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CASE STUDY - CAYUGA LAKE, NY 

The large number of access points and proximity to other infested lakes makes Cayuga Lake vulnerable to new aquatic invasive species (AIS) introductions. As of January 2021, Cayuga Lake contained: 

Invertebrates

Mud Bithynia (Bithynia tentaculata)

Fishhook Waterflea (Cercopagis pengoi)

Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea)

Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis)

Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)

Scud (Echinogammarus ischnus)

Bloody-red shrimp (Hemimysis anomala)

Virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis)

Big-eared radix (Radix auricularia)

European stream valvata (Valvata piscinalis)

Plants

Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)

European frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)

European water-fern/waterclover (Marsilea quadrifolia)

Variable watermilfoil; broadleaf watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)

Eurasian water-milfoil; European water-milfoil; spike water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)

Brittle naiad (Najas minor)

American water lotus (Nelumbo lutea)

Starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa)

Curly pondweed; curly-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)

Water chestnut (Trapa natans)

Fish

Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)

Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)

CAYUGA LAKE, NY

Cayuga Lake is one of the 40 deepest lakes in the United States, is the longest of the glacial finger lakes, and spans three counties - Cayuga, Tompkins, and Seneca counties. It is 37.9 miles long, and 66.41 square miles, has a 55 meter mean depth, and 133 meter maximum depth. Three regional planning agencies have management authorities, and there are 12 towns, three villages, and one city adjacent to the lake. The city of Ithaca, site of Ithaca College and Cornell University, is located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake.

Cayuga Lake is part of the New York State Erie Canal system. The water level is regulated by the Mud Lock at the north end of the lake. It is connected to Lake Ontario by the Erie Canal and Seneca Lake by the Seneca River. The lake is drawn down as winter approaches, to minimize ice damage and to maximize its capacity to store heavy spring runoff.

FireShot Capture 282 - Google Earth - ea

Click on the image for a larger version of this map on Google Earth.

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SUB-PATHWAY
PATHWAY - AVIATION
RESPONSIBLE CITY/COUNTY DEPT.
STATE LAW/REGULATION
LOCAL AUTHORITY
RECOMMENDATION FOR LOCAL ACTION
JURISDICTION

Planes/Helicopters

Cayuga County Parks & Trails

Planning & Community Development Department

Ithaca Tompkins International Airport (ITH) Manager.  

Cayuga County

Seneca County

Tompkins County

Town of Lansing

Parks and Recreation

The local legislative body of a city, county, village or town, by resolution, may determine to establish, construct, equip, maintain and operate for such county, city, village or town an airport or landing field for the use of aeroplanes and other aircraft. (N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law § 350). The local legislative body of a city, county, village or town, by resolution, may determine to establish, construct, equip, maintain and operate for such county, city, village or town an airport or landing field for the use of aeroplanes and other aircraft. (N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law § 350).

Cayuga County does not own or operate an airport. Local Law No. 1 of 2007 related to Park, Trails, and Recreation Areas prohibits aviation activities on park properties except when undertaken pursuant to a permit. This prohibition applies to the voluntary landing of any aircraft, balloon, or weight-carrying machine or device designed for flight in or navigation of the air other than an emergency. 

N/A

None Found. Finger Lakes Regional Airport is located in Seneca Falls, NY and is owned by Seneca County. 

Consider adopting a local law addressing AIS risks from airport operations.

ITH is publicly-owned by Tompkins County and located in the Town of Lansing, NY.  Chapter 87 of the County Code governs airport operations. "All Airport tenants and users shall obey all federal, state, and local environmental laws and shall be wholly responsible for costs associated with fines or clean-up of contamination brought about as a result of their actions, operations, and the activities of their employees, their guests, and invitees."

Consider adding provision to Chapter 87 or airport leases that addresses AIS risks from airport operations.

The Town of Lansing does not own or operate an airport. A provision of the town's Parks and Recreation Rules prohibits take off, landing or operation of "any aircraft in, upon, or within 1,000 feet of any park, except for genuine emergencies or for a forced landing caused by mechanical or structural failure of the aircraft.” (Chapter 190-45). 

