Otisco Lake Preservation Association   

            Otisco Lake is a beautiful lake. 
                                     Help us to be better stewards of our watershed.      

Otisco Lake Preservation Association Announces Successful First Year Steward Program

Invasive species pose a serious threat to the health of our fresh water lakes in New York State. These species can travel from lake to lake by hitching themselves to watercraft, often quickly infesting and overtaking the native habitat and disrupting native species. Monitoring at launch sites and educating water craft owners about preventing aquatic hitchhikers became a priority in the Great Lakes basin and Adirondacks in recent years.

That initiative has also gained momentum in the Finger Lakes Region. Otisco Lake, one of the 11 Finger Lakes, “launched” its own watercraft steward program this summer. OLPA is pleased to announce the addition of Otisco Lake as the last remaining Finger Lake to complete participation in the stewardship program.


Stewards are trained to greet and voluntarily request participation from watercraft owners at launch sites. At the time of boat launch or removal, the stewards inspect the craft and identify any species caught or contained within the craft. Stewards educate water craft owners about cleaning and prevention techniques with regard to invasive species. Through consistent messaging, voluntary participation and ongoing education the stewardship program hopes to eradicate the spread of invasive species in our local bodies of water.


Working in partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute, OLPA was able to support the hiring of two stewards who inspected nearly 2,000 watercraft. In the first season of inspections, two stewards monitored both launch sites at Otisco Lake Marina and Otisco Lake Campgrounds. These efforts are necessary when considering that the percentage of boats with “organisms found” ranged from 13 to nearly 21 percent. Additional information was collected and is being collated by the Finger Lakes Institute. Final data summarizing the results will be placed on the OLPA website for public review.


OLPA President Time Creamer says, “The Steward program adds a vital element to the preservation of Otisco Lake. Invasive species of plants and invertebrates can alter the delicate balance between native species and the health of the lake. We thank our donors and volunteers who contributed to this project and hope to expand our steward program next year. The support of the community, boaters, fishermen and local governments in these kinds of programs will be key to preserving Otisco Lake. Our efforts now can make a vast difference in the future of this precious natural resource.”


Invasive Species Week: July 11-16

Finger Lakes Initiative (FLI) is sponsoring this year's Invasive species week, held July 11-16. For more details on events during this week, check out their calendar.


Also check out this handout and learn about native vs. invasive weeds!

Annual OPLA Water Chesnut Pull

Join in the 2016 Water Chestnut Turtle Bay Pull on July 25th held in conjunction with the DEC.


Since 2006, there has been an extensive effort on the part of the DEC Fisheries and Wildlife staff to control water chestnuts at Otisco Lake.

During the first year of effort, the DEC provided 3-6 individuals/8-hour days for over 2.5 weeks. Their efforts the second year were also quite extensive, but totaled about half of the first year, in part, because the lake level was higher and they did not have to slog through a foot or more of muck as they did in year one. 


The DEC has also conducted lake-wide reconnaissance surveys of all potential chestnut habitat, every year since chestnut was discovered, and have pulled all plants that were found. Local landowners adjacent to the park also put considerable time and effort into disposing of the piles of plants after the DEC brought them on to his property. The volunteer was able to use a skid-steer to make the job manageable.

 With the DEC's continued effort to control the water chestnut, there are fewer to pull each year. 


OLPA has been collaborating in this effort for the past few years, mainly focusing on the Turtle Bay area, and would like to personally thank the DEC volunteers for their successful efforts over the last several years.


Click here to view some of the photos of the event.


Watch for more details for this year's event as the date approaches.

New DEC Regulation regarding Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

As part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted new regulations that require boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching at or leaving from DEC lands. This prevents spreading both FROM our lake and TO our lake.


The article on pages 6-7 of this newsletter from NYSFOLA has more information.


Help by doing your part as a Watercraft Steward! 

View the  NYSG's Watercraft Inspection How-To Video for specifics on preventing the spread to and from our lake.


For more DEC information, contact:  

David Lemon, Region 7 Fisheries Manager
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Email: [email protected]