Community Volunteers Encouraged to Participate in Conservation and Restoration Effort
Work to transform 30 acres at Nine Mile Creek into improved wetlands, a healthier creek, improved habitats for wildlife, and access for canoeing and kayaking has begun. Nine Mile Creek will become part of a green corridor connecting habitat from Onondaga Lake to wetlands at Geddes Brook, wetlands at the former Linden Chemicals and Plastics site, and the Shrub Willow Farm off of Airport Road in Camillus. The remediation work will prevent contaminated material from reaching Onondaga Lake.
“The wetlands and habitat improvements along Nine Mile Creek will create more diverse wildlife and aquatic habitats,” said Fred Miller, founder and president of the Nine Mile Creek Conservation Council. “They will provide lasting future benefits for the environment and the public. The improvements are a major environmental enhancement for the river and the canoe/kayak water trail.”
While the work is in progress, canoes and kayaks will have to be taken out of Nine Mile Creek upstream of the work area at the Honeywell fishing and recreation access point off Airport Road. The lower portion of the creek will be closed for up to two years.
The cleanup will be done by Central New York skilled craft workers who will remove contaminated soil and invasive, non-native plants. They will realign the creek, grade wetlands and floodplains, and plant more than 50,000 native trees, shrubs and flowers. Community volunteers will help with a portion of the plantings later this summer. The plan is based on input from national and local experts, including researchers and scientists from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
The creek’s restored wetlands and floodplains will enhance fish and wildlife habitats, and improve opportunities for recreation such as kayaking and canoeing. Once complete, the creek will be deep enough for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking even during the summer when water levels are low. The parking area and the canoe/kayak launch along Pumphouse Road off of State Fair Boulevard in Geddes will reopen when the project is finished.
“The current low flow in Nine Mile Creek makes paddling difficult during most times of year,” said Kathy Kitt, a member of CNY Kayakers and owner of the Camillus Kayak Shop. “Deepening the channel for better flow will improve year-round kayaking and canoeing and long-term opportunities for recreational use of the creek.”
In August 2012, community members will volunteer at Nine Mile Creek, becoming environmental stewards helping to preserve the watershed. The new Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps is an opportunity for volunteers to participate in habitat restoration, citizen science monitoring, and stewardship activities that will enhance the sustainability of Onondaga Lake. Interested groups or individuals should contact the Montezuma Audubon Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-365-3588.
Nine Mile Creek is one of the primary tributaries to Onondaga Lake, flowing north and east from Camillus and entering Onondaga Lake near the New York State Fairgrounds.
The remediation will be performed under the oversight of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, visit www.lakecleanup.com.