Song Lake Action Plan

Song Lake has gone through many changes over the years. Some are easy to see, others are less apparent. In 2018 two issues became obvious: sudden and abundant plant growth and the profusion of invasive zebra mussels. These two issues are linked. As the water became clearer through the filtering action of the zebra mussels, the plants began growing at depths not possible in the past. The unprecedented exposure to sunlight at the lower, soft soil depths caused the plants to grow at a rapid rate. During the night, they released themselves from the soil (gasses created bubbles at the root), and the entire plant floated to the surface. We experienced entire masses of floating plants all around the lake. As the zebra mussels continue to multiply by the millions (trillions), this will likely reoccur.  Less obvious were the changes in water temperature and the other ecological changes due to the presence of zebra mussels. However, our CSLAP data show dramatic increases in temperature at the lower depths along with decreasing dissolved oxygen. Without cool temperatures and oxygen, our fish populations may be at risk.

To address watershed issues, both near and long term, we developed a plan that has many prongs, dividing them into those that we must address with immediate action, those that need NYS DEC permitting, and considerations for longer term water shed management planning.

Immediate action items

*     Weed removal – We will work again next year to rake and remove floating plants.  Truxton orchard will take our crop as they did last summer. Carl Grillo will be the contact person.

*     Weed Harvesting - SLPOA is coordinating with our Soil & Water District to restart weed harvesting.

Actions Needing a NYS DEC Permit

*     Benthic mats at swimming areas- Action timed for spring 2019

*     Reintroduce Grass Carp - Action for spring release 2019

Longer Term Watershed Management Planning

These are being examined as part of a watershed management plan being developed for spring, 2019

*     Chemical and/or biological “remedies” 

*     Aeration for Oxygen Issues 

*     Floating Wetland Islands for internal loading of phosphorus   

Resident Choices and Best Practices

*     Create shorescapes and shoreline buffers to reduce stormwater nutrients and other pollutants

*     Keep boats in deeper water to limit resuspension of sediments into the water column and erosion along the shoreline.

Pumping (every 3 years) and proper maintenance of septic systems. SLPOA will continue the septic system incentive program.


*     Coordination with Cortland County Soil & Water for shoreline buffers and shorescaping.

*     Continue to work with the experts as we monitor the changes occurring in the lake.

*     Toxic Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring.

We work with many experts including close contact with the DEC Lakes Monitoring Program, professionals within NYSFOLA, and experts within our local universities including SUNY-ESF and SUNY Oneonta. We have more expertise available to us than most lakes and we make use of all these resources.


Our Song Lake