Thanksgiving Report

From the desk of our Chairman, Peter Lent

November 30, 2020

Thanksgiving Update  and a Request for a Donation

Hello everyone.

I thought around Thanksgiving would be a good time to give you an update on the activities we have been involved in this year and our future plans. Considering the concerns with the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, Inc. (OCWC) has adapted and has been able to stay active this year. Beginning with our April meeting we switched to using Zoom conference calls, because we could not use our regular meeting place at the Woodward Memorial Library in the Village of Leroy.

One of our most important activities will continue to be developing collaborative activities with the local communities in the Oatka Creek watershed. These activities would implement and promote the management practices, approaches and strategies for watershed protection and restoration, as described in the Oatka Creek Watershed Management Plan (WMP) that was completed in 2015. Prior to the influence of Covid-19, Committee Board members made presentations to introduce the WMP to the Village of Scottsville and the Town Wheatland in 2019 and to the Village of LeRoy in January of this year. With the effects of Covid-19, our pace has slowed, but we are planning for a Town of Pavilion presentation in December and then one for the Village of Caledonia. Once we complete the initial presentations for communities in Genesee & Livingston Counties, we plan to move on to the Wyoming Co. municipal presentations. We also plan to reengage and finalize the collaboration agreement, at the County level, with Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, and Wyoming counties.

We feel we have already benefitted from the initial presentations. We have partnered with the Village of LeRoy and the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) for improvements to be made on the west bank of Oatka Creek as it flows past the Village’s Mill Street Park. SWCD has prepared a planting plan for the streambank and will be looking for a funding source for the project and the Village has agreed to provide funding, as well.  OCWC will be looking for volunteers to help SWCD and Village staff with planting. We will send out notice of the event through the mailing list and on our Facebook page.

Earlier this year, the Monroe Co. SWCD contacted OCWC requesting help with planting surplus trees that needed a home. On short notice, OCWC sent out a request for volunteers to help plant trees at two locations on consecutive Saturdays in June. The weather cooperated and the volunteers responded, as well. With the help of 30 volunteers, we were able to plant 300 trees to supplement our previous plantings along the trout fishing trail in Monroe County’s Oatka Creek Park. The next Saturday we were joined by 40 volunteers to plant 250 trees along Oatka Creek in the Town of Wheatland’s undeveloped Indian Allen Park.  Both planting events were undertaken using Covid-19 protocols. All attendees were required to have a mask or appropriate face covering and to wear it at all times when the appropriate social distancing was unlikely to be possible. Town of Wheatland contacts, which were developed after our initial presentation to the Town, facilitated the undertaking of the plantings at Indian Allen Park. The Town of Wheatland Highway Department was actively involved with mowing fields to provide for volunteer parking and to provide pathways and cleared areas for planting, as well as then joining in with planting activities. Additional partnerships with the Town to undertake additional riparian corridor improvements along Oatka Creek in the Park have been discussed recently.

As a non-profit 501c3 organization with no paid staff, but with a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, we are extremely thankful to those volunteers that have made it possible for us to make positive improvements to the water quality of Oatka Creek and its adjacent vegetated buffer areas (riparian areas). However, there is much more to do.

Since 2015, we have planted trees along Oatka Creek from its headwaters north of the Village of Warsaw to Indian Allen Park, located within a half mile from the confluence of Oatka Creek and the Genesee River. After trees are planted, the planting areas are monitored and maintained. One of our volunteers has spent countless hours of dedication to improving the largest planting area we have in Oatka Creek Park. In addition to nurturing the trees we originally planted he has worked at planting additional kinds of trees that will flourish in the riparian environment next to streams and provide a more diverse tree canopy.

Although we look for grants to support planting projects, they do not usually include funds for on-going monitoring, maintenance supplies or special purchasing of additional tree varieties after the initial funded project has been completed.

Considering our current and upcoming activities and circumstances, I am requesting that you consider making a donation to the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, Inc. on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 “Giving Tuesday”.  Donations can be made via PayPal on our Website’s Home Page at http://www.oatka.org or by by sending the donation to our mailing address:

 Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, Inc.

