Amplifying the Partnership for Onondaga Creek's Environmental Justice Voice

The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and partners are working to educate youth in the City of Syracuse about environmental justice and related issues. The program seeks to draw the next generation through experience and inspiration towards future environmental careers. Program participants, known as Young Eco-‘Cuse Explorers (YECE) and Young Interns, are selected from Syracuse’s NYSDEC-determined EJ neighborhoods. Such neighborhoods are plagued with high poverty rates, boarded-up homes, vacant lots, and other plight common to many urban neighborhoods. Residents have limited access to healthy food, little to no job opportunities, and a reduced quality of life. Previous industrial and commercial activities have produced numerous urban Brownfields.

OEI and the POC are working together to provide opportunities to youth and adults from urban neighborhoods that face environmental harms and public health risks. This project involves a four-year community based education program for approximately twenty 11 to 14-year-olds each year. Altogether over 60 students have been enrolled in YECE thus far; some of which have participated successive years. The students learn about municipal water pollution; healthy homes including risks of lead, asbestos, mold, toxic carpeting and cleaning products; community gardening; and multiple life, career, and team building skills. In addition, young adult internships are offered to multiple students each year, where they can develop and practice the skills of advocacy, organizing, and networking.

Grant Program Title:
Environmental Justice (EJ) Community Impact
Project Budget:
$50,000
Project Dates:
September 13, 2013 to September 13, 2017
Location:
Based out of POC on the South Side of Syracuse
Project Status:
Archived

Mission:
Education

Now in its second round of funding, Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will work with partners to enlist and train students and volunteers to become boat stewards and assistant boat stewards. This program will assist in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in and out of Onondaga and Oneida Lakes. Onondaga Lake and Oneida Lake are of great ecological and recreational importance in the region, and both have been impacted by aquatic invasive species considered high and very high priority in New York State. This program will help fulfill a present need and assist in preventing the further spread and impact of aquatic invasives in Onondaga and Oneida Lakes.

The program will occur at multiple public boat launches within Onondaga County. A training program for stewards will be developed and implemented by OEI and its partners. Once training is completed, the stewards will be deployed to educate boaters, conduct boat inspections, and decontaminate boats. The boater education will include information on how to manage boats in a manner that prevents the spread of aquatic invasive species. Data will be collected that can be used to inform prevention and control measures at both the local and regional levels.

Grant Program Title:
Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $175,178
Project Dates:
May 1, 2016 to March 31, 2022
Location:
Onondaga County Public Boat Launches
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education

Onondaga Earth Corps’ (OEC) Clean Streets crew teaches about litter challenges and solutions across the city. OEC enlisted Onondaga Environmental Institute’s (OEI) Education and Outreach Coordinator, Amy Samuels, to develop and facilitate training to the OEC Clean Streets crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Clean Streets
Project Budget:
$495
Project Dates:
July 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016
Location:
City of Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

The goal of this project is to develop a Watershed Plan for the Poesten Kill Watershed (Rensselaer County, NY) through scientific investigation and biological surveys, in an effort to identify potential sources of water quality impairments. As a tributary to the Hudson River, development will help towards achieving the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda goal to, “conserve, restore, and revitalize the estuary and its ecosystem”.

Major objectives are to (1) identify and engage key stakeholders, (2) assess stream condition by measuring physical, chemical, and biological parameters, (3) define the watershed and prioritize locations, (4) identify watershed conservation, restoration, and stewardship goals & objectives. The methods by which the Watershed Plan will be developed include a collaborative, adaptive management-based process advanced by regularly scheduled meetings (and/or conference calls) and iterative review processes of all deliverables.

Grant Program Title:
2015 Hudson River Estuary Program Grant
Project Budget:
$42,840
Project Dates:
November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2019
Location:
Poesten Kill Watershed
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

This project will supplement existing funding for an environmental education/youth leadership program that Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) is organizing for the People in Action after-school program run by the Town of DeWitt at the Klim Center at Springfield Gardens. The Rain Ranger program provides hands-on activities that will engage youth in learning and caring about the local environment by participating in activities such as planting trees, making rain barrels and learning about the watershed in which they reside. The program is structured to provide environmental leadership opportunities for older youth employed by the Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) while simultaneously providing positive, youth role models for the younger youth in the after-school program. Like many of the youth in the after school program, those employed by the OEC come from challenging backgrounds. Employment with OEC starts them on a pathway that allows them to contribute to the support of their families. OEI staff work with the older youth from OEC to develop the Rain Ranger activities that the OEC will lead for the younger youth. Families of the youth who attend the afterschool program will be engaged by having a community supper highlighting their children’s accomplishments as well as a community planting day.

Grant Program Title:
Service Projects and Philanthropy
Sponsors:
Dewitt Rotary Club
Partners:
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Town of DeWitt
Project Budget:
$500
Project Dates:
June 16, 2015 to December 31, 2015
Location:
Klim Center at Springfield Gardens, Town of DeWitt, New York
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

The US Geological Survey (USGS) and Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) will be implementing a pilot directional drilling restoration project to alleviate the intensity and duration of mudboil discharges into Onondaga Creek. Specifically, this project will use an 8-inch pipe installed at the Mudboil Depression Area (MDA) to redirect flow to Onondaga Creek away from the Rogue Mudboil Area (RMA). Pre- and post-construction monitoring is essential to understand the effects this project will have on stream water quality in Onondaga Creek.

The objectives of these studies are to: (1) develop a comprehensive understanding of current pre-construction water quality conditions on spatial and temporal scales, (2) develop a comprehensive understanding of water quality conditions on spatial and temporal scales during and following construction activities, (3) prioritize and evaluate the effects of identified water quality impairments under low flow (i.e., baseflow) conditions, and (4) provide recommendations for improving stream quality and maximizing restoration efforts.

Grant Program Title:
Directional Drill Project
Sponsors:
Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNYRPDB)
Partners:
Mudboil Technical Advisory Group (TAG):
Onondaga Nation
US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
US Geological Survey (USGS)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
New York State Office of Attorney General (NYSAG)
CNYRPDB
Onondaga County
City of Syracuse
Project Budget:
$34,262
Project Dates:
August 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Location:
Tully Valley
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Research

Onondaga Lake and parts of the watershed have been degraded by a history of industrial and municipal pollution. Under a federal consent order, Onondaga County is using a combination of grey and green infrastructure to address combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff in order to reduce phosphorous, pathogen and ammonia overloading that impair aquatic life. As more and more green infrastructure is being funded by the County, there is a need for people who know how to install and maintain it. If it is not installed and maintained properly, it is not going to prevent stormwater runoff and combined sewage overflows. Therefore, the overall goal of the project is to reduce stormwater runoff and combined sewage overflows to Onondaga Lake in order to improve the health of the Lake and the aquatic life it supports, by employing economically and socially disadvantaged youth to install, maintain and educate about green infrastructure. This project builds off existing work being done by the Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC), a youth conservation corps, to provide them with more training, leadership and mentorship opportunities in order to foster successful green infrastructure outcomes. Specific activities for the youth include professional development activities, and developing and implementing green infrastructure education and installation activities for younger kids. This is expected to build youth leadership opportunities while creating interest for younger kids to follow in their footsteps.

