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Skaneateles Lake Skaneateles Lake

Skaneateles LakeSize and Location: Skaneateles Lake is one of the 11 Finger Lakes and is located in Central New York State.  The lake is 16 miles long, averages three-quarters of a mile wide, and reaches a maximum depth of 300 feet.

Why is it important to protect Skaneateles Lake?

  • The city of Syracuse, the villages of  Skaneateles, Elbridge, Jordan and other municipalities in Onondaga County use the lake as their drinking water supply. 
  • Recreational, residential, agricultural and commercial development around the lake.
  • The area provides a valuable habitat for wildlife.


Skaneateles Lake:  Picture courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension

How is EPA involved?

EPA provides funding and technical support for the study and management of Skaneateles Lake.  The lake was identified as a line item in EPA's 1995 budget for restoration activities.  Since 1996, funding has been included in EPA's budget for "continuing work on the water quality management plan for watersheds," including Skaneateles Lake.

What are the Major Environmental Issues Facing the Lake?

The lake is affected by nonpoint source pollution from agriculture (pesticide and fertilizer use, manure production, and sedimentation resulting from poor tillage practices), residential land use (septic systems, lawncare, and construction), and streambank erosion.   Contaminants from these sources include: sediment, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), pesticides, bacteria (total and fecal coliform), viruses, and protozoa (Giardia and Cryptosporidium).  The lake is considered to be oligotrophic, meaning it is nutrient poor and has low levels of phosphorus.


Who are the Stakeholders?

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency City of SyracuseExit EPA disclaimer Town of SkaneatelesExit EPA disclaimer Village of Skaneateles Town of SpaffordExit EPA disclaimer Town of ScottExit EPA disclaimer Town of SemproniuExit EPA disclaimer Town of Niles Exit EPA disclaimer Town of OwascoExit EPA disclaimer Town of MarcellusExit EPA disclaimer Cayuga County Health Dept.Exit EPA disclaimer Cortland County Health Dept. Exit EPA disclaimer New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Exit EPA disclaimer Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District

Other Links of Interest:

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Web site


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