P.O.181

Scottsville NY 14546-0181

Thank You for your help and assistance,

Peter Lent

Chair, Oatka Creek Watershed Committee

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#BYOBagNY

New York State’s ban on single use plastic bags that went into effect in March, will begin to be enforced starting on October 19, 2020. Be sure to be prepared for shopping with your own resusable bags! For more information see NYDEC’s website: Bag Waste Reduction Law

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More Tree Planting!

NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Indian Allen Park

Town of Wheatland

The Oatka Creek Watershed Committee has been asked by the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District to plant 500 trees within the next 3 weeks in areas where ash trees have been decimated by Emerald Ash Borer. We are planting the trees in two locations next to Oatka Creek. On May 30, 2020, we planted 300 trees along Oatka Creek in Monroe County’s Oatka Creek Park. Event # 2 is scheduled for June 6 at Town of Wheatland’s Indian Allen Park where we will plant the remaining 200 plants.

WHERE: Indian Allen Park (See the aerial photo below for reference), near Canawaugus Park in Village of Scottsville.

DATE: Saturday June 6, 2020 (Rain Date June 13, 2020)

TIME: 8:30AM to 12:00 Noon

TOOLS TO BRING: Digging tools (Shovel, spade or planting bars), Pick axes, Mattock tools, and empty 5 gallon buckets w/handles

WHAT TO WEAR: Long sleeves and pants highly recommended, waterproof boots, work gloves & a mask or face covering (See Special Note below). If you don’t have a mask we can provide one.

OTHER SUPPLIES: Insect repellent, sunscreen, water & lunch

Label your gear for easy identification!

PARKING: Drive through Canawaugus Park parking lot and cross the Greenway and continue down to the access road into Indian Allen Park. The gate should be unlocked. Go down the access road until you see where other vehicles are parked. We will park along the margins of the access road. (See the aerial photo below for reference)

Follow the red line from left to right to see how to get to parking area
  • Volunteers need no prior experience. We will provide instruction on planting techniques.
  • The planting area will be divided into sections, with each section having an experienced volunteer to provide guidance.

SPECIAL NOTE: These events will meet CDC guidelines and NYS Pause requirements for risk mitigation of Covid-19. As an outdoor activity within an undeveloped area of a park, tree planting provides sufficient space for maintaining the necessary social distance to meet the guidelines.

Trees will be planted at least 20 feet from each other. Each tree will be planted by a single volunteer, or members of a cohabitating family group. All participants are required to have with them face masks/face coverings.

When should you wear your mask?

  • While in the parking area
  • If you will be 10 ft. (approx. 4 steps) or closer to another person

If you are interested in helping at the planting event or have questions, please contact Peter Lent lent@frontiernet.net

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Thank You Oatka Creek Park Planting Volunteers!

Pete with trees and buckets

We had great weather this morning and a wonderful, efficient bunch of volunteers to replant areas near the fish habitat project in Oatka Creek Park in Scottsville.

Over 25 people spent the morning in the sunshine digging and planting. People from Penfield, Cal-Mum friends, members from Trout Unlimited, Genesee River Watch & The Boy Scouts, students as well as adults, all turned out to make this conservation project an enjoyable time! A big THANK YOU!!!

Thanks to all our volunteers, and to the excellent prep work & planning done by Pete, Maureen & Steve, the event went so smoothly we planted all the trees well before noon!

We also couldn’t have done this project without support from:

  • Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District – especially Matthew Gallow, Conservation Program Specialist for the SWCD, who offered us the trees and helped coordinate permissions & tree delivery
  • Steve Brew, Monroe County Legislator LD-12, a great supporter of the work of the OCWC, who contacted Monroe County Parks Department on our behalf to get this project rolling!
  • Monroe County Parks Department, who gave us permission to work in the park and stored the trees for us

We’ll be looking for help again next Saturday for more planting fun!

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Tree Planting Volunteers Needed

NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

MAY 30 and JUNE 6, 2020

We need to plant 500 trees soon and could use help! The Oatka Creek Watershed Committee has been asked by the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District to plant 500 trees within the next 4 weeks. We plan to plant the trees in two locations next to Oatka Creek.

