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Description of the Lake

Lake Oscawana is the largest of the three major lakes located in the Town of Putnam Valley. The other two lakes are Lake Peekskill and Roaring Brook Lake. Putnam Valley is known as the Town of Lakes. Not only does it contain these bodies of water but it also sits astride of the watersheds of the City of Peekskill and New York City. 

Lake Oscawana is 364 acres in size and approximately two miles long and ½ mile wide. It has a shoreline of about seven miles. Within the four tiers of access to the Lake by property owners, ranging from shorefront, to deeded access, to membership in an association with a beach etc., there are currently 854 property owners with about 214 houses situated within 250’ of the shoreline. The Lake tax district comprises approximately 15% of the Town’s total assessed valuation. 

The Lake is 40 feet deep and is home to a variety of fresh water fish, including bass, perch and pickerel. Many waterfowl also call the Lake home and numerous species find the Lake during their migrations. Songbirds ring its shores. Most recently an eagle’s nest was identified at the north end. Animals abound from deer, foxes, to hedgehogs, rabbits and chipmunks galore. There also was a recent moose sighting! The Lake is surrounded by woods with oak, maple, hickory and other deciduous trees and various kinds of conifers. A series of springs feed the north end of the Lake and at the south it runs out into the Peekskill Hollow Brook. There is a large wetlands area, Lost River, on the east side of the Lake. Lake Oscawana has a long and rich aqua history. In the early l900s there were regattas and swimming competitions and in later years boat races joined the roster of community events. 

Most of the property surrounding the Lake is owned by individual families or small groups of residents whose houses are located within specific associations (Country Club at the north end) or communities (Wildwood Knolls on the east shore). At the northwest end of the Lake land of Fahnestock State Park comes down to the shore in a forested setting. Since there is no public road which completely encircles the Lake traffic is kept to a minimum encouraging walking and hiking by residents in unimpeded access. 

Much of the current housing stock was built over fifty years ago and some of these cottages are still only for summer use. Older septic systems have failed in some cases and efforts are underway to improve the septic disposition of the Lake, with a focus on a reduction in contamination. Water quality concerns remain high – until recently the Lake was classified as an "impaired waterbody" under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act, but with the active participation of LOCA, a number steps have been take to improve the ecology of the Lake.  As a result, the Lake has been removed from the "impaired waterbody" list and for the past two years, the Lake has shown improved clarity and quality.

The Lake Management Plan prepared under the sponsorship of LOCA, and adopted by the Town Board of Supervisors, addresses many of the issues which has placed the Lake in the impaired category with a range of recommendations for long-term relief through major projects as well as a series of best practices which the homeowner of today can follow.