Weeding out Otisco Lake

Otisco Lake Preservation Association begins summer projects with educational seminar

The Otisco Lake Preservation Association may be only a few months old, but with regular monthly meetings, a solid group of members and regular attendees and several projects planned throughout the summer months, the group is not taking the aquatic weed problem lightly.

The OLPA held it's first event of the summer Saturday, a two-hour informational presentation on identifying aquatic plants and distinguishing between invasive and native varieties, co-presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension and hosted by the John Linder at Otisco Lake Marina.

"This is our first step, to show people we're serious," OLPA President Anita Williams said of the presentation. Addressing the audience of about 25 people, Williams said the association will take "baby steps," to avoid the fate of similar groups in the past that had taken on too much and fizzled out.

So far, the association has raised about $8,000 in private donations and is seeking grant money towards biomass removal.

Step one: biomass removal

When the association formed last fall, the group's primary concern was addressing the invasive aquatic weeds like milfoil and frogbit that had been introduced to the nutrient-rich lake and since grown out of control. The first string of meetings and presentations allowed the group to rule out some treatment plans, like the chemicals being used currently in Cazenovia Lake, but the association has yet to settle on the most cost-effective and efficient treatment plan.

But that doesn't mean group members will sit idly by this summer while the underwater garden thrives.

Anita Williams, president of the OLPA, said one of the group's goals this summer is to remove the biomass already present on the lake, an initiative any homeowner will be able to help with.

The clumps of floating vegetation on the lake surface are pieces of plants broken off by boats, swimmers and churning waters, and need to be removed to prevent them further propogating, Williams said. Homeowners can do so by pulling clumps of biomass out of the water - rather than pushing them down the shoreline - and letting the plants dry out on land.

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