Grant Program Title:
Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship Program
Sponsors:
TogetherGreen (Toyota and Audubon)
Partners:
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Project Budget:
$10,000
Project Dates:
October 21, 2014 to October 31, 2015
Location:
Onondaga Lake Watershed, Onondaga County, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will plan and implement a training workshop entitled “Environmental Science for Green Infrastructure Installation and Maintenance”, to be held in Syracuse, New York on April 4–6, 2017. It will be OEI’s prime responsibility to draft and teach a curriculum on environmental science for 15-20 green infrastructure professionals, as well as coordinating and facilitating related field trips.

Grant Program Title:
Environmental Science for Green Infrastructure Installation and Maintenance Training
Sponsors:
Cleveland Botanical Garden (CBG)
Partners:
PUSH Buffalo
Project Budget:
$7,745
Project Dates:
March 12, 2017 to May 6, 2017
Location:
Syracuse, New York
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

An important component of an effective floatables control program is a coordinated public outreach program designed to educate and inform the public in the targeted sewer service areas about the impact of floatables on water quality.

The goal of the public outreach program will be to: (1) educate the public including transient populations (universities, hotels, etc.) about what floatables are (i.e., litter, trash, and flushable items such as hygiene products), the importance of floatables control, and how floatables negatively impact the health and quality of Harbor Brook, Onondaga Creek and ultimately Onondaga Lake; and (2) implement a community-based education program to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to partner with City and County governments to help control and reduce floatables impacting the targeted waterways.

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will develop and implement a public outreach campaign in the City of Syracuse to educate communities with respect to the importance of urban stormwater management. The public outreach campaign will be aimed at informing and motivating the public to accept increased responsibility for the quality of local waterways.

Grant Program Title:
Floatables Control Program
Sponsors:
Arcadis
Project Budget:
$20,000
Project Dates:
July 9, 2012 to November 8, 2012
Location:
City of Syracuse
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

OEI will work within the Park Hill, Parkwood, Dunrovin, and Franklin Park neighborhoods to provide education and training on Save the Rain (STR) and Green Infrastructure (GI) Initiatives. The goal is to increase community awareness and engagement surrounding the STR program and GI. OEI provides practical training on how to install and maintain rain barrels. Additionally, workshops encourage citizen participation in future STR events.

A goal of 800 rain barrels will be distributed to residents in the Dunrovin and Franklin Park neighborhoods, and 360 will be distributed to residents in the Park Hill and Parkwood neighborhoods. A large kick-off meeting was held during which residents learned about STR and GI. Citizens were taught how to install and maintain rain barrels, and the benefits provided. OEI will assist EFC and the ToD in developing outreach and promotion strategies, as well as workshop logistics. Up to eight smaller educational activities will take place for each neighborhood in order to reach as many residents as possible. Following completion, OEI will assist EFC in monitoring rain barrel use by program participants. Data from the rain barrel workshops and follow up monitoring will provide a useful tool for further program analysis.

Grant Program Title:
Suburban GI Education and Outreach
Partners:
Project Budget:
$41,000
Project Dates:
March 1, 2014 to October 31, 2016
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) is working to develop a data management strategy for the Town of Manlius (ToM) using the Geographic Information System (GIS). Management of municipal resources can be very difficult. Given the broad scope and high demands placed on those delivering service, GIS can be a very useful tool. As the demand for prompt repairs rises, existing infrastructure ages, and new infrastructure is put in place, good record keeping is not enough. Institutional data are often lost over time due to file and software aging and workforce turnover if not properly maintained and transferred along changing digital formats. Upgrading the GIS system for the ToM will help to maximize efficiency and accessibility for their highway department and will help maintain the budget.

This project includes software installations, transition assistance, and any data transfer that follows from said transition. Additionally, a virtual filing system and geodatabase will be constructed. The databases for the ToM will be modified to handle data for specific map outputs. Initial maps will be developed and submitted to the ToM for editing that include snow plow routes, catch basin locations, outfalls for pipe locations, detention basin locations, painted lines on roads, road-side mowing and detention basin mowing, sign locations, and right-of-ways. Finally, a system will be set up for future in- field data collection.

Grant Program Title:
GIS Assistance
Sponsors:
Project Budget:
$6,500
Project Dates:
October 1, 2014 – Ongoing
Location:
Town of Manlius
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI), Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) and Earth Designs Landscaping and Consulting (EDLC) will work together to develop and implement week-long training sessions for OEC crew members, which will impart information on GI, installation and maintenance, while teaching workplace and life skills. Onondaga County has constructed over 100 green infrastructure installations in the past several years. To ensure continued success, proper maintenance, reporting, and quality control procedures will need to be in place.

 

Topics covered at training sessions include natural environment/GI practices, plan reading, and GI/landscape maintenance. Site-specific training provided to OEC staff includes information on particular maintenance issues associated with each location. OEI will also develop and produce training materials.

Grant Program Title:
Green Infrastructure (GI) Maintenance
Sponsors:
Earth Designs Landscaping and Consulting (EDLC)
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $58,970
Project Dates:
May 1, 2016 to March 31, 2020
Location:
Onondaga County
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education

The goal of this project is to improve the water quality of Onondaga Creek and Onondaga Lake through training of youth and adults in Syracuse’s disadvantaged neighborhoods that will prepare them to work on the installation and maintenance of green infrastructure (GI) as well as community engagement around water resource issues. This proposal will contribute to environmental restoration of an urban water body.

The following tasks will accomplish this objective:
1) Two adult GI training workshops to prepare low‐income, underemployed adults for jobs in the installation and maintenance of GI;
2) Two youth GI training workshops to prepare disadvantaged youth for employment in the installation and maintenance of GI; and
3) One community engagement process around a GI/community revitalization project in the Onondaga Creek Watershed.

Two videos produced by youth during trainings, on topics related to GI, stormwater reduction and Onondaga Creek and Lake, will help educate people about techniques to reduce stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows (CSO). This task will also help connect people in a positive way to the water quality improvement projects underway for Onondaga Lake and Creek. Adult and youth GI trainings will increase knowledge, skills, and job readiness for green jobs. In the medium‐term, this job readiness will lead to a larger workforce of people who are capable of successfully installing and maintaining GI practices that will, in the long‐term, lead to a reduction of stormwater runoff and CSOs that impair the water quality of Onondaga Lake.

