Central New Yorkers picnicked, walked, played and cheered along the shoreline on Saturday, July 16, as a summer rowing tradition returned to Onondaga Lake. Honeywell is one of the parties responsible for the cleanup of Onondaga Lake pursuant to an agreement with New York State regulators.
“The lake is back. The lake is coming back faster than anyone predicted,” said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. “It’s a story of renewal and rebirth and an optimism about that rebirth that nobody expected.”
“Learning to row has given me a wonderful opportunity to experience Onondaga Lake,” said Joseph Torrillo, a first-time rower who participated in the corporate rowing competition organized by the Chargers Rowing Club. “It is encouraging to see the changes happening at Onondaga Lake.”
The Onondaga Cup and Lakefest included rowing, kayak and paddleboard competitions. The morning kicked off with a canoe race between New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s team and the Central New York team with Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, among others. The festival also featured local artisans, live music, food, a 61-foot-tall rubber duck, a mermaid swim and a kids’ zone with face painting and inflatables.
On the shores of Onondaga Lake and along the lake’s tributaries, Honeywell is improving 87 acres of wetlands and planting about 1.1 million plants, shrubs and trees. To date, more than 50 acres of wetlands have been created or enhanced. More than 170 species of fish, birds and other wildlife have already returned to restored habitat near the lake. Dredging was completed in 2014, a year ahead of schedule. Capping will be completed this year with shoreline plantings and habitat restoration continuing in spring 2017.