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OWLA preparing for 2019 work on Owasco Lake

Members of the Owasco Watershed Lake Association are getting ready to continue their efforts to protect the lake, including monitoring for harmful algal blooms and sampling for sources of nutrients entering the lake.

OWLA President-Elect Julie Lockhart told members at the group’s monthly meeting Wednesday that training would soon be underway for the HAB Shoreline Surveillance program in which OWLA volunteers look for and send samples from the blooms to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Other programs OWLA members participate in include the Citizens Statewide Lake Asssessment Program (CSLAP), and a tributary sampling program.

CSLAP is a cooperation between the DEC, the New York State Federation of Lake Associations, and lake residents to gather data on factors such as surface and bottom temperatures, chlorophyll levels, clarity, and more.

For the tributary sampling, OWLA members serve as “the feet on the street,” for the DEC to collect data upstream of the lake’s tributaries looking for nutrient hot spots, according to OWLA’s Peter Rogers, who will take over in 2019 for Dana Hall.

Using $22,000 from a previous $600,000 state grant, volunteers will take eight samples per location at approximately 20 locations throughout the watershed, adhering to a Quality Assurance Project Plan issued by the DEC that ensures usable data.

This year, five of eight of the samples will be taken “on demand,” Rogers said, after specific events like large rainfalls.

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