Grant Program Title:
Urban Waters Small Grant
Sponsors:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
Partners:
Environmental Finance Center (EFC) (of Syracuse University)
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC)
Project Budget:
$60,000
Project Dates:
May 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016
Location:
Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

This project will create an educational and career pathway for at-risk youth on the South side (made up of the Brighton & Southwest neighborhoods) and the Near-West side of the City of Syracuse. The pathway will be created through environmental education, youth leadership projects, employment, and internship opportunities. Three not-for-profit entities with strong environmental justice credentials, the Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC), the Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC) and the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will bring together their experience, expertise and resources to grow the next generation of environmental justice advocates and strengthen the community’s collective capacity to be informed and take action to address environmental harms and public health hazards, via these objectives:

 

 

1. Create sustained youth interest and awareness for environmental justice issues in Syracuse;
2. Provide meaningful green job and career exploration to youth ages 12-20;
3. Build the capacity of environmental justice organizations through youth engagement;
4. Enhance community awareness of environmental harms, risks, and concrete actions that can be taken to improve the neighborhood;
5. Implement a youth-led project that addresses environmental harms and risks by contributing to the implementation of green infrastructure; and
6. Implement a youth-led project that addresses environmental harms and risks by contributing to the community’s access to healthy food.

Grant Program Title:
Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant
Sponsors:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Partners:
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC)
Project Budget:
$49,967
Project Dates:
January 25, 2012 to January 24, 2015
Location:
Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research
Education

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) is performing rain event sampling, flow monitoring, and water level equipment maintenance checks following guidelines outlined in the CSO 018 Constructed Wetlands Pilot Treatment Systems Sampling Plan. Objectives are to monitor the overflow parameters required under the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (SPDES) (Permit Number NY 002 7081; Modification Date: June 4, 2014); monitor the performance of the grit and floatables (G&F) removal system; assess target pollutant removal efficiencies for the wetland system with respect to the three different wetland types: Floating Wetland Islands (FWI), Vertical Down Flow (VDF) wetlands, and Surface Flow (SF) wetlands; and three different flow sequences (series, parallel, series-parallel); include quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) protocols consistent with the 2014 Onondaga County Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program (AMP) Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) and pertinent State and Federal regulations (Jacobs [Formerly CH2M Hill], 2006).

In addition to sampling, OEI will participate in meetings with, and prepare quarterly performance reports for, the prime consultant, consultant, and Onondaga County to discuss progress and results according to their guidelines.

Grant Program Title:
Harbor Brook CSO 018 Treatment Wetland Monitoring and Pilot Study
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $449,699
Project Dates:
May 1, 2016 to Ongoing
Location:
Harbor Brook Wetland
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Research

The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI), working with the Microbial Trackdown Working Group (MTWG), is identifying sources of impairment in Onondaga Creek, Harbor Brook and Ley Creek. High bacterial concentrations and chemical contamination can degrade water quality, pose health concerns, and destroy the recreational and economic value of water bodies when left unchecked. The three water bodies under study are listed on the NYS 303(d) list for impairment caused by pathogens, nutrients, ammonia, cyanide, and turbidity. Recreational uses are limited or prohibited; and fish consumption, aquatic life, aesthetics, and/or habitat quality are known to be stressed or impaired according to the NYS Priority Waterbodies list. Despite the improvements seen in Phase 1 (OEI 2012) and Phase 2 of this study, testing has shown serious areas of degradation remain.

Phase 3 will identify the sources of impairment that remain, and additionally prioritize the concerns for restoration and remedial activities that will help to achieve NYS water quality standards. Activities include monitoring of in-stream bacteria and point source discharges for bacteria, development and implementation of targeted trackdown strategies for problematic point source discharges, determination of human or animal sources of bacteria, evaluation of habitat quality/fish and macroinvertebrate community structure, and assessments of in-stream and riparian habitat quality. Following data collection and analysis, a comprehensive database will be created for said information as well as the data from previous phases. Comprehensive point source maps of the three watersheds will be derived from this data that will contain locations of known sewer pipe, storm drains, CSO, and point sources. A final report will be created containing lab analysis, data validation, and data evaluation.

Grant Program Title:
Microbial Trackdown Study
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $455,090
(*Please see below for additional line of funding partially dedicated to this Study in “Pepsi Bottling Group Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) Funds”)
Project Dates:
September 18, 2008 – December 31, 2019
Location:
Onondaga Creek, Ley Creek, and Harbor Brook
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

Through two different grants (Sustain Our Great Lakes [SOGL], 2014; NYSEA Grant Small Grant, 2015), OEI has been working with project partners, stakeholders, and volunteers to restore habitat for brook trout at select locations in the upper Onondaga Creek watershed. Restoration at one of the sites, Tully Farms Road, has included in-stream and riparian restoration elements that will collectively help to increase in-stream habitat, improve water quality, stabilize streambanks, provide shade, regulate stream temperatures, and restore native tree and shrub vegetation.

It is the goal of this proposed project to enhance and expand restoration efforts at the Tully Farms Road location by increasing native riparian vegetation and removing invasive vegetation from adjacent areas to make significant improvements in stream connectivity, riparian habitat, and canopy cover that can support sustained brook trout survival, growth, and reproduction. This project will also help maintain stream temperatures and bank stability through enhanced canopy cover and root mass, respectively, and helping to mitigate the projected impacts of climate change (e.g., increased stream temperature, altered flow regime, and increased “flashiness” [i.e., flooding]).

The objectives of this study are to: (1) remove invasive vegetation from the riparian zone and adjacent areas, (2) revegetate the riparian zone with native trees and shrubs, (3) perform pre- and post-construction monitoring of stream condition, habitat quality, and brook trout populations, and (4) implement a volunteer program.

Grant Program Title:
New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant
Sponsors:
New York Sea Grant (NYSG)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Partners:
Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD)
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Solitude Lake Management
Project Budget:
$24,987
Project Dates:
March 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019
Location:
Onondaga Creek Watershed (NY)
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Research
Restoration

The objectives of this study are to: (1) remove invasive vegetation from the riparian zone (e.g., Phragmites and buckthorn [Rhamnus sp.]) and adjacent areas, (2) revegetate the riparian zone with native trees and shrubs, (3) install stream features (e.g., cross vanes, j-hooks, substrate enhancements), (4) perform pre- and post-construction monitoring of stream condition, habitat quality, and brook trout populations, and (5) perform education and outreach through volunteer restoration and monitoring events.

 

Collectively, the goals of these efforts are to increase canopy cover to 75%; increase substrate heterogeneity by 15%; and restore 3 acres of riparian habitat, 1 mile of stream bank, and 0.5 miles of in-stream habitat for the enhancement of wild Brook Trout populations.

