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Otisco Lake residents discuss weed problem

Weeding out the problem in Otisco Lake will take a collaboration of people and resources.

To get things started, more than 70 residents came together Sept. 24 at the Marietta House on Route 174 to listen and discuss the weeds that are abundant on the lake. Joined by officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation, Onondaga County Water Authority, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University, the county health department and the Onondaga County Legislature, the meeting lasted for approximately two hours.

"They are here to help us," said Ed Ryan, who organized the community roundtable.

While several of the residents in attendance expressed a want for immediate action and results, there is no easy solution to the problem. The most direct resolution was for the residents to group together and form a non-profit lake association and begin seeking funding for environmental studies and eradication.

"The best direction is to get together as a community and first identify the problem," said Kenneth Lynch, regional director for the DEC. "You will need a group working together. ... The more joined you are in your request, the better chance you have of getting the attention of legislators."

Many residents were in agreement that forming a lake association would be a productive route to take.

"Someone needs to outline the steps needed to form an organization," said resident Jim Monaco. "We just need help as far as organizing our organization."

Amy Samuels, Cornell Cooperative Extension team coordinator, said using an existing lake association, such as the Otisco Lake Association that was active several years ago, would aid residents in getting started. A book put out by the DEC, "Diet for a Small Lake," was also suggested and provides steps to forming an association.

Without looking at what weeds are growing in the lake, it is difficult for officials to determine what the species are and if they are invasive weeds, such as milfoil and water chestnuts, or native plants like the water lily.

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