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Onondaga Lake Habitat Restoration Plan

Site Number 734030

Fact Sheet - January 2010
Onondaga Lake Bottom Subsite, Onondaga County

The draft Onondaga Lake Remedial Design Elements for Habitat Restoration (Habitat Plan) is available for public review and comment. The Habitat Plan provides conceptual designs for habitat restoration in areas of Onondaga Lake requiring remediation. The issuance of the Habitat Plan provides the public an opportunity to review information associated with the initial stages of the remedial design and to provide feedback prior to finalization of the habitat restoration details. Information about an upcoming public information meeting and how to access the Habitat Plan and submit comments follows below.

Habitat Plan Overview

The restoration of habitat is an integral component of the overall remedy for Onondaga Lake and is one of the important elements in the design for the dredging and capping activities specified for the lake. Habitat considerations presented in the plan are at the forefront of the remedial designs for Onondaga Lake, and habitat restoration will continue to play a key role as the remedial activities are advanced.

The habitat designs described in the Habitat Plan were developed using many criteria, including the physical conditions of the site, the habitat goals and objectives, and the integration of habitat needs for representative species with requirements associated with the dredging and capping design specified in the July 2005 Onondaga Lake Bottom Subsite Record of Decision (as modified by the December 2006 Explanation of Significant Difference).

The regulatory agencies are currently reviewing the Habitat Plan and will be providing comments to Honeywell for revision. Public comments will be considered in NYSDEC's comments on the Habitat Plan.

Draft Onondaga Lake Remedial Design Elements for Habitat Restoration

The habitat restoration plan has been broken up into the following PDF documents and is available for download.

A Team Approach

Honeywell developed the Habitat Plan with extensive input from the Habitat Technical Work Group. This group includes representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Division of Environmental Remediation; NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources; United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA); United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and Honeywell and its team from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), Mississippi State University, Terrestrial Environmental Specialists (TES), Anchor QEA, O'Brien & Gere, and Parsons. This extensive team of local and national experts encompasses experience in wetland ecology, limnology, biology, restoration ecology, fisheries biology and sediment remediation. Input was also provided by the Onondaga Nation and local interest groups during the preparation of this plan.

Development of the Habitat Plan

During the development of the Habitat Plan, the Technical Work Group identified representative species from groups of fish, plants, benthic macroinvertebrates (organisms in the sediment), mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds whose habitat requirements could be used to develop the designs. These representative species represent a larger group or guild of species that share similar habitat requirements. beaver.jpgredspottednewt.jpgHabitat requirements for the representative species were used to identify important factors such as hydrology, habitat cover and structure, habitat size, soils/substrate, and other habitat requirements needed to support the various life cycles of the representative species and habitats. This information was used to develop the conceptual habitat designs and will be integrated into the design of the lake remedy.

Designing Habitats

Following the identification of the habitat requirements for each representative species, the Habitat Technical Work Group developed a method to combine the representative species and their habitat requirements into habitat areas, or "modules," which could be readily integrated with the remedial activities. The in-lake habitat modules are defined by three basic habitat parameters that serve as the basis for the habitat restoration design: water depth, substrate size, and energy. Using this method of analysis, the Technical Work Group developed seven in-lake modules, each with a specified water depth, energy and substrate size to provide suitable habitat for the representative species. Two additional modules for habitats adjacent to the lake were developed based on elevation and hydrology.

Each module provides suitable habitat for different species, and the combination of modules, applied throughout the areas of remediation, will restore a diversity of habitats to disturbed areas for the group of representative species.

Key benefits of the conceptual design include:

  • integrating diversity of habitats into the design
  • providing deep water near shore to allow for fishing
  • restoring diversity and function of disturbed shoreline wetlands and littoral zone
  • discouraging the establishment of invasive species
  • promoting pike spawning and reptile/ amphibian reproduction in adjacent wetland areas
  • establishing habitats currently lacking in the lake (e.g., floating aquatic plants).

Public Participation

The NYSDEC, USEPA, NYSDOH and Honeywell are committed to working with community leaders, interested stakeholders and citizens to incorporate, as appropriate, input, recommendations, comments and perspectives into the technical designs. As part of the NYSDEC Citizen Participation Plan (CPP) for the Lake Bottom site, NYSDEC is working with the Lead Community Participation Working Group to provide opportunities for the public to receive information, ask questions, and provide input.

Upcoming Informational Meeting

The NYSDEC will hold a public information meeting on January 14, 2010, at the Martha Eddy Room in the Art and Home Center at the New York State Fairgrounds. NYSDEC, USEPA, NYSDOH and Honeywell will discuss and answer questions about the draft Onondaga Lake Habitat Plan for restoring habitats in and around Onondaga Lake and the Sediment Consolidation Area Design.

Comments specific to the draft Onondaga Lake Habitat Plan should be sent to:
Mr. Donald Hesler
625 Broadway
12th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-7013

Although public input is encouraged throughout the design process, comments and questions specific to the draft Onondaga Lake Habitat Plan are encouraged to be submitted no later than February 16, 2010, so that they can be most effectively considered in the final plan.

The draft Onondaga Lake Remedial Design Elements for Habitat Restoration (Habitat Plan) and other design documents are also available for review at all of the locations listed below.

Atlantic States Legal Foundation
658 West Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13204
Phone: (315) 475-1170
Please call for hours of availability

Liverpool Public Library
310 Tulip Street
Liverpool, NY 13088
Phone: (315) 457-0310
Hours: M - Th, 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.
Fri, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sat, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sun, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Camillus Town Hall
4600 West Genesee Street, Room 100
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 488-1234
Hours: M-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Onondaga County Public Library
Syracuse Branch at the Galleries
447 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 435-1800
Hours: M, Th, Fri, Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tu, W, 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Moon Library
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: (315) 470-6712
Hours: call

NYSDEC, Region 7
615 Erie Blvd. West
Syracuse, NY 13204-2400
Phone: (315) 426-7400
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Please call for an appointment

625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7016
Phone: (518) 402-9676
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Please call for an appointment

This fact sheet provides you with information on the The Onondaga Lake Remedial Design Elements for Habitat Restoration. If you have any questions or comments about this project, please contact:

Mr. Donal Hesler
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-7013
(518) 402-9676
Email Mr. Hesler

With respect to Citizen Participation inquiries, please contact:

Ms. Diane Carlton or
Ms. Stephanie Harrington
Citizen Participation Specialists
615 Erie Boulevard West
Syracuse, New York 13204-2400
(315) 426-7403
Email Ms. Carlton or Ms. Harrington

For site-related health questions, contact the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) at the following:

Mr. Mark Sergott
Project Manager
547 River Street
Troy, New York 12180-2216
(800) 458-1158, Ext. 27860