Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend! (7/02/09 - 7/08/09)

Despite the weather this past Fourth of July weekend, people continued to use the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes and Wetlands Area as well as the Salmon River corridor. The Fourth provided many people who don't normally use the natural resource area with a reason to go out and enjoy mother nature's raw beauty.

Canada Lily (Black Pond)

Photo by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Liz Wolff

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards
Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Liz Wolff spent the weekend at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA)/ El Dorado Nature Preserve. There was an increase in non-local visitors and many of them were interested in the resource area and learning about what we stewards do. Liz met a couple from Arizona who visited Black Pond WMA twice during their vacation, stopping both times to help pick up litter as they walked the beach. The strong winds were causing all sorts of debris to wash onto the beach from the lake. The strong waves also attracted kayakers and swimmers to Black Pond WMA as well. The waves were washing all the way up to the snowfencing installed by Liz and previous stewards. Snowfencing is used to stabilize the dunes. Although the water level seems high, it has gone down some from June.

Kayakers taking advantage of the waves on July 4th

Photo by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Liz Wolff.

Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes Steward Greg Chapman was patrolling Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area as the unsettled weather continued from heavy winds on Friday to even stronger winds on the July 4th. Although the sustained winds and the accompanying high waves may not have been ideal for a July 4th at the beach, they did provide a great demonstration of the sheltering ability of the dunes. Though the constant waves battered the lakeside of Sandy Pond Beach relentlessly, North Sandy Pond itself was protected by the dunes and was quite smooth. Waves and winds that could have been quite damaging to pond-side homes and camps were effectively dissipated - Sand dunes at Deer Creek Marsh WMA, Lakeview and Black Pond WMA, and El Dorado Nature Preserve provide similar benefit for the important wetlands that lie behind them.

Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes Steward Paul Dawson spent his holiday weekend at Lakeview WMA where attendance was surprising slow until Sunday - which turned out to be the busiest day at Lakeview WMA this summer. Paul found two groups of campers along his stretch of beach. As a reminder, camping is not allowed at Deer Creek Marsh WMA, Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area, Lakeview and Black Pond WMA, and El Dorado Nature Preserve. Tents and foot traffic kill vegetation, which plays a key role in dune stabilization. It is important to know and understand the regulations for the resource areas. Public use of State Wildlife Management Areas regulations can be found at and regulations for the public use of Lakeview Wildlife Management Area designates as natural beach can be found at

Boaters, kayakers and canoers enjoying Lakeview WMA.

Photo by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson.

Salmon River Stewards
This holiday weekend was one of the many pre-determined whitewater releases on the Salmon River. These releases raise the flow of the Salmon River so that kayakers, canoers and rafters can enjoy the resource. The flow was raised to 750 cubic feet/second (cfs). Salmon River Stewards Jim Katz and Emily Freeman talked to people throughout the weekend who had ventured from all across the state and even out of state just to take on the rapids of the Salmon River. Emily talked to a gentleman who hailed from Letchworth State Park who said that he liked the Salmon River because it's interesting enough for experienced kayakers, but a perfect river for beginners to learn on as well.

Kayaks and rafts enjoying the Salmon River.

Photos by, Mary Penney, New York Sea Grant

Oswego County Fair

Stewards Greg Chapman, Jim Katz and Stacy Furgal each spent a day at the Oswego County Fair (County Tourism Building). There, they encouraged fair-goers to take a day to enjoy the local resource areas, which we are fortunate to have so close. They also conducted a children's wetland activity used to express the function and importance of wetlands via an interactive replication. The kids poured dirty water (representing water with pollutants and sediment in it) over sponges (wetland vegetation) in an aluminum pan. After the water passed through the sponges it came out cleaner than before it was poured because the vegetation absorbed it, acting as a filter. Our time at the fair was worth while, and we look forward to seeing you all at the fair again next year!

Check out our educational programs under "Upcoming Events" to the right!

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