Izaak Walton League of America’s Young Naturalist Leadership Team and Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps Team Up to Inventory Returning Species
More than 20 community members explored and learned about Onondaga Lake’s recovery on Oct. 20. The Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps partnered with the Central New York Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America’s Young Naturalist Leadership Team (YNLT) to record Onondaga Lake’s most recent improvements. Participants found evidence of thriving ecosystems, including 23 unique bird species. Notable bird species observed include bald eagle, white-throated sparrow, and ruby-crowned kinglet. Other significant finds included coyote tracks; white waterlily, which creates habitat in deep-water areas; and young-of-year largemouth bass, which indicate that fish are spawning in Onondaga Lake.
Throughout the event, participants worked with the Young Naturalist Leadership Team and habitat experts from Onondaga Audubon, OBG, and Parsons to inventory species found in the recently restored habitat areas at Harbor Brook, and the southwest and western shorelines of Onondaga Lake. The observations will be compiled with other data being collected by wetland ecologists to understand conditions of recently restored areas in the Onondaga Lake watershed. Participants also learned about aspects of maintaining a healthy ecosystem, such as pond ecology, the importance of macroinvertebrates to the environment, and creating seed bags for the wetlands, which are made of topsoil, small stones, and seeds placed in a small biodegradable burlap bag.
On the shores of Onondaga Lake and along its tributaries, about 90 acres of wetlands have been restored by Honeywell and about 1.1 million native plants are being planted. Nearly 260 wildlife species have been identified in and around Onondaga Lake, including more than 120 unique bird species.
The Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps is an expanding organization of community volunteers who are contributing to restoration projects that are creating, improving, and monitoring wildlife habitat in the Onondaga Lake watershed and sustaining its value as an Audubon Important Bird Area.
Since the formation of the Corps, over 30 events have brought together nearly 850 volunteers who have become environmental stewards and Corps members. In recognition of their work, the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps was awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2015 Environmental Champion Award.
The Corps was founded in 2012 by Honeywell in partnership with Montezuma Audubon Center and Onondaga Audubon and is now an Audubon New York program. Additional Corps supporters include Parsons, OBG, Anchor QEA, Bond Schoeneck & King, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Wild Ones Habitat Gardening in CNY Chapter.
To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, visit http://ny.audubon.org/OLCC, www.facebook.com/onondagalakecc, or www.youtube.com/onondagalakecc, or @onondagalakecc on Instagram, or call 315-365-3588.
View more photographs of the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps.