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For Release: Friday, June 2, 2023

DEC Announces Completion of New Accessible Cove Road Boat Ramp on the Barge Canal

Public Access Site in Town of Verona, Oneida County, Enhances Recreational Opportunities for Residents and Visitors

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of a new boat launch on the Barge Canal at Cove Road in the town of Verona, Oneida County. The newly constructed launch, which enhances fishing and boating recreational opportunities for all visitors, including people with disabilities, connects to Oneida Lake and provides additional access to the lake's world-class fishing.

"DEC is working hard to expand safe and accessible outdoor recreation opportunities through strategic investments across the state," Commissioner Seggos said. "The new Barge Canal Cove Road boat launch provides a much-anticipated opportunity for anglers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy boating and fishing on Oneida Lake and its tributaries."

DEC is expanding recreational opportunities for people of all abilities and this site was designed and constructed with several Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features. The site now includes a two-lane, concrete launch ramp with floating docks, canoe/kayak launch, fishing pier, parking area with 24 car and 49 car/trailer parking spaces, including some accessible parking, and port-a-johns.

Now complete, anglers have expanded boating access to Oneida Lake, New York's most heavily fished inland water. Oneida Lake is the largest lake lying wholly within New York State, with a surface area of 50,894 acres. The lake's waters support walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish, among other fish and wildlife species. Lake sturgeon can be found in the lake and its tributaries; however, lake sturgeon are on New York's threatened species list and cannot be fished for or possessed.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "We are pleased to join the Department of Environmental Conservation in expanding access to world-class recreation along the New York State Canal system in Oneida County, and just in time for the summer season. This important project follows the recent illumination of the nearby Verona Beach Lighthouse, through the Reimagine the Canals iconic lighting program, and contributes to the modernization of the canal way for the 21st century. On behalf of the Canal Corporation, we extend our gratitude to Commissioner Seggos, the Environmental Protection Fund, and NY Works for funding this project, and all those who played a part in its completion."

Senator Joe Griffo said, "I am pleased that a new boat launch has been completed on the Barge Canal at Cove Road in Verona. This addition will improve access to Oneida Lake and enhance fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreational opportunities in the area."

Assemblyman Brian Miller said, "We are pleased that the newly completed Cove Road Boat Launch located on the Barge Canal in the town of Verona is now open. This new launch will allow for ease of access to both the Canal and Oneida Lake for fishing, boating and other watersports. The $1.6 million investment in this upgrade will continue to attract outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy recreational activities on the water. The new facility offers an array of amenities, and is ADA compliant allowing access for all who wish to enjoy the great outdoors and all the region has to offer as one of the premier walleye and bass fishing locations. I would like to thank Commissioner Seggos and NYS Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton for their collaboration in ensuring the completion of this project that will benefit many."

Oneida Lake Association (OLA) President Gina M. Duggleby said, "On behalf of the Oneida Lake Association, I am delighted to express our utmost satisfaction and appreciation for the completion of the Cove Road Boat Launch by the DEC. This is a momentous occasion as the completion of this launch is a tremendous achievement and a valuable addition to the recreational opportunities on Oneida Lake. We understand the dedication, effort, and collaboration that has gone into making this project a reality and extend our sincerest gratitude to the DEC for their commitment to enhancing our lake's access and enjoyment. The OLA is proud to have played a role in advocating for the Cove Road boat launch throughout the process. We are grateful for the fruitful collaboration, which has resulted in a facility that will benefit our residents, visitors, and the lake's ecosystem for years to come.

Federated Sportsman Club of Oneida County Secretary Scott Faulkner said, "The Cove Road Boat Launch has been a long time coming and we are excited to see a safe water boat launch site at the east end of Oneida Lake."

The project was funded with $1.6 million from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and NY Works. Under the State's Adventure NY initiative (PDF, 10 MB), DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. In the FY 2024 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects.

Anglers are reminded that statewide fishing regulations apply in Oneida Lake and it is an angler's responsibility to know when the seasons are open in their area, size, daily and possession limits, and legal methods of taking fish. For current state fishing regulations, consult the 2023 Fishing Regulations Guide or go to the freshwater fishing regulations webpage (PDF).

To enhance fishing-related tourism and help new and experienced anglers enjoy the great fishing offered throughout New York, DEC launched the 'Tackle Box' feature. The Tackle Box feature is available on DEC's HuntFishNY smartphone app, (available for iOS and Android) and can provide information on Oneida Lake and nearly all other waterbodies, as well as fishing regulations, State-operated fishing access sites, stocking information, and other useful features like photos to help identify fish likely found in a certain river, lake, or stream. More information on the HuntFishNY Mobile app can be found on DEC's website.

DEC reminds boaters to clean, drain, and dry their boats and trailers and disinfect their fishing gear before recreating in New York's waters to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species (AIS). All water recreationists should follow these steps to make sure their equipment isn't harboring AIS:

  • Clean mud, plants, and animals off boating and fishing equipment (trailer bunks, axles, rollers, lights, transducers, license plates, motor props, tackle, waders, etc.) and discard the material in a trash can or at a disposal station;
  • Drain all water-holding compartments, including ballast tanks, live wells, and bilge areas, before leaving an access site; and
  • Dry everything thoroughly before using boats or equipment in another waterbody. Drying times can vary but a minimum of five to seven days in dry, warm conditions is recommended.
  • When there's no time to dry between uses, disinfect things with hot water that is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or visit a decontamination site.

All New York residents and visitors have a role to play in protecting state waters from invasive species. Visit DEC's website for more tips on how to clean, drain, and dry watercraft, fishing gear, and other equipment and for more information about New York's Watercraft Inspection Steward Program.

people lined up cutting a ribbon
Attendees cut ribbon to open new accessible Cove Road Boat Launch

commissioner speaks in front of crowd
Commissioner Seggos speaks at Cove Road Boat Launch ribbon cutting June 2, 2023

aerial view of boat launch and fishing area
Cove Road Boat Launch

accessible fishing area at the boat launch
Cove Road Boat Launch

sign at the boat launch
Cove Road Boat Launch

two docks at the boat launch
Cove Road Boat Launch

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