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Projects and Initiatives


The Inspection and Protection Division continues to work with partners including Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), OLWA, Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District, Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation Districtwatershed municipalities, and others.

Tributary Adoption and Identification Pilot Project (TAIPP)

A new tributary identification initiative, funded by New York Sea Grant, known as Tributary Adoption and Identification Pilot Program or “TAIPP” will develop identification and informational signage at stream-road crossings in Owasco, Fleming, and Niles. 


This “pilot” project will provide a starting point to engage the public in tributary protection and education.  Eventually, this initiative will expand, and similar tributary signage will be placed throughout the entire watershed (see below).


The signage will include the name of the sub watershed/tributary flowing at a specific road crossing, as well as “quick response” (QR) scan codes that will link smartphone users to a database with specific biological, physical, and geographical information about each tributary.  Emergency contact information will also be included for the public to report noticeable water quality issues at the location. 

Watershed Road Ditch Stabilization


The latest round of the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program has funded a project focused on stabilization of road ditches throughout the Owasco Lake Watershed.  


The goals of this project are to stabilize nearly 100 miles of road ditches over the next 5 years, purchase supplies and materials for implementation, and substantially reduce the amount of sediment flowing through the ditch networks into tributaries and Owasco Lake.


Since 2014, the Inspection and Protection Division has identified approximately 10 linear miles of unstable, highly erodable ditch lengths throughout the watershed (see links below). Cummulatively, small areas of erosion left untreated contribute large amounts of sediments and nutrients to Owasco Lake.


2014 Road Ditch Assessment (PDF)

2015 Road Ditch Assessment (PDF)

2017 Road Ditch Assessment (PDF)

Road Ditch
Owasco Community Native Tree Replacement Nursery

The Town of Owascothe Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Inspection and Protection Division are working together to create a community tree replacement nursery on Melrose Road. 


The nursery was established in May of 2019 through the Department of Environmental Conservation's "Buffer in a Bag" program. Tree seedlings of various species include Sand Cherry, Winterberry, Northern White Cedar, Red Oak, and Silky Dogwood. This native variety of bare-root trees and shrubs will be used for riparian/shoreline buffer plantings throughout the watershed. 


Primary Goals of the Community Tree Replacement Project:


  • Improving water quality and supporting wildlife through buffer planting in the Owasco Watershed 

  • Work with town officials to replace trees throughout the community that are removed due to disease and/or age


  • Engage the entire community with planting these trees to protect shorelines, streambanks, and maintain aesthetic and property values.


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