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September 4, 2013

Canadarago partnership to hold first public meeting

RICHFIELD SPRINGS —The Canadarago Lake Partnership will hold its first public meeting at 7 p.m. Friday in the Richfield Springs Public Library.

The partnership consists of the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association (CLIA) and the municipalities with borders on the lake — the village of Richfield Springs and the towns of Richfield, Exeter, Otsego and Columbia.

Other partners include the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) of Otsego and Herkimer Counties as well as the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

“The partnership is coming together to develop a plan to protect and enhance the enjoyment of Canadarago Lake,” said Carter Bailey, a graduate student enrolled in the State University College of Oneonta’s Lake Management Program. “We want the process to come from the bottom up, to hear from the residents who live in the watershed and use the lake, we want to understand their concerns and try to address them.”

The meeting comes as survey results from a direct mailing to all watershed area residents have been tabulated. Among the top concerns were: sanitary waste, invasive species, flooding and algae blooms.

“We want to give the public every chance possible to comment” said CLIA president Jane Feisthamel. “The survey results tell us a lot, but we want to make sure we’ve heard from everybody with an interest in the Lake.”

The Canadarago Lake Watershed Protection Plan will be drafted by the partnership members in the months to come.

“The plan opens the door for potential funding to do the things we would like to do” added CLIA board member Ryan Fagan. “For example, if we decide to renovate the Bakers Beach facility and it’s in the plan, it will be eligible for grant funding.”

“Our office has been assisting the local community since before the big 2006 flood” said Scott Fickbohm of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. “We’ve done a lot of work to raise the funds necessary to complete a State of the Lake Report, which was completed last year by the field station, and a study that looked at replacing the Panther Mountain Dam.”

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