Grant Program Title:
Fish Passage and Aquatic Habitat Restoration (via 2017 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
Sponsors:
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Partners:
Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD)
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Onondaga Nation Youth Group
Project Budget:
$91,976
Project Dates:
August 2, 2018 to December 30, 2019
Location:
Onondaga Creek Watershed, Tully, NY
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education
Restoration

In 2016 with funding from the 2015 Mohawk River Watershed Grant program, Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and the Oriskany Central School district successfully developed and piloted 4 classroom lessons and 2 field trips about watersheds, the Erie canal, river and stream ecology, water quality sampling and restoration, for 3 science classes. In 2017, OEI will work with 3 additional school districts to offer the curriculum to their students. Based upon success to date, as well as comments from participating teachers, with funding from this grant, OEI will expand the number of students able to learn about environmental and stewardship projects in the Mohawk River Basin by providing teachers with the tools and support they need to incorporate the curriculum into their classrooms.

 

The goals of this project are:
(1) To engage youth in the Mohawk River Watershed and educate them about environmental issues affecting water and biotic quality in the basin;
(2) To promote environmental awareness and stewardship within the Mohawk River Watershed; and
(3) To support stream restoration and flood resiliency projects and community stewardship by providing opportunities for students to do hands-on restoration.

The major work elements will include:
(1) Developing and providing a teacher training workshop, curriculum guide and classroom kit based upon the Mohawk River Watershed Curriculum (MRWC) developed with funding from the previous Mohawk River grant;
(2) Expanding the interdisciplinary options of the MRWC so that more teachers can use the curriculum in their classrooms;
(3) Supporting teachers who incorporate the MRWC into their classroom through one-on-one planning sessions, in-class support and additional trainings as needed.

OEI will engage 10-15 teachers and 200-300 students in the Mohawk River Watershed over the course of the grant. All curricula developed as part of this grant will adhere to New York State Learning Standards and Next Generation Standards. Participation and evaluation surveys will be used to measure performance. Engagement and support of teachers will ultimately help normalize the incorporation of Mohawk River Watershed-based lessons into schools in the Mohawk River Watershed. Teacher engagement will ultimately promote environmental stewardship by students and teach students how they can help protect, restore and monitor the Mohawk River Watershed. This project directly works the achieve the Mohawk River Watershed Advisory Committee’s goals to “increase watershed awareness” and “protect…fish and wildlife habitat.”

Grant Program Title:
2017 Mohawk River Watershed Grant
Sponsors:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Partners:
New York Mills Union Free School District
Oriskany Central School District
Utica City School District
Waterville Central School District
Project Budget:
$42,227
Project Dates:
October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020
Location:
Mohawk River Watershed, NY
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education

This project will engage and educate youth living in the Mohawk River watershed about environmental issues affecting water quality and biotic integrity in the basin. This will promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help to achieve various goals of both the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda and the Mohawk River Watershed Advisory committee. Activities will assist in increasing environmental awareness and stewardship among youth, as well as implement restoration efforts in the area.

OEI will collaborate with its partners to develop curriculum for middle school youth with a focus on watershed ecology, environmental pollution, food web dynamics, and the role of water monitoring pertaining specifically to the Mohawk River basin. OEI will then collaborate with teachers from schools in Oneida County to implement lessons and coordinate field trips to local streams. These trips will allow students to engage in hands-on activities that include fish and aquatic insect sampling, and allow them to take part in restoration activities. Finally, OEI will provide support to teacher’s efforts to extend lessons and deepen learning experiences.

Grant Program Title:
Mohawk River Watershed Grant
Project Budget:
$40,473
Project Dates:
June 1, 2016- November 30, 2019
Location:
Mohawk River Watershed; New York Mills, Oriskany and Utica School Districts
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and partners will design restoration features for three sites in Ley Creek, a polluted urban stream located in Onondaga County. Over time, the water quality of Ley Creek has been impaired by pathogens, ammonia, nutrients, and cyanide; and is therefore listed on the NYS 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters. This has led to the impairment of public bathing, aquatic life, and recreation in the creek, and has stressed the aesthetics and fish consumption for the entire watershed. This project will help to restore Ley Creek to its natural condition, as well as alleviate/remediate damage done by urban runoff and pollution.

OEI will work with Natural Systems Engineering (NSE) to design restoration features for three sites in Ley Creek, and NSE will oversee construction of riparian wetland habitat. Additionally, OEI and NSE will conduct pre- and post-construction field surveys to document site conditions. Public outreach and education paired with a community-based monitoring program will ensure long-term success of restorative efforts. Results will include improvements to temperature, dissolved oxygen content, natural flow-patterns, and turbidity.

Grant Program Title:
Water Quality Improvement Program
Project Budget:
$111,341
Project Dates:
January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2019
Location:
Three sites in the North Branch, South Branch, and Mainstream of Ley Creek in Onondaga County, New York
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Restoration

Lily Lake is affected by a lack of oxygen in bottom water and significant algae blooms that are impacting water quality and likely affecting the largemouth bass fishery. The goals of this work are to (1) enhance oxygen throughout the water column, (2) identify and mitigate the algae problem, (3) increase the health and size of the largemouth bass population, and (4) implement strategies that maintain a consistent, self-sustaining largemouth bass fishery year-to-year.

 

OEI will utilize an adaptive management-based strategy to develop and implement a monitoring and management plan that effectively addresses the concerns and end-user goals for the lake. Based on OEI’s existing knowledge of the Lily Lake and the watershed, the goals and objectives of the project (as defined by the property owner), and previous experience from similar studies, OEI will perform a literature review, develop a conceptual model, perform field surveys, and conduct data management, analysis and reporting.

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Lily Lake Management & Monitoring
Project Budget:
$44,566
Project Dates:
March 1, 2017 to Ongoing
Location:
Lily Lake, Dalton, PA
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Research

The City of Syracuse’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Grant (LWRP), in partnership with the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS), will provide public access, strengthen connections with Onondaga Creek and adjacent neighborhoods and improve environmental quality. The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will provide professional services to assist the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with the enhancement of the City’s LWRP. OEI will conduct the work elements below to achieve the LWRP objectives:

a) Communicate the results of the Onondaga Creek Revitalization Plan (OCRP) to the LWRP project team, the Project Advisory Committee, and others as directed by City Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The City has designated the OCRP as the master plan document to support LWRP project design and construction;
b) Using OCRP drivers, goals, and community input, ensure that environmental quality of the creek is protected and enhanced through the LWRP process;
c) Review draft documents and participate in public meetings as requested by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; and
d) Attend Project Advisory Committee meetings to represent OEI;
e) Assist with design and content of signage for Outdoor Classroom in Kirk Park project;
f) Conducting supplementary planning sessions; and
g) Performing supplementary modeling for Kirk Park site.

