Oneida Lake: Long-term Dynamics of a Managed Ecosystem and Its Fishery

Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Oneida Lake Research Program and Data Sets

Lars G. Rudstam, Edward L. Mills, James R. Jackson, and Donald J. Stewart

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874431.ch1

Oneida Lake, named after one of the Nations of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois League) that used the lake and its resources, is the largest lake within the borders of New York State. There are larger lakes in New York State, but they are shared with other states or Canada (Lakes Erie, Ontario and Champlain). Oneida Lake is 207 km2, shallow (max depth 16.8 m, mean depth 6.8 m) and generally considered eutrophic, although this has changed in recent decades. The lake is more appropriately classified as mesotrophic since the early 1990s. Sport fishing is vital to the local economy, and the number of anglers using the lake is second only to Lake Ontario for the most fishing trips to any water body in New York State (Connelly and Brown 2009). The lake is also heavily used for other water-oriented recreation, from snowmobiling on the winter ice to boating, sailing, and jet skiing in the summer. The many beaches, including Verona and Sylvan Beach on the eastern end of the lake and Oneida Shores at the west end, attract thousands of bathers in the summer. Citizens around the lake have a long history of active involvement in the conservation of the lake and its watershed. A lake association, the Oneida Lake Association, was organized in 1945 and actively works to preserve and restore the natural resources of Oneida Lake and its environs, with a particular emphasis on its Walleye (Sander vitreus) fishery.