Cayuga Lake - Finger Lakes, NY

NY

Cayuga Lake - Finger Lakes, NY

Aire aquatiqueHabitat remarquableSources d'eau PotableSite de Canoë/KayakMarinaObs. d'oiseau/de vie sauvageZone de MigrationPoint de Vue

Vue d'ensemble

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Cayuga Lake is the longest of central New York's glacial Finger Lakes, and is the second largest in surface area (marginally smaller than Seneca Lake) and second largest in volume. It is just under 40 miles (64 km) long. Its average width is 1.7 miles (2.7 km), and it is 3.5 mi wide (5.6 km) at its widest point near Aurora. It is approximately 435 ft deep (133 m) at its deepest point.
Length: 61.4 km (38.2 mi)
Average width: 2.8 km (1.7 mi)
Maximum depth: 132 m (433 ft)
Surface area: 172 km2 (66 sq mi)
Mean depth: 54.5 m (179 ft)
Catchment area: 2,033 km² (37.1% natural forest, 58% active agricultural)
Main islands: 1, Frontenac
Main outflows: 1
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. The north end is dominated by shallow mudflats. An important stopover for migratory birds, the mudflats and marsh are the location of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The southern end is also shallow and often freezes during the winter.
The fish population is managed and substantial sport fishing is practiced, including smelt, lake trout and smallmouth bass fishing.

Cayuga lake is included in the American Viticultural Area with which it shares its name. Established in 1988 the AVA now boasts over a dozen wineries, four distilleries, a cidery, and a meadery.

Cayuga Lake is very popular among recreational boaters. A large state marina and boat launch is located at the southern end of the lake in Ithaca (Allan H. Treman State Marine Park, the largest inland marina in New York). There are two yacht clubs on the western shore: Ithaca Yacht Club a few miles north of Ithaca, and Red Jacket Yacht Club just south of Canoga. There are several other marinas and boat launches scattered along the lake shore.
Cayuga Lake is the source of drinking water for several communities, including Lansing near the southern end of the lake along the east side, which draws water through the Bolton Point Municipal Water system. There are also several lake source cooling systems that are in operation on the lake, whereby cooler water is pumped from the depths of the lake, warmed, and circulated in a closed system back to the surface. One of these systems, which is operated by Cornell University and began operation in 2000, was controversial during the planning and building states for potential negative environmental impact. All the environmental impact reports and scientific studies have shown that the Cornell lake source cooling system has not yet had and will not likely have any measurably significant environmental impact. Furthermore, Cornell's system pumps significantly less warm water back into the lake than others further north which have been operating for decades, including the coal-fired power plant on the eastern shore.
The AES Cayuga electrical generating station operates in the Town of Lansing, on the east shore of Cayuga Lake. This coal-fired plant uses Cayuga Lake as a cooling source. In the late 1960s, citizens successfully opposed the construction of an 830-MW nuclear power plant on the shore of Cayuga Lake.
The lake is the subject of local folklore; a tradition at Wells College in Aurora holds that if the lake completely freezes over, classes are canceled (though for only one day). According to Wells College records, this last happened in 1979. However, other sources suggest that the only time the entire lake froze over in the 20th century was in 1912.
Cayuga Lake, like nearby Seneca Lake, is also the site of a phenomenon known as the Guns of the Seneca, mysterious cannon-like booms heard in the surrounding area. Many of these booms may be attributable to bird-scarers, automated cannon-like devices used by farmers to scare birds away from the many vineyards, orchards and crops. There is however no proof of this.

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