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Aerial View of River
Kids Jumping into the Lake

The Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes

House by the Lake


Make a difference in the Owasco Lake Watershed today:
Join the Lake Friendly Living Coalition's Pledge Program

For more information on The Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes, The Pledge Program, the importance of The Pledge Program, and what you can do to help:

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What is The Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes?


The Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes represents nine of the eleven Finger Lakes, including Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca, Conesus, Honeoye, and Skaneateles Lakes. 

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Owasco Lake has increasingly experienced Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), in part due to nutrient additions that promote the growth of Cyanobacteria. HABs can reduce property values, inhibit recreational opportunities, and degrade water quality.

To advance pollution and nutrient reduction as well as water conservation in the Owasco Lake Watershed, The Owasco Lake Watershed Management Council has joined a Finger Lakes regional effort to bring together property owners to preserve and protect their watersheds with a collective voice through the 'Lake Friendly Living' Pledge Program.

Join the 'Lake Friendly Living' Pledge Program to advance a variety of land and water stewardship practices in the Owasco Lake Watershed. This pledge opportunity aligns with 'Lake Friendly Living' Pledges taken throughout the Finger Lakes Region.

What is the 'Lake Friendly Living' Pledge Program, and why should I join?

Being 'lake-friendly' means making active choices that prioritize the health of the lake. Our choices can affect the water quality of Owasco Lake, and therefore, incorporating 'Lake Friendly Living' practices into your home activities can reduce your impact on the lake.

Reducing the use of fertilizers and chemicals on your property can help minimize excess nutrients and pollutants entering our waterways. Nutrients are a leading driver of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).  We instead recommend that watershed residents explore and start utilizing native grasses and gardens that prosper without the need for fertilizer and chemical additives. You can have a beautiful lawn while protecting Owasco Lake.

Many homeowners that have joined the Lake Friendly Living Coalition’s Pledge Program are incorporating 'Lake Friendly Living' practices to reduce their impacts on Owasco Lake, and are displaying a free 'Lake Friendly Living' lawn sign (below). These residents are pioneers in watershed management, and we would be proud to see you join the Pledge Program, and incorporate the use of Lake Friendly land care. 

Become a part of the solution today, and commit to refraining from the use of excessive lawn fertilizers and chemicals and to adopting land and water stewardship


Thank you for your pledge and for your time. This lawn sign will be delivered to those who reside within the watershed and take the pledge (and request a sign) to help grow this initiative throughout the Owasco Lake Watershed.

Lake Friendly Living Lawn Sign REVISION

The OLWMC promotes recognition of everyone who is making positives strides while working towards protecting our collective natural resources. The background colors and shapes of the lawn sign were developed by Kaitlyn Shanahan of the OLWIPD.  The Lake Friendly Living sign logo was shared by the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association in an effort to spread consistent signage and messaging throughout the Finger Lakes Region.  We would also like to thank the Owasco Watershed Lake Association (OWLA) for help with funding the initial production of signs for this pledge program.

If you are not within the Owasco Lake Watershed, and would like to access information about your specific watershed along with resources to join the Lake Friendly Living Coalition's Pledge Program, please click on the links or logos below to be directed to your watershed's initiatives for Lake Friendly Living:


Why is the Pledge Program so important?


Rain that falls on natural surfaces is infiltrated into the ground.


 Rain that falls on impermeable surfaces, such as roof tops and paved surfaces, cannot soak into the ground. Instead, it moves across these surfaces carrying sediment and pollutants with it into the lake.



Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are produced when cyanobacteria, photosynthetic organisms that live in freshwater, grow out of control due to an excess of nutrients entering the lake.


HABs produce toxic compounds that have harmful effects on the public and wildlife such as gastrointestinal illness and liver damage, both of which can be debilitating or fatal. 


HABs can be reduced by limiting the amount of nitrates and phosphates entering the Owasco Lake watershed.

Environmental Scientist


Every homeowner's lawn fertilizer within the Owasco Lake Watershed drains to the lake through runoff after rain events.​

When homeowners apply fertilizer, they are not only feeding their grass, but the algae and invasive weeds too. 

Muddy Stream

What can I do?



Educate Yourself

  • Learn about the issues plaguing the Owasco Lake Watershed

  • Attend the free and virtual Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week, from May 2nd to May 8th (more information below)


Minimize runoff

  • Reduce impermeable surfaces (cement, etc.)

  • Limit lawn size

  • Use water wisely


Eliminate pollutants

  • Use phosphorus-free fertilizer (it's NYS law!)

  • Maintain septic systems

  • Minimize erosion


Capture and infiltrate:

  • Plant a rain garden

  • Use native plants

  • Install a rain barrel

Join us for Lake Friendly Living Awareness Month

May, 2022

Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week offers free virtual education sessions and resources to all who live in the Finger Lakes Region. Experts will present throughout the month on topics that resonate with our goals. The educational events  are designed to inform and empower watershed residents to make changes that help protect the lakes.

We encourage you to participate in ALL live events and webinars that interest you.
All events are free and available to the public.

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Lake Friendly Living Pledge Program Endorsements

Click underlined text(s) below to view

Watershed Municipality Pledges

Pledge Outcomes

Our first responders- local leaders in land and water stewardship:

Julie Lockhart

Floyd Backes

Kathie McLaughlin

Patti Hess

Shared responses of those who joined The Pledge Program:

"I've always said that lawn fertilizers were harmful. We haven't used them for years."

"I love our lake!"

"I love Owasco Lake!!"

"I live on the lake and have seen it go downhill for years."

Additional Materials

Click underlined text(s) below to view

Did you know?

The OLWMC oversees the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection and Protection Division (OLWIPD)

  • The monthly inspection report summaries as well as contact and other program information can be found at the OLWIPD's website found here.

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