Department of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Friday, November 1, 2019

DEC and USFWS Announce $2 Million will Fund Habitat and Recreation Projects at Onondaga Lake

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced that $2 million of the 2018 Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damage Settlement will fund seven projects restoring habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities in the watershed, including in Onondaga Creek. The projects were submitted by community organizations and others in response to a recent public notice of funding opportunity.

Matt Marko, DEC Region 7 Director, said, "As a Trustee, DEC is proud to support the community's vision for the restoration and enjoyment of the Onondaga Lake watershed. Funding these projects, envisioned and proposed by the local community, ensures the ecological and recreational benefits remain local."

"Building appreciation for the environment starts with helping people enjoy the outdoors," said David Stilwell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's New York Field Office supervisor. "We're pleased to support projects that will improve recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat."

The 2018 settlement for the Onondaga Natural Resource Damage Assessment included 19 projects to be completed by Honeywell and a $5 million fund from Honeywell for trustee-sponsored restoration projects. Projects funded are:

City of Syracuse Creekwalk Habitat Enhancement - Enhance habitat and recreational opportunities along approximately 2 miles of Onondaga Creek in the City of Syracuse by removing invasive species, planting native species, replacing fencing and improving access.

City of Syracuse Onondaga Creek Kayak and Canoe Launch - Construct a canoe and kayak launch at Kirk Park and improve Onondaga Creek navigability by removing creek obstructions.

Amboy Dam Removal - Remove the first barrier on Ninemile Creek upstream of Onondaga Lake to enhance recreational boating and improve fish access to approximately 8 miles of Ninemile Creek.

Common Tern Nesting Habitat - Install floating rafts in Onondaga Lake to restore nesting habitat for this state threatened species that used to nest at the lake.

Otisco Lake Shoreline Protection - Contribute to the acquisition of 35 acres on the shore of Otisco Lake that will protect wetland and forest habitat and provide public access for hiking.

Erie Canal Tree Planting - Plant trees along the Erie Canal trail near the Gere Lock to improve aesthetics for trail users and residents, as well as diversify habitat.

Public Restroom at NYSDEC Onondaga Lake Boat Launch - Construct a public restroom near the NYSDEC boat launch dedicated to Kenneth P. Lynch currently under construction on the west side of the lake for use by boaters, anglers, Loop-the-Lake Trail users and others.

These projects complement the 19 restoration projects underway by Honeywell pursuant to the natural resource damage settlement - projects such as land protection along Ninemile and Onondaga Creeks, in-lake habitat structures, wetland and grassland restoration, the Erie Canal trail connection, public fishing rights, public fishing access, and the Seneca River boat launch.

The Trustees will offer additional opportunities to submit restoration projects for Trustee funding at a later date. To receive notification, sign up for emails about Onondaga Lake through DEC Delivers.

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