Grant Program Title:
Local Waterfront Revitalization Project
Sponsors:
City of Syracuse 
Ted Brown, CLEAR
Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects LLP
Natural Systems Engineering  (NSE)
Partners:
City of Syracuse 
Ted Brown, CLEAR
Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects LLP
Natural Systems Engineering  (NSE)
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $12,948
Project Dates:
April 19, 2012 to December 31, 2013
Location:
Onondaga Creek, Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research
Education
Planning

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will assist the Town of Manlius with mapping services. The objectives are to 1) bring existing files into ESRI GIS program; 2) add attributes to each parcel from existing spreadsheet files focusing on information compiled in CAD; 3) transfer complete files and info to Maplink to upload on website; and 4) achieve outcomes including: each district and zone with own layer with sublayers, and attribute info added to parcels so all is visible when clicked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Manlius GIS Consulting 2019
Sponsor:
Terry Horst Landscape Architecture, PC
Partners:
Miller Engineers
Project Budget:
$5,153
Project Dates:
October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Location:
Town of Manlius, NY
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

The Town of Manlius is proposing to build a new municipal building on a parcel of land that contains Federal- and State-regulated wetland habitat. While the location provides a geographically opportune site for the Town’s municipal building, the potential loss and/or degradation of wetland habitat poses concerns. In order to accurately and thoroughly evaluate existing conditions of the property, and the potential impact to existing habitats associated with development of the property, an evaluation of current ecological conditions was performed by the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI). The habitat evaluation identified wetland habitat as the major, natural habitat feature on the property. Therefore, recommendations were developed to assist the Town of Manlius with prioritizing and implementing strategies that mitigate and offset wetland habitat loss and degradation.

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Manlius Wetlands Evaluation
Sponsors:
Miller Engineers
Project Budget:
$5,000
Project Dates:
March 1, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Location:
Town of Manlius, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

Planning

 

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and partners will conduct a three-year investigation of the Mohawk River in order to gather data on the ecosystem condition. The Mohawk River has faced many problems over the years primarily relating to population, expansion, economic growth, and changes to land use. Assessments of the biotic integrity can assist any future restoration efforts. The comprehensive approach undertaken by OEI and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will help to determine the factors that are most detrimental to the structure and function within the Mohawk River ecosystem. The linkages discovered between aquatic biota, stream condition, and land use will serve as a guide for long-term restoration efforts and monitoring programs.

The investigation will include sampling of macroinvertebrate communities, the collection of in-situ water quality data, and site habitat assessments. Activities include monitoring of macroinvertebrate communities at select locations, identification of environmental factors significantly impacting macroinvertebrate communities, assessment of long-term trends in macroinvertebrate diversity, and stream condition from historical data, cooperation and collaboration with other scientists performing fish sampling, comparisons of assemblage-specific measures of water quality and biotic condition, and the fulfillment of the goals of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. Following data analysis and interpretation, recommendations will be made to guide future studies and restoration efforts.

Grant Program Title:
Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda
Project Budget:
$138,015
Project Dates:
July 1, 2014 to to September 30, 2017
Location:
Select Locations in the Mohawk River
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

The Onondaga Creek corridor in Onondaga County, NY has been impacted by halite mining, channelization, overdevelopment, and numerous municipal and industrial point and non-point pollution sources over the last 150 years, resulting in severe degradation of the creek, its tributaries, riparian zones, and wetlands. The source of the pervasive sedimentation is from a hydrogeological phenomenon known as mudboils. An alternatives analysis will be performed to present an option or suite of options that could undergo a feasibility study (FS). The FS would determine if an engineering design for capturing and remediating the effects of mudboil discharge sediments on downstream conditions could be implemented in the Upper Onondaga Creek watershed as a short-term measure while a long-term solution addressing the causation of mudboils is being sought.

OEI will conduct a study to identify and assess options to address and mitigate discharge of mudboil released sediments to Upper Onondaga Creek. Onondaga Creek, despite multiple problems, is regionally unique in character and habitat and has been documented as capable of supporting brook and brown trout fish populations, along with a potential affluvial salmon run. It represents a central resource and entity of profound cultural and spiritual significance to the Onondaga Nation. Onondaga Creek can be an important resource in the establishment of cold and cool water fisheries in Onondaga Lake.

Grant Program Title:
Mudboil Mitigation Alternatives Analysis
Sponsors:
Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNYRPDB)
Partners:
Mudboil Technical Advisory Group (TAG):
Onondaga Nation
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
New York State Office of Attorney General (NYSAG)
CNYRPDB
Onondaga County
City of Syracuse

Design Team:
DuLac Engineering (Don Lake)
Natural Systems Engineering  (NSE) (Kyle Thomas)
Theodore Endreny
Project Budget:
$45,822
Project Dates:
March 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019
Location:
Tully Valley
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

This project seeks to educate young people who live and work in overburdened communities, giving them more ideas about how they can protect and improve their health and environment from the ground up. There are already lots of ways to teach environmental policy, but this project stands out in two ways. First, the point of entry is everyday life, so the curriculum will build an understanding of key elements of environmental policy from things people already encounter on a regular basis, including environmental justice, which too often has simply been left out. Second, the approach is focused on inquiry-based, active learning, which has been popular among science educators but not so frequently used in teaching about law and policy. These distinctive features of this approach will help ensure that the lesson plans created about environmental justice issues relative to the Clean Water Act are lively, fun, and ideal for informal educational environments.

Grant Program Title:
Environmental Justice Small Grant
Sponsors:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
Partners:
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)
Georgetown University School of Law (Professor Richard Roe, Street Law Program)
Orenda Springs
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Project Budget:
$25,000
Project Dates:
November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2013
Location:
Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) was awarded a multi-faceted contract by Onondaga County that began with administration duties of the Onondaga Lake Partnership (OLP), as the OLP ended in September 2012 and subsequently transitioned to a new watershed management structure. OEI was well positioned for this work as it served as the administrative entity of US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) funds for the original Onondaga Lake Management Conference (OLMC) formed in 1990, as well as the OLP from August 1999 to September 2012.

The OLP was established to promote cooperation by federal, state and local governments, and other involved parties in the management of the environmental issues of Onondaga Lake and its watershed, consistent with the Onondaga Lake Management Plan, created by the OLMC in 1993. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) served as lead agency. US Congress has appropriated funds for use by the OLP via USACE and USEPA for Onondaga Lake water quality improvement projects; and the OLP assumed the duties and responsibilities for developing the work plans and budgets for these funds. Federal funds previously appropriated by Congress to the OLP to carry out its mission were expended by September 2012; hence, afterwards had no additional funding for OLP administration or new OLP projects.