1st EVENT:

WHERE: Oatka Creek Park

DATE: Saturday, MAY 30, 2020 (RAIN DATE is Saturday JUNE 6)

TIME: 8:30 AM to 12:00 Noon

TOOLS TO BRING: Digging tools (Shovel, spade or planting bars), Pick axes, Mattock tools, empty 5 gallon buckets w/handles 

WHAT TO WEAR: Long sleeves and pants highly recommended, waterproof boots, work gloves & a mask or face covering (See Special Note Below)

OTHER SUPPLIES:  Insect repellent, sunscreen, water & lunch

Label your gear for easy identification!

We will meet at the Fishermen’s Access Point Parking Area, on the north side of Oatka Creek. Coming south on Union Street from the intersection of Union Street and Scottsville-Mumford Rd. (NYS Rte. 383) , the entrance to parking area is on the right side of Union Street between the railroad crossing and the bridge over  Oatka Creek.

2nd EVENT:

WHERE: Town of Wheatland

DATE: Saturday, June 6, 2020 OR Saturday, June 13 (RAIN DATE is Saturday, June 20).

More details on this second event will be provided at a later date

  • Volunteers need no prior experience. We will provide instruction on planting techniques.
  • The planting area will be divided into sections, with each section having an experienced volunteer to provide guidance.  

SPECIAL NOTE: These events will meet CDC guidelines and NYS Pause requirements for risk mitigation of Covid-19.  As an outdoor activity within an undeveloped area of a park, tree planting provides sufficient space for maintaining the necessary social distance to meet the guidelines.

Trees will be planted at least 20 feet from each other. Each tree will be planted by a single volunteer, or members of a cohabitating family group. All participants are required to have with them face masks/face coverings.

When should you wear your mask?:

  • While in the parking area
  • While walking along the main path that parallels Oatka Creek and if you are within 10 feet of the path
  • If you want to speak to someone and will need to be closer than 10 ft. of each other. Make sure before you come within the 10 feet to talk, you allow time for each of you to get your masks/face coverings on!

If you are interested in helping on either or both planting events or have questions, please contact Peter Lent lent@frontiernet.net

Planting Guides

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OCWC Zoom Meeting May 18

Our next Oatka Creek Watershed Committee will be Monday evening, May 18, via Zoom conferencing software (it worked out pretty well for us in April!). All interested folks can attend! All you need is a smart phone or computer, and a download of Zoom software/app. If you are interested in participating, contact Pete for meeting information!

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Permits Required under Clean Water Act Includes “functional equivalent” of Direct Discharge

In a 6 -3 decision, the Court ruled that discharge that moves through ground water requires a permit. See this article for a summary.

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Meeting Changes

In support of New York State’s health guidelines on COVID-19, The OCWC will be holding our monthly meetings on-line using Zoom conferencing software. The meetings are still open to the public.

Anyone who wishes to participate should download the free Zoom software/app and contact Pete at: lent@frontiernet.net so he can send you an invitation to participate.

We hope this works out for everyone!

Stay safe & healthy!

Please check our Facebook page for the latest information.

Our tentative 2020 Schedule is:

January 27, 2020

February 24, 2020

March 16, 2020 cancelled

April 20, 2020

May 18, 2020

June 15, 2020

July 20, 2020

August 17, 2020

September 21, 2020

October 19, 2020

November 16, 2020

December 21, 2020

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Saturday September 21 Marking Event is ON!!

Yes! Tomorrow, September 21, we will be marking storm drains in the Village of LeRoy.

Meeting place is the parking lot off Trigon Park, behind the United Methodist Church at about 8:30 AM. All supplies are provided. We will work until about noon. See recent posts for more detail.

Hope you can join in!

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Fish Habitat Project in Oatka Creek Park

Here are some pictures Chairman Pete sent along of the joint trout habitat project. Participating in this effort are Seth Green Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Monroe County Parks, NYDEC and US Fish & Wildlife. OCWC has been helping by planting trees in the area. You can find more information (and pictures) of the project our (and Seth Green TU’s) Facebook pages at : https://www.facebook.com/OatkaCreekWatershedCommittee/ and https://www.facebook.com/SethGreenChapterofTroutUnlimited/

Stream bank -in August
Placing root balls
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