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A new beginning

Onondaga Lake Partnership sets sights high for the future of Onondaga Lake

A dog and its owner enjoy one of the groomed pathways at Onondaga Lake Park.

A dog and its owner enjoy one of the groomed pathways at Onondaga Lake Park. Photo by Amanda Wada.

— The Onondaga Lake Partnership Nov. 29 held a community forum to discuss the progress and future of Onondaga Lake. More than 100 Syracuse area residents came to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to hear about the current clean-up efforts and the partnership’s vision for Onondaga Lake’s future.

The meeting was an extensive look at the history of Onondaga Lake, and the organizations and companies that have been involved in the effort to improve the lake and its watersheds.

In October of 2006, the company that purchased Solvay Processor and Allied Chemical, Honeywell, entered an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for a remediation plan to clean the lake. The plan was approved by a federal court in January of that year.

Since the plan was put into place, the project to improve Onondaga Lake has extended well beyond Honeywell’s remediation plan. The clean-up effort has brought the city, county, state and federal government together in a partnered effort to promote the clean-up of the lake and its tributaries, and make the waterway and surrounding attractions a central attraction for Syracuse.

At Tuesday’s public meeting hosted by the Onondaga Lake Partnership, County Executive Joanie Mahoney spoke of the cooperation between the local, state and federal organizations. Without their partnership, she said, it would have been impossible to secure federal resources for the planned green infrastructure. Mahoney joined Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, meteorologist and environmental scientist Dave Eichorn, regional director of the Department of Environmental Conservation Ken Lynch, Judith Enck from Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Meridith Perrault from the Onondaga Environmental Agency. Representatives from the Onondaga Nation also shared their historical connections to Onondaga Lake.

This partnership, and the passion surrounding Onondaga Lake and the clean-up effort, will play an important role in Syracuse’s future. Over the coming weeks, The Eagle will research this topic in a series of features that explore the history of the lake, the improvements that have taken place over the past decade, the legal and political influence, the current partnership effort around continuing those improvements, the vision of that partnership, and the education efforts that will inform the public about what’s happening at Onondaga Lake, and why Syracuse should be proud.

Please share your questions and expectations along the way. What questions do you have about the lake’s future? What do you expect from the clean-up effort? E-mail Amanda Wada, awada@eaglenewsonline.com.

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