However, in 2004 the Onondaga County Legislature passed a resolution to accept $2,680,000 from the Pepsi Bottling Group for various projects related to Onondaga Lake, and allocated $1,000,000 of the Supplemental Environmental Project (“SEP”) funds Onondaga County received for use as a non- federal match for OLP projects. By Resolution 2012-4, the OLP has requested that the County utilize $100,000 of the moneys to match federal grants to cover the administrative expenses to be incurred by the OLP from October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2014 (please see OLP Administration below) and to utilize an additional $121,266 to fund projects yet to be identified by the OLP Executive Committee (please see Phase 3 Microbial Trackdown Study below). Then through a contract amendment in early 2015, Onondaga County authorized an additional $171,239 contracted to OEI to oversee the Mudboil Review Expert Panel project, which later allocated a portion of these funds to a Directional Drilling project (please see Mudboil Technical Advisory Panel & Directional Drilling below).

Grant Program Title:
Pepsi Bottling Group Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) Funds
Sponsors:
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $392,505
Project Dates:
October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2019
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

OLP Administration

OEI provided administrative services to the OLP, including but not limited to, general communications, meeting preparation, preparing agendas, distributing meeting materials, preparing meeting minutes and attending meetings. OEI also sought to implement projects to be approved by the OLP and Onondaga County in alignment with authorized project funds in addition to this $100,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Archived
Mission:
Planning
Phase 3 Microbial Trackdown Study
Resolution 2012-4 by the OLP Executive Committee allocated $121,266 to fund this project, which supplemented OEI’s existing Identification of Primary Sources of Bacteria Loading in Select Tributaries of Onondaga Lake: Phase 3 Microbial Trackdown Study (please see this project for more details).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Phase 3 Microbial Trackdown Study
Partners:*
Project Budget:*
$121,266
(*Please see above for partners and additional funding dedicated to this Study in “Identification of Primary Sources of Bacteria Loading in Select Tributaries of Onondaga Lake: Microbial Trackdown Study Phases 1-3”)
Project Dates:
May 1, 2014 to December 31, 2019
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Mudboil Technical Advisory Panel & Directional Drilling

Tully Valley Mudboils are located in the upper Onondaga Creek watershed. Human activities, such as drilling and solution mining, have contributed to their presence. Excess sediment from the mudboils flows into Onondaga Creek increasing turbidity, leading to further impairment. To address these issues, a Technical Advisory Panel was assembled with the following objectives: an evaluation of existing data to develop a management strategy, recommendation of a strategy timeline to develop a management plan, and the proposal of pilot projects to reduce sediment. The results of which were presented in the Tully Mudboils Technical Advisory Panel Report issued October 6, 2016. Specific recommended remediation methods are listed in section VIII of the report.

The goal of this project is to provide the assistance needed to obtain, and take action on, the advice of experts in mitigating the impairment to Onondaga Creek caused by the Tully Valley Mudboils. As part of the Mudboil Working Group (MWG), OEI has administered contracts associated with expert panel members convened by State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) on behalf of the MWG. Additionally, OEI will administer contracts associated with the implementation of mudboil mitigation activities and/or projects recommended by the expert panel and approved by the MWG, including the Directional Drill project.

Grant Program Title:
Mudboil Technical Advisory Panel
Project Budget:
$171,239
Project Dates:
February 1, 2015 to December 31, 2019
Location:
Tully Valley
Project Status:
Active
Mission:

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) proposed two projects supported by local community members for planning and design work along Onondaga Creek, submitted formally during the Natural Resource Damages (NRD) public comment period in July 2017, and supported subsequently by multiple planning meetings with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) staff and local stakeholders. Both projects, commonly named the “Kirk Park” and “Arsenal Park” projects, provide ecological (habitat) and recreation benefits, as well as other community benefits such as enhanced floodplain storage. Each of the projects requires a Feasibility Analysis and Preliminary Engineering Design Report prior to being considered by the NRD Trustees for implementation funding. In addition, the Arsenal Park project requires a Real State Analysis (Appraisal, Survey, Phase 1 Analysis) to enable further discussion with private landowner. The lead community group, Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN) intends to apply for additional funds to complete the engineering reports in the future.

This project includes the following work elements:
1. Arsenal Park Project: Real Estate Analysis
a. Appraisal
b. Phase 1 Analysis
c. Negotiation with Property Owner
2. Kirk Park Project: Preliminary Engineering and Design
a. Preliminary Planimetric Layout (including streambank modifications, topographical adjustments, water energy management features, points of access to water (fishing, car-top boat launch), and coordination with existing site features (roadways, sidewalks, steps, fencing, pedestrian bridge, stone building, outdoor classroom, and other features) with one sectional Profile Drawing
b. Preliminary Hydraulic Analysis
c. Coordination with City of Syracuse
i. General Coordination (City of Syracuse is Property Owner)
ii. Coordination with proposed Onondaga Creekwalk Phase II Project
3. Public Outreach/Communication Strategy Development

Grant Program Title:
Planning and Design Work for Arsenal and Kirk Parks
Sponsors:
Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Partners:
DuLac Engineering (Don Lake)
Natural Systems Engineering  (NSE) (Kyle Thomas)
Theodore Endreny
Project Budget:
$30,000
Project Dates:
August 1, 2018 to November 30, 2019
Location:
Arsenal Park and Kirk Park, Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Planning

Relating to the Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10(a), this project will educate city residents about the dangers of living in an unhealthy home and available corrective actions. The primary vehicle for raising public awareness will be four community meetings in economically-stressed city neighborhoods with a high incidence of lead poisoning, asthma hospitalization and pre-1978 housing stock. The project will also offer OSHA and EPA certification training to under- and unemployed city residents seeking building and construction trades employment opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Environmental Justice Small Grant
Sponsors:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
Partners:
Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC)
Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN)
L & M Training Center
Onondaga County Health Department (Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Neighborhoods programs)
City of Syracuse (Department of Neighborhood and Business Development and its Lead Program)
Project Budget:
$24,503
Project Dates:
October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2014
Location:
Syracuse, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

The purpose of this project is to determine if underutilized components of the Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) can be repurposed to serve as a municipal wastewater treatment facility that can support economic growth along the Thompson Road Corridor, provide capital and operational cost savings to Onondaga County’s wastewater treatment needs, and provide environmental benefits to the Onondaga Lake and Oneida Lake watersheds.

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will work with the project team to establish the Assimilative Capacity/Available Waste Load Allocation (P, N, BOD, TSS, Other?) available in Ley Creek and then establish anticipated discharge permit limits. This will require in depth discussions with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) water quality personnel in both Syracuse and Albany. Specific discussions will be conducted to establish the acceptability of constructed wetlands as an integral component of the treatment scheme. Design criteria along with operation and maintenance criteria will be established. Permitting requirements unique to constructed wetlands will be defined.

