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Do's and Don'ts: Only You can save Lake Oscawana!

Only You...Can Save Lake Oscawana!

The actions of Lake Oscawana property owners are critical to healthy waters. The following is a brief list of how you can save the Lake and protect its ecology, health and your enjoyment into the future.

Adapted by the Lake Oscawana Civic Association, from the Vermont Water Quality Division – Lakes & Ponds.




Go Wild!

  • Leave trees and shrubs in a strip up to 100 feet wide along the shore.
  • Replant native trees and shrubs between your camp and the water.
  • Reduce lawn size adjacent to the lake.
  • Don't use fertilizers or pesticides on lawns near the lake.
  • Instead of repairing or installing a retaining wall, create a vegetated bank
  • Plant a rain garden. Direct the rainwater from your roof leader pipes into your garden..

Lawns are not effective at erosion control or filtering runoff.

Natural vegetation:

  • stabilizes the bank;
  • enhances in-lake habitat;
  • looks nice from the lake; and provides shoreland bird and animal homes and food
  • Fertilizer and pesticide runoff unnecessarily pollutes the lake with nutrients and toxins.

"No Beach" is a Good Beach

Don't add sand or other fill to the lake.

Adding sand suffocates the natural bottom habitat, plus can introduce polluting silt to the water.

(A NYDEC permit as well as a Putnam Valley Wetlands permit are is required before any work is done in the lake or along the shoreline.)

Keep Soil on the Ground

Keep land disturbance well back from the water. Surround a work area with a filter screen; mulch, reseed, and replant as soon as possible.

  • Eroded soil is a major pollutant to NYS lakes and ponds!
  • Sediment carries the nutrient phosphorus to lakes, causing algae blooms and excessive weed growth.
  • Turbidity threatens fish and other aquatic life.
  • PV Wetlands Permit required for work within 100 ft of the Lake.

Mind your Driveway Manners

Maintain your driveway so that runoff from it cannot reach the lake or pond.

  • Install waterbars to direct flow into vegetated areas.
  • Rock-line steep ditches.
  • Crown it annually.
  • Relocate it if necessary.



  • Eroded soil is a threat to Lake Oscawana.
  • Sediment carries the nutrient phosphorus to lakes.
  • Turbidity threatens fish and other aquatic life.
  • Good driveway maintenance saves you money over the long-run.

Don't "Go" in the Lake

  • Learn about your septic system.
  • Conserve water.
  • Don't add garbage disposals, washing machines or dishwashers unless you're sure your system meets current standards.
  • Replace systems that don't meet standards.
  • Pump septic tanks at least every 3 years.
  • If any part of your septic system is closer than 100 feet to the lake, or less than 2 feet above the lake level, you could be polluting the lake.
  • A poor or overloaded system can introduce disease-causing organisms into the lake, resulting in a human health threat and can introduce nutrients into the lake, causing algae blooms and excessive weed growth.

Watch those Ducks & Geese

Don't feed waterfowl.

Resident duck and goose populations increase disease causing bacteria in the water, and can increase the incidence of "swimmer's itch." Ducks or geese can even be a significant source of nutrients to lakes or ponds.

Be Careful Who You Invite Home

Make sure you aren't transporting organisms from one lake to another. Carefully wash and inspect your boat (and other gear) before moving it to another lake.

Exotic plant and animal infestations are a serious problem in NYS lakes, causing significant recreational and ecological damage. Only careful vigilance by all lake users can prevent the spread of harmful exotic species.


Gas and Water Don't Mix

Replace 2-stroke boat engines with 4-stroke or direct-injection 2-stroke engines.


  • 2-stroke motors emit 20-30% of the fuel-oil mixture unburned into the lake.
  • 4-strokes are quieter, use half the gas and have 90% fewer emissions

Be Kind to Your Neighbors

Protect and support the local wildlife;

  • stay away from nest areas;
  • protect shoreland wetlands; and
  • enhance your shoreline with native vegetation


Lakes are part of the diversity of native habitats in NYS. The importance of Lake Oscawana’s role in providing food, shelter and breeding areas for fish and wildlife cannot be overstated.

Get the Lead Out

Switch from lead sinkers to those made from steel or other materials.

Lead sinkers lost in the lake are often mistakenly eaten by fish or water fowl.

Build Responsibly

Any work in the lake such as dock or wall building may require a NYSDEC permit as well as a PV Wetlands permit. (check with PV Building Dept.)

Artificial structures alter the natural functions of a shoreline, by removing vegetation and altering the natural lake bottom. Also, improperly done work can cause excess turbidity in the water.

Be safe!

Learn about NYS’s and PV’s local boating safety laws. See LOCA’s special edition.

Make lakes safe and enjoyable for everyone!



Work Together

  • Join LOCA.
  • Get involved in town policy and planning discussions with lake protection issues.
  • LOCA is dedicated to taking care of the lake. We are involved in projects such as water sampling, landowner education, boating safety and watershed management.