N/A

Seaplanes

Cayuga County

Planning and Economic Development

Seneca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

New York is a home rule state. Every local government has the power to adopt and amend local laws not inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution or not inconsistent with any general law relating to its property, affairs or government. (Municipal Home Rule Law § 10). In 1981, the New York State Comptroller issued an opinion affirming the authority of towns to regulate the use of seaplanes, although some aspects of local regulation may be preempted on navigable lakes. (NYCPTR Opn No. 81-160). Definition of watercraft in state AIS prevention law does not exclude seaplanes. Watercraft is defined as "every motorized or non-motorized boat or vehicle capable of being used or operated as a means of transportation or recreation in or on water." (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 9-1710). State law prohibits any person from launching a watercraft "unless it can be demonstrated that reasonable precautions such as removal of any visible plant or animal matter, washing, draining or drying as defined by the department pursuant to rules and regulations, have been taken."

Pursuant to Local Law No. 6 (2013) to prevent the spread of AIS It is unlawful for any person to launch, haul, or attempt to enter or exit a watercraft from a water body with any plant or animal material visible to the eye in or attached to the watercraft. (Section 3). Watercraft is defined broadly to include any vehicle capable of being used or operated in or on water, which would included seaplanes.

Consider amending local AIS to require BMPs for seaplane operations.

None found.

Consider adopting a local AIS law similar to those of Tompkins and Cayuga counties.

It is unlawful for any person to launch, haul, or attempt to enter or exit a watercraft from a water body with any plant or animal material visible to the eye in or attached to the watercraft. (Section 119-4). Watercraft is defined broadly to include any vehicle capable of being used or operated in or on water, which would included seaplanes.

Consider amending local AIS to require BMPs for seaplane operations.

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PATHWAY - WATER
SUB-PATHWAY
JURISDICTION
RESPONSIBLE CITY/COUNTY DEPT.
STATE LAW/REGULATION
LOCAL AUTHORITY
RECOMMENDATION FOR LOCAL ACTION

General AIS Prevention

Cayuga County

Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Environmental Management Council

Pursuant to Title 17 Enviromental Conservation Law 9-1705(5)(g), New York State formed and funded Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) to address invasive species.  There are eight in total, including Finger Lakes PRISM. PRISMs are responsible for various tasks such as planning regional AIS management activties, implement prevention programs, conduct surveillance and mapping of IS, and others. Finger Lakes PRISM covers Seneca, Cayuga and Tompkins county and is recognized as the primary organization for Invasive Species detection, prevention, control and education within the Finger Lakes. The Watercraft Steward Program of the Finger Lakes Institute has been providing outreach and education to the public boating community of the Finger Lakes Region since 2012.

Cayuga County Water Quality Management Agency (WQMA) was created in 1990 to advice Cayuga County Legislature on matters related to water resource management and planning. The WQMA has a "Invasive Species Working Group" to address AIS that negatively imapct the county and its watersheds.

Actively engage and support efforts of the Fingers Lake PRISM.

None found.

Consider creating a board or committee to advise the county on local environmental issues. Actively engage and support efforts of the Fingers Lake PRISM.

The Environmental Management Council is the County's official citizen advisory board on local environmental issues. The primary purpose of the EMC is to advise the County Legislature on environmental quality matters. The EMC maintains an invasive plant list.

Actively engage and support efforts of the Fingers Lake PRISM.

Hull/surface Fouling

Counties and Towns

Unknown

Only individuals certified by the NYDEC as an "aquatic antifouling paint applicator" may engage in the commercial application of aquatic antifouling paint. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 33-0921). Aquatic antifouling paint applicator businesses must register with the state. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 33-0922).

Consider adopting local law that reinforces and strengthens state requirements regarding use of antifouling paint and requires BMPs at marinas.

None found.

Stowaways

Cayuga County

Planning and Economic Development

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

NYDEC regulations prohibit the possession, transport, importation, sale, purchase, and introduction of listed prohibited invasive species. (6 CRR-NY 575). No person shall buy, sell, or offer to buy or sell, or intentionally possess or transport zebra mussels except under a license or permit. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-0507). New York State law requires watercraft operators to take "reasonable precautions," such as removal of any visible plant or animal matter, washing, draining or drying, before launching watercraft or floating docks. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 9-1710) These statewide regulations apply to both private and public launches on public waterbodies within the state. Additional details regarding what constitutes "reasonable precautions" is set forth in DEC regulations at 6 N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 576.3. Local authority to act with respect to AIS prevention is preserved (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 576.1). AIS spread prevention practices are also required when launching and retrieving watercraft at DEC boat launches and fishing sites. (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, §§ 59.4 & 190.24). 

