The Oatka Creek Watershed is located in Western New York State in parts of Wyoming, Genesee, Livingston and Monroe Counties. This watershed encompasses approximately 215 square miles (557 km2) of land that drain into the Oatka Creek, a stream that is the third largest tributary to the Genesee River in the lower portion of its basin.
23 towns and villages are either wholly or partitially contained within the watershed boundaries, and the area has been notable for its agriculture and dairy production since the 19th century. Though there is some light industry and mining, much of the watershed is still rural and agricultural in nature, with population clusters in and near villages.
The area’s northern terrain tends to be fairly flat, with gently rolling hills becoming evident as one travels south into Wyoming County. Soils tend to be well drained, fertile and highly productive. The bedrock geology is complex and variable. From the southern part of the watershed in Wyoming County to LeRoy the bedrock consists primarily of shales and limestone. In the Town of LeRoy, the Onondaga escarpment cuts east to west through the watershed. North of this limestone formation, dolomite, gypsum and some shales are prevalent.
Wetlands are small and fragmented with the majority located in the Town of Pavilion. The largest wetland is located along the Oatka Creek in the towns of Middlebury and Covington.
This watershed is also home to a multitude of wildlife and unique ecological communities such as the Genesee Country Museum’s vernal pond. New York Natural Heritage Program has identified the area as being host to plants that are rare, threatened and endangered as well as significant animal communities.
For a more detailed analysis of the Oatka Watershed see The State of the Basin Report, or the Oatka Creek Characterization Report.
Click here for a map of the Oatka Watershed