result of testing in 2013, click here.

OCCA is also sponsoring bi-weekly water quality monitoring of Otsego Lake by the BFS during the summer months, focusing on: transparency, water quality profiles, the algae community, the zooplankton community, and nutrient and ion concentrations.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW “A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE PHYSICAL LIMNOLOGY OF OTSEGO LAKE,” A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION BY OCCA-SPONSORED BFS INTERN LIAM HEILAND.

OCCA ASSISTS SUNY-BFS WITH FISH STOCKING PLANS
On July 6, 2009 approximately 10,000 walleye fingerlings were introduced into Otsego Lake at Three Mile Point. For 2009, the Otsego County Conservation Association dedicated $6,000 in support of the SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station’s six-year management plan for walleye stocking in Otsego Lake.

This summer the BFS will release a total of 40,000 walleye fingerlings into the lake at several locations. According to BFS officials, the fingerlings are released in water about 15 feet deep over weed beds where they can hide to escape predators. The walleye is a game fish historically popular in Otsego Lake. By the 1970s it had disappeared due to the accidental introduction of the cisco, a fish which preys heavily on walleye fry, in the 1950s. In the mid-1980s the alewife, a non-native forage fish, was illegally introduced to the lake.

The program to re-establish walleye in Otsego Lake got underway in 2000. Since that time, between 40,000 to 80,000 walleye have been stocked each year, including several thousand advanced fingerlings in the fall. OCCA also contributed $2,000 to the initial stocking effort. Apart from OCCA, funding has been provided by the Gronewaldt Foundation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Evidence suggestive of the success of the program was found when, in cooperation with the BFS, the DEC set out gill nets in the fall of 2002.

“We were astounded at the numbers and size of the walleye,” said Matt Albright, assistant to the director of the BFS. According to Albright, not only were the walleye unexpectedly long (16 to 19 inches), they were also fat, and their bellies were full of alewife.

“The abundance of larger zooplankton has increased substantially, and their mean size is larger,” said Dr. Willard Harman, director of the BFS, adding that “transparency and deep water oxygen declines are also somewhat improved after 15 years of gradual decline.” To read more on this subject, click here.

THE WATER OF LIFE CONFERENCE:
This conference, held last October at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, featured some of the leading environmental speakers and organizations in North America and explored the worldwide crisis of freshwater scarcity and what we can all do to restore and protect this precious resource.Click on the above link to read former Assistant Director Teresa Winchester’s notes from the conference.