Pursuant to Local Law No. 6 (2013) to prevent the spread of AIS It is unlawful for any person to launch, haul, or attempt to enter or exit a watercraft from a water body with any plant or animal material visible to the eye in or attached to the watercraft. It is also unlawful to enter the County, or transport within the County, watercraft without first removing by hand any and all plant or animal, or parts thereof, visible to the human eye in, on, or attached to any part of the watercraft.  

Coordinate and provide support to the Watercraft Steward Program to increase outreach and improve compliance with local law.

None found.

Consider adopting a local AIS law similar to Cayuga and Tompkins Counties.

Under County Code Section 119-4, it is unlawful for any person to launch, haul, or attempt to enter or exit a watercraft from a water body with any plant or animal material visible to the eye in or attached to the watercraft. It is also unlawful to enter the County, or transport within the County, watercraft without first removing by hand any and all plant or animal, or parts thereof, visible to the human eye in, on, or attached to any part of the watercraft.  

Coordinate and provide support to the Watercraft Steward Program to increase outreach and improve compliance with local law.

Anglers

Cayuga County

Parks and Trails

Sportfishing regulations are codified in Title 6, Part 1 of the N.Y. Administrative Code. The NYDEC has adopted regulations setting forth additional special fishing regulations for certain inland waters, including Cayuga Lake (See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 10.3).

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

Town of Lansing

Parks and Recreation

Town of Aurora

Recreation Department

Local Law No. 1 of 2007 (Regulations for Control of Activities and Uses by the Public at Parks) states that fishing is allowed per NY state regulations in all areas of county parks, except designated swimming areas, boat slip areas, and other areas posted as no fishing areas. (Section 12(k)).

Consider amending park regulations to require angler BMPs to prevent the spread of AIS through fishing activities.

None found.

Consider adopting local law addressing AIS risks from fishing.

None found.

Consider adopting local law addressing AIS risks from fishing.

Fishing is prohibited in authorized swimming areas and in the marina. (Section 190-39). Each person who fishes in any Town park is required to obey all local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Must remove all fishing line fragments, lures, flies, and hooks from land and waters when the same have broken off or become disconnected from any rod, reel, hand line, tippet, or other device used for the capture of fish. The use of traps to catch fish, animals, frogs, or crustaceans in Town parks is prohibited. Fishingis permitted in Myers, Salt Point, and Ludlowville Parks. (Sections 190-49 to -51). 

Consider amending park regulations to require angler BMPs to prevent the spread of AIS through fishing activities.

Fishing is prohibited within park boundaries where posted, except that in Hubbard Road Park and JP Nicely West Falls Park, it is permitted to fish in season (Section 84-1(g)).

Consider amending park regulations to require angler BMPs to prevent the spread of AIS through fishing activities.

Fish escapees/releases

Cayuga County

Planning and Economic Development

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

Fish or fish eggs may not be placed into state waters without a permit. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-0507). No person may intentionally liberate zebra musels into waters of the state. without a licenses or permit. NYDEC regulations prohibit liberating to state waters any of the specific non-native fish species listed that present a danger to the health and welfare of indigenous fish populations. (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 180-9). A  fishing stock permit is required to release certified disease-free fish into freshwaters and no fish can be placed into waters unless a  fish health certification report has been provided. (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 6, § 188.1). Personal use of baitfish is permitted provided the baitfish regulations are followed. 

Pursuant to Local Law No. 6 (2013) to prevent the spread of AIS, it is unlawful to introduce, throw, dump, deposit, place, allow or cause to be propagated, transplanted, introduced, thrown, dumped, deposited or placed in any water body, in whatever capacity and for whatever purpose, an aquatic invasive species.

None.

None found.

Consider adopting a local AIS law similar to Tompkins and Cayuga counties.

Under County Code Section 119-4, it is unlawful to introduce, throw, dump, deposit, place, allow or cause to be propagated, transplanted, introduced, thrown, dumped, deposited or placed in any water body, in whatever capacity and for whatever purpose, an aquatic invasive species.

None.

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SUB-PATHWAY
PATHWAY - LAND
JURISDICTION
RESPONSIBLE CITY/COUNTY DEPT.
STATE LAW/REGULATION
LOCAL AUTHORITY
RECOMMENDATION FOR LOCAL ACTION

Cars, buses, trucks, ATVs, recreational boat trailers

Cayuga County

Planning and Economic Development

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

Town of Lansing

Parks and Recreation

City of Ithaca

Public Works

NYDEC regulations prohibit the possession, transport, importation, sale, purchase, and introduction of listed prohibited invasive species. (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 575). It is unlawful to buy, sell, or offer to buy or sell, or intentionally possess or transport zebra mussels except under a license or permit issued by the state. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-0507).

