Cleaning Up Onondaga Lake

Onondaga Lake is one of the most polluted lakes in the United States; however, it is not damaged to a point beyond repair. A comprehensive cleanup and restoration program is underway, and significant progress in lake restoration has been made. Many planned restoration projects have already been completed, and more are underway. Water quality has improved substantially since restoration efforts began.

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Management Plan & Amended Consent Judgment

The Onondaga Lake Management Plan is a comprehensive restoration, conservation and management plan for Onondaga Lake. Along with the Amended Consent Judgment (ACJ), a court-mandated agreement, the Plan guides the Onondaga Lake restoration effort. The Onondaga Lake Partnershipcoordinates development and implementation of improvement projects in accordance with the Plan and the ACJ to restore, conserve and manage the lake.

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Goals

Cleanup goals for Onondaga Lake address eight important pollution problems that are the focus of the cleanup effort described in this section.

Current Restoration Efforts

While many projects under the Plan and the ACJ have been completed, numerous projects are currently in progress. See What’s Being Done Now to learn more about current restoration activities.

Program History

While the restoration of Onondaga Lake began in the 1970s (see Addressing the Problem), projects under the Onondaga Lake Management Plan and the ACJ began in the 1990s. What Has Been Done So Far describes restoration efforts and specific projects completed under the Plan and ACJ to date.

Future Restoration Efforts

Future restoration activities are intended to result in compliance with environmental law and attainment of the Lake’s designated uses. See Future Plans to learn more about planned restoration activities and proposed projects.

Progress to Date

Onondaga Lake restoration projects are achieving significant results, and levels of several major pollutants in the lake have decreased substantially. More work needs to be done to achieve cleanup goals. See Current Status to learn about the effectiveness of the restoration program activities.

What You Can Do

Individuals can participate in the restoration of Onondaga Lake by learning more about the lake, participating in Partnership activities, and practicing sound environmental measures in their homes and businesses in the lake’s watershed.