OEI and the team will then prepare an Environmental Site Assessment report that includes written descriptions of each resource category, along with GIS-based mapping and figures. The report will identify sensitive environmental resources within the study corridor, support recommendations for a preferred pipeline route, identify the appropriate level of permitting support studies that should be undertaken, provide project development strategies, and identify associated environmental permits.

Grant Program Title:
Engineering Planning Grant
Sponsors:
Terry Horst Landscape Architecture, PC
Partners:
Seeler Engineering, P.C.
Miller Engineers
Town of DeWitt
Project Budget:
$23,350
Project Dates:
May 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018
Location:
Onondaga County
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Planning

Bear Trap Creek has suffered from habit degradation over the years as a result of urban development. Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will conduct sampling of fish species at six sites within Bear Trap Creek before and after construction of stream restoration projects. Data can be used to help implement successful pollution prevention and mitigation efforts [Barbor et. Al 1999]. Methods are highly effective when used for monitoring changes in aquatic biota, habitat, and water quality. Analysis of restoration efficacy will provide information on the degree of success for past restoration projects and highlight possible and necessary programmatic changes.

 

OEI staff will conduct visual habitat assessments, measure water quality and chemistry, and describe the fish communities at select locations. Index of Biological integrity will be applied, as well as other biotic indices, to determine changes in fish populations in terms of diversity, density, and size distribution. OEI will evaluate five restoration sites contrasted against several reference sites in order to help measure success.

Grant Program Title:
Bear Trap Creek Biota Monitoring Services
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $14,182
Project Dates:
March 25, 2011 to October 31, 2016
Location:
Multiple sites along Bear Trap Creek
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI), in collaboration with local landowners, is working to restore in-stream riparian habitat in Upper Onondaga Creek to re-introduce populations of native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), a sensitive coldwater fish that is of ecological and conservation importance in New York State. Due to habitat degradation, primarily caused by overdevelopment, modern agricultural practices, and mudboil activity in the Tully Valley, trout populations have been reduced. In the Upper Onondaga Creek Watershed, brook trout populations are almost non-existent. The West Branch is a major tributary to Onondaga Creek (Onondaga County, NY). Fish surveys within the last decade have classified the West Branch as a “cold water assemblage” stream, with wild brook trout present in the headwaters. Evidence suggests, however, that two insufficiently sized and failing culverts are creating chokepoints in the West Branch that are reducing stream flow and contributing to persistent sedimentation and debris jams; thus, reducing substrate habitat heterogeneity and decreasing water quality to levels unsuitable for the successful survival and reproduction of brook trout. In order to ensure the successful reintroduction of this species, stream temperature and point-source pollution need to be addressed. Once restored, native brook trout will help to improve the overall health of the Upper Onondaga Creek Watershed.

Grant Program Title:
Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL)
Sponsors:
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
Partners:
Law Office of the General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation
Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD)
Town of Onondaga
Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery
Onondaga Nation Youth Corps
Local Landowners
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $354,930
Project Dates:
October 1, 2014 to June 30, 2020
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Restoration

Phase I
Project Budget:$176,880
Project Dates: October 1, 2014 – July 30, 2018
Location: Three locations in Upper Onondaga Creek; Towns of Tully, Lafayette, and Onondaga

To ensure successful reintroduction, OEI is conducting restoration efforts that include the instillation of in-stream structures and the stabilization of stream banks. These efforts will help to recover the habitat for brook trout and other fish by improving stream connectivity, riparian habitat, and canopy cover. Following the restoration, brook trout will be stocked in these areas and their success will be monitored in terms of survival, growth, and reproduction. Changes in biological, chemical, and physical conditions of the habitats will be monitored pre- and post-restoration. A community-based monitoring program will be developed in conjunction with the Onondaga Nation to carry out this work. A long-term tribal-based stocking and monitoring program will be established to help ensure the continued success of the program and promote environmental stewardship.

 

Phase II
Project Budget: $178,050
Project Dates: August 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020
Location: West Branch of Onondaga Creek, Onondaga County, NY

This project will restore in-stream habitat in the West Branch of Onondaga Creek, in an effort to restore brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Work will include replacing a failing road culvert that is causing significant sedimentation at the road crossing. In addition, woody debris jams and fine sediment deposits will be modified and/or removed to improve stream flow, increase substrate diversity, and improve water quality for brook trout. The replacement of the culvert will help reconnect 6 miles of stream habitat considered suitable for trout spawning, as well as connect to areas identified in previous studies to have wild, naturally reproducing population of brook trout. The targeted removal of significant debris jams and pockets of accumulated fine sediment will improve 3.6 miles of in-stream habitat, helping to maintain stream flow and contribute to long-term maintenance of replaced culverts. Brook trout stocking and stream monitoring will be performed to measure success.

The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and partners are working to engage communities within the Onondaga Lake Watershed. Place-based education is an effective approach to developing and healing relationships with communities and their local environments. This project serves to increase the knowledge of community members though educational outreach, community mapping, video design, broad distribution of deliverables throughout communities, and collaborative engagement. The process allows those living in the watershed to better evaluate environmental projects.

The Reviving Place project provides members of the community with opportunities to participate in a series of educational activities. Through community meetings, citizens engage in a collaborative process and develop an interactive community map and video, highlighting important local features, history, and values through images and words. The maps and videos will provide their creators, as well as viewers including decision makers and elected representatives, with a better understanding of the value and importance of local natural resources. This process will engage community members from a variety of age groups, and help to incite behavioral changes that can be seen for years to come. In the end, this project will serve as a model for the evaluation of environmental projects with respect to local story, art, culture, and ecology and will inform other communities through a regional conference and webinar.

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) and its partners are working to restore a segment of Onondaga Creek to allow for the restoration of native brook trout through Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) grants. Brook trout are a native species of ecological, recreational, and economic importance in the region and of cultural significance to the Onondaga Nation. Restoration efforts will directly contribute to Brook Trout reestablishment and will help to restore the Upper Onondaga Creek Watershed to natural conditions, which is a major goal of the Onondaga Nation’s Vision for a Clean Onondaga Lake.

This grant will supplement the SOGL grants by allowing OEI to re-vegetate a riparian zone of Onondaga Creek and remove the aquatic invasive Phragmites australis from the riparian zone and adjacent areas. Increased riparian cover and bank stability will reduce sedimentation and runoff and improve water quality and habitat. Removal of Phragmites australis will lessen its spread in the Upper Onondaga Creek Watershed, and allow for re-establishment of native vegetation.

Additionally, OEI will perform pre- and post-construction monitoring of the stream condition and implement a community-based monitoring program with the Onondaga Nation. This adaptive management approach will ensure long-term success and encourage community engagement.

