Partnership with SUNY-ESF Expands Renewable Energy and Improved Habitats for Wildlife
Building on a successful project started in 2004 to create a sustainable Shrub Willow Farm in Camillus, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Honeywell have agreed to implement a green remedy for Honeywell property off of Airport Road that was used during former industrial operations. The remedy reflects the DEC Green Remediation Policy.
The agreement also includes a public planning process for recreational opportunities at the property in Camillus and Geddes. Originally much of this area was the Hinsdale farm. The public may also select a different name during the planning process.
“Research that the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) has conducted in partnership with Honeywell over the past six years has shown that shrub willows can be a sustainable vegetative cover,” said Dr. Neil Murphy, President of SUNY-ESF. “The success of our initial project and the agreement to expand means that more biomass for regional renewable energy projects will be produced, habitat for wildlife will continue to improve, and there can be a living cover for the entire 600 acres.”
For more than two decades, SUNY-ESF has promoted the commercialization of willow crops for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts. In 2004, SUNY-ESF and Honeywell began planting the shrub willows to demonstrate their effectiveness as an environmental remedy and alternative fuel resource. There are now more than 100,000 willows at the Shrub Willow Farm. In addition, other appropriate trees and grasses will be planted.
DEC and Honeywell also agreed to a number of environmental and community projects. Key projects such as a new boat launch and increased fishing access reflect the Onondaga Lake community participation process, which focused on increasing public access to the lake. The public participation process, to solicit additional comments on the projects, will be announced in the coming months.
“We have reason for celebration with the announcement that there are solid plans for a boat launch and access to fishing,” said Chuckie Holstein, President of F.O.C.U.S. “This is a giant step in making our community sustainable. Twelve years ago citizens created a vision for our community that included the restoration of Onondaga Lake to make it accessible, clean, and a place where all age groups could fish, boat, hike, bike and use wheelchairs. F.O.C.U.S. recognizes that this vision is clearly visible on the near horizon.”
The projects include:
- Boat launch to be located at the end of the Route 690 exit on the southwest shore of Onondaga Lake. The boat launch will be constructed after completion of the lake cleanup;
- Public access for fishing in the Town of Tully along Onondaga Creek and along Nine Mile Creek at areas in Camillus and Geddes;
- Funding of a five-year Onondaga Lake Partnership environmental program for Onondaga Creek; and,
- An environmental study and specialist to complement Onondaga County work on lake water quality conditions.
In addition, Honeywell agreed to pay the Town of Camillus engineering fees for up to six years. These projects will be undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken by DEC that includes a $100,000 penalty to the State of New York to address historic allegations related to the property.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit: www.onondaga-lake-initiatives.com