Legislation that would add Cazenovia Lake and Chittenango Creek to the definition of “inland waterway” was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 31. This designation will allow municipalities located along those waterways to apply for waterfront revitalization funding to protect the lake and creek as well as boost infrastructure, fishing and local recreational activities in areas along the lake.
The law, proposed by Cazenovia’s state legislators Assemblyman Bill Magee and Senator David J. Valesky, was approved by the senate on June 4 and by the Assembly on April 25.
“Central New York is home to some of the most beautiful creeks, rivers and lakes in the state, and protecting these local waterways is essential to strengthening the surrounding communities,” Magee said. “I’m always looking for ways to help our municipalities and grow the region’s economy, and this law does that.”
“This bill will help protect these natural resources as well as provide opportunities for funding and grant resources,” Valesky said.
Cazenovia Lake is 3.9 miles long in a valley created by the receding of the glaciers after the last glacial period. The village of Cazenovia is located on the southeastern tip of the lake. Lakeland Park in Cazenovia is a popular destination for local residents and visitors alike. Its historic waterfront offers a swimming beach and boat-launch during the summer months.
The lake faces many emerging threats, including an invasion of Eurasian watermilfoil that is outcompeting native vegetation.
Chittenango Creek runs from Nelson Swamp to Oneida Lake. Chittenango Creek is one of the more popular trout fishing streams in Central New York. It is also home to a 167-foot waterfall located in Chittenango Falls State Park that brings in thousands of tourists each year.
The legislation was introduced in the two state houses in January at the suggestion of the Cazenovia Area Community Development Association in order to make Cazenovia eligible for more grant opportunities.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.