None found.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from vehicles and other land-based modes of transportation.

None found.

Consider adopting an local AIS law that addresses risks from vehicles and other land-based modes of transportation.

Chapter 162 of the County Code is titled "Vehicles and Traffic" but provisions contained therein only address airport parking and general parking regulations.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from vehicles and other land-based modes of transportation.

Provisions of the Town Code prohibit the use of an ATV within any park unless upon a park road where such device is registered for lawful use on public highways or purusant to a permit (Section 190-44); requires permit to launch, moor, or tie any boat to or from any park lands except in properly designated areas and unless the town grants a permit (Section 190-1); and prohibit the storage of boat trailers in the park. (Section 190-6).

Consider adding provisions to Town code to address AIS risk from vehicles.

Section 331-6 of the City Code prohibits any truck or other motor vehicle or trailer or mode of conveyance to operate or load in such a manner that any part of its load -- benign sand, gravel, dirt, trash, or other material be dropped, blown, or fall into public street, highway or place within the City. It is unlawful for any person to  launch, moor, or tie any boat in the parklands except in designated areas. (Section 336-5).

Consider adding provisions to Town code to address AIS risk from vehicles.

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PATHWAY - NON-FOOD
SUB-PATHWAY
JURISDICTION
RESPONSIBLE CITY/COUNTY DEPT.
STATE LAW/REGULATION
LOCAL AUTHORITY
RECOMMENDATION FOR LOCAL ACTION

BAIT

Cayuga County

Planning and Economic Development

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

Planning and Sustainability Department

Although state regulations generally prohibit the use of fish as bait for angling in inland waters (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 19.3), certain species are allowed in designated areas including landlocked alewife and Rainbow smelt in Cayuga Lake.  (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 6, § 19.2). No person shall possess any species of fish either dead or alive, in or on waters where the use of fish as bait is prohibited, except species actually present in such waters naturally or by stocking or as permitted by the NYDEC by order. (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-1316).

None found.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from the use of live bait.

None found.

Consider adopting local law addressing AIS risks from the use of live bait.

None found.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from the use of live bait.

Pet/Aquarium

Cayuga County

Cayuga County Sheriff

Senaca County

Unknown

Tompkins County

County Clerk

Seneca Falls

Town Clerk

City of Ithaca

City Clerk

The importation, possession and sale of fish without license or permit is prohibited (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-1703). No permit is required to place fish or fish eggs in an aquarium (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law § 11-0507). A fish health certification report shall not be required for fish placed into an aquarium or possessed for purposes of placing such fish into an aquarium. (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 6, § 188.2). The state may issue permits to individuals to collect or possess fish, wildlife, shellfish, crustacea, or aquatic insects for proppagation, banding, scientific, or exhibition purposes (N.Y. Env’t Conserv. Law §  11-0515). No person shall operate as a pet dealer unless such person holds a license issued by the state (N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 403). Pet dealers may be pet stores, pet brokers, breeders, and non-incorporated rescues. Scope of these provisions applies to care of animals, which is limited by definition to cats and dogs. 

None found.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from pet and aquarium sales.

None found.

Consider adopting a local law to address AIS risks from pet and aquarium sales.

It is unlawful for any person to act as a "hawker, peddler or solicitor or to conduct a transient business" without a license from the County. (Section 127-2). This licensing requirement does not apply to merchants with an established place of business within the county or to farmers or truck gardners selling products of their own farms.

Consider expanding local AIS law to address risks from pet and aquarium sales.

A permit is required to act as a hawker, peddler or solicitor. (Section 213-10). Section 213-9(a) exempts the peddling of "meats, fish, fruit and farm produce by farmers and persons who produce such commodities" from the licensing requirement.

Consider requiring a license for pet/aquarium stores to reinforce state prohibited species laws and provide an avenue for outreach.

The City has licensing requirements for the following businesses: auctions, junk and secondhand dealers, pawnbrokers, peddling and soliciting, taxicabs, and transient merchants. (Chapter 232). Section 232-41 exempts the peddling of "meats, fish, fruit and farm produce by farmers and persons who produce such commodities" from the licensing requirement.

Consider requiring a license for pet/aquarium stores to reinforce state prohibited species laws and provide an avenue for outreach.