Grant Program Title:
New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant
Project Budget:
$24,998
Project Dates:
January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018
Location:
Stream segment between Tully Farms Road and Rte 11A and a 3.8 acre area adjacent to the stream bank
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Restoration

Despite being a major tributary to Onondaga Lake, Ley Creek has been largely ignored and neglected. Recent stream surveys have found water quality and physical habitat to be at least moderately impaired, with much of the stream channelized and the stream banks disturbed. Compared to other tributaries in the watershed, average stream temperatures are slightly higher and are attributable to poor riparian habitat. The invasive plant Phragmites dominates large sections of streambank vegetation. Riparian plantings along large sections of Ley Creek could have profound impacts on water and biotic quality, neighborhood revitalization and beautification, and water capture efficiencies.

 

 

The goals of this project are to:
(1) Improve water quality in the Ley Creek watershed;
(2) Mitigate the effects of climate change; and
(3) Promote environmental awareness and stewardship within the Ley Creek watershed.

Major work elements will include:
(1) Riparian restoration at three locations in the Ley Creek watershed using native trees from NYS nurseries;
(2) Collaborating with the Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) to plant trees and engage with the community;
(3) Collaborating with certified arborists from OEC to design and implement a long-term maintenance plan; and
(4) Engaging the community via informational materials (e.g., social media, pamphlets, etc.) and hosting outreach events (e.g., community meetings and volunteer tree plantings).

Riparian restoration will improve nutrient cycling; minimize stream bank erosion and sedimentation; reconnect, enhance, and increase native habitat; increase canopy cover; improve stream water quality and physical habitat; and minimize flooding in residential neighborhoods and business districts. Reconnected and restored riparian habitat will promote enhancement and/or reintroduction of native plant and animal species, as well as increase the amount of refugia for fish; allowing a more diverse fish community. These improvements will have significant effects on the aquatic biota.

Grant Program Title:
2018 Trees for Tribs Grant Program
Sponsors:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Partners:
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Town of DeWitt
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)
New York State Thruway Authority
Project Budget:
$88,045
Project Dates:
January 1, 2019 to December 30, 2020
Location:
Ley Creek Watershed, Town of DeWitt, NY
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education
Restoration

The Creekwalk Mosaic Mural “Salmon Run” is a participatory public art project celebrating the environmental heritage of Syracuse. The artwork will be located along the Onondaga Creekwalk; a public walking path adjacent to the creek. The mosaic will be composed of recycled tiles from the waste-stream and handmade ceramic fish tiles, creating a mural that depicts a resilient school of salmon swimming upstream. Many people are unaware that salmon were once plentiful in Onondaga Creek, but their population has been drastically diminished over the last 250 years due to human impact. In addition to beautifying an otherwise stark concrete area, the mural will act as an engaging and representative infographic. Each fish tile will be life-sized and have realistic qualities, giving the viewer a contextual sense of what a salmon migration might have looked and felt like. The artwork is intended to showcase Syracuse’s ecological history and stimulate watershed restoration through public outreach and creative placemaking.

Grant Program Title:
Decentralization Program
Sponsors:
CNY Arts
Partners:
Jillian Hirsch (local artist sponsored by OEI)
Project Budget:
$1,000
Project Dates:
April 6, 2017 to August 4, 2017
Location:
Onondaga Creekwalk, Syracuse, New York
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

OEI will conduct a series of Rain Barrel Workshops throughout the community and at several events. Workshops serve to educate the community in regards to the Save the Rain (STR) program and the ways in which the public can participate.

Community members are given their own rain barrels at the workshops. OEI provides insight into the STR program while providing information on installation and maintenance of rain barrels. Painting stations are set up for those who want to decorate their barrels, and staff members are available to answer any questions. Through engagement, the public can learn more about ongoing STR projects, and additional ways to get involved in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Save the Rain
Project Budget:
Cumulative Total: $402,742
Project Dates:
September 7, 2010 – October 31, 2017
Location:
Throughout the community, at community events/festivals, and at the Onondaga County Clean Water Fair
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Education

 

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will perform a formal delineation of the wetland resources at the Phoenix Marina. This delineation will be performed in compliance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wetland Delineation Manual (USACE Environmental Laboratory, 1987) and the Interim Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: North Central and Northeast Region (USACE, 2009). As part of the delineation process, OEI will inspect the vegetation, soils, and hydrology of the site to determine which areas meet the wetland criteria, as established by USACE. During this inspection, OEI will collect the required data to confirm the findings and identify the wetland boundaries in the project corridor with flags to allow for location of the delineated wetlands on existing mapping for the site.

 

 

Grant Program Title:
Wetland Delineation
Sponsors:
Seeler Engineering, P.C.
Project Budget:
$4500
Project Dates:
November 30, 2018 to December 28, 2018
Location:
Phoenix, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

The Town of DeWitt supports an assessment of the current physical and chemical conditions of Widewaters Pond before the future installation of an adjacent park. The Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) proposes to evaluate the current suitability of the Widewaters Pond location for resident fish and waterfowl habitat, as well as the potential need for enhanced habitat features for these organisms through pond restoration.

The specific objectives of this work will be to evaluate fish and waterfowl habitat suitability in the pond through: (1) sampling water quality parameters indicative of ecosystem health, (2) sampling for chemicals including metals and petroleum byproducts associated with gasoline and fuel oils from road runoff in both the water column and bottom sediments, (3) a quantitative analysis of the biotic food sources that exist in the pond necessary for fish and waterfowl predation, and (4) implementation of a qualitative habitat assessment protocol.

An evaluation of these data will be completed, utilizing threshold criteria developed for the hazardous substances by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC); moreover, an assessment of potential human and ecological risks that may result from exposure to Widewaters Pond sediments and surface waters will be made. This investigation will help elucidate the potential need for further actions associated with the waters and sediments of Widewaters Pond to ensure protection of animal health and/or the environment.

Grant Program Title:
Widewaters Parkway Pond Revitalization
Sponsors:
Miller Engineers
Partners:
Certified Environmental Services Inc
Town of DeWitt
Project Budget:
$15,000
Project Dates:
November 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018
Location:
Widewaters Parkway Pond, Dewitt, NY
Project Status:
Archived
Mission:
Research

Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI) will partner with Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) to reduce environmental impairments and public health risks via citizen participation and urban forestry, by providing both technical and educational support. Specifically, OEI will provide air quality monitoring equipment, work with youth and staff to collect and analyze air quality data and translate data into a proposed planting plan, and collaborate on community education and outreach efforts.

 

 

 

 

Grant Program Title:
2016 Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant
Sponsors:
Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC)
Partners:
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)
Project Budget:
$23,000
Project Dates:
January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020
Location:
City of Syracuse, NY and Town of DeWitt, NY, Onondaga County
Project Status:
Active
Mission:
Education
Planning