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Protecting our Water Quality

Last spring C-OFOKLA won a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), to assess runoff pollution—focusing on nutrients and sediment—and make recommendations for improving water quality for four kettle lakes: Crooked Lake, Little York Lake, Song Lake, andTully Lake. Working in conjunction with Cortland County Soil & Water Conservation District, Syracuse University’s Environmental Finance Center, and New Jersey-based Princeton Hydro, over the summer the partners sampled and studied lake water quality, synthesized existing information, and developed plans for tackling pollution from stormwater—water generated by rain or snow melt events—to the lakes.

Based on the lake studies,

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DEC’s Drones Monitor Invasive Species

DEC has deployed a a fleet of 22 drones across the state to enhance the state’s environmental management, conservation and emergency response efforts. The drones are equipped with both standard and thermal infrared cameras and can legally fly at heights below 400 feet. Each drone is operated by a human pilot that can control the vehicle with a remote control from the ground and at a distances of up to three miles.

Take a look at the following video:

For more information,

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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