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Cortland Conservation Field Days Teaches 6th Grade Students about “CLEAN, DRAIN, AND DRY!”

C-OFOKLA participated in the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation Field Days on Sept 22nd and 23rd,  as part of the Cortland County Stop the Invasion program. In partnership with SUNY ESF, we offered two days of interesting hands-on workshops focused on stopping invasive species (AIS) and the “Clean Drain and Dry” initiative, which were provided to all Cortland county 6th grade

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What is a Kettle Lake?

C-OFOKLA (Click to Enlarge)

C-OFOKLA (Click to Enlarge)

Onondaga and Cortland Counties, are unique and beautiful regions in central New York. One of the defining characteristics is the presence of several kettle-hole or kettle lakes. 

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the area was formed by the advancing and retreating of glacial ice during the last glacial period in North America.  To the west of us, the same glacial process formed the Finger Lakes. The process here, however, caused smaller holes to be formed when huge chunks of ice broke off the glacier. These holes, or “kettles” were then buried by till [1] as the glacier receded. When these ice chunks melted, the depression remained.

Each kettle lake has its own unique properties. Some have natural or created outlets, while others are landlocked. All of these lakes are, however, connected to the surficial aquifer. A surficial aquifer is generally defined by the USGS, as an “unconfined, shallow aquifer system, recharged by rainfall and leakage from surface water bodies.”

The glaciers also formed the Valley Heads Moraine, an area of sand and gravel deposited when the retreating ice paused. The moraine runs east to west and separates the Tully Valley to the north from the Tioughnioga Valley to the south. This moraine also forms the surface water divide for the St. Lawrence River drainage (north) and the Susquehanna River drainage (south).[2]

[1] sediment of various particle sizes deposited by the direct action of ice

[2] Information from USGS