In this episode of Walk in the Park (#66, recorded 1/15/14), we take a look at the effects of deep freeze and thaw on the rigidly channelized creeks that cross the floodplain that the city of Ithaca, NY is built on, at the south end of Cayuga Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Watch it here online below, or on Ithaca, NY’s public access TV channel 13 (or 97.3) during it’s regular schedule of showings this week (Th, Sa, Su, Tu).
Frigid temperatures alternated with forties and fifties in early January to freeze and flood conditions in central New York, including Fall Creek and Cascadilla Creek in Ithaca.
High water in Cascadilla and Fall Creeks encountered thick sheets of ice that broke up and formed dams at street bridges. Flood waters were then forced over the banks into the Fall Creek neighborhood. City crews used long-arm excavators to try to break up some of the ice dams, while some 200 volunteers filled sand bags for affected residents. See this through photographs, aerial photography, and video. Special thanks to Hilary Lambert of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Photography 4d, Bill Hecht, and Ken Christopher Hill for some of the images and footage used here.
Also see my Park Minute: Icy Fluctuations at Ithaca Falls, and my newest Park Minute: Icy Buttermilk Creek and some beautiful photographs by nature photographer, Roger C. Ingraham. We finish with a preview of my video Winter Water which we will see in its entirety in a future episode.
This week, we ponder the end of summer with music events (such as Porchfest), goldenrod vs. ragweed, waterfalls near and far, a closer look at the new Cayuga Lake view exhibit at East Shore Park; Cops, Kids and Toys motorcycle ride around Cayuga Lake; and a discussion of why swimming is no longer permitted at Stewart Park in Ithaca.
Accumulated debris at Stewart Park along the shore of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY
It’s quite a mess, isn’t it? Logs, branches, other plant material, and trash often wash up to the shore at Stewart Park at the south end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY following heavy rains and flash floods in the watershed. Fall Creek and Cayuga Inlet, the two largest streams entering the lake (with the exception of the Seneca River at the extreme northern end) are channelized through the city and shoot their flood-fed pulses of muddy, debris-laden floodwaters into the lake at the farther end of the scene depicted here. Prevailing winds from the west (the horizon) tend to push floating material to the southeast corner of the lake, making a mess at what might otherwise be a nice beach.
This probably explains why the very aggressive invasive aquatic weed hydrilla has recently been found in this area, formerly thought to be confined to Cayuga Inlet where eradication efforts have been working well. This opens up a whole new dimension to the battle to keep this plant from taking over all the shallow areas of the lake and spreading to the entire Finger Lakes-Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Find out more in this week’s current episode of Walk in the Park TV, showing here online and this morning (Sunday, 9/8/13) at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access channel 13 (or 97.3), and again finally on Tuesday, 9/10/13 at 8:00 p.m.
Episode 54 of Walk in the Park TV is now showing! See it beginning tonight (Thursday, 9/5/13) at 9:00 on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3) or right here online!
In our show today:
The aggressive invasive aquatic weed Hydrilla was discovered in Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca a couple of years ago by the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. A massive effort to control this plant has greatly reduced its numbers, but recently plants were found in nearby Fall Creek and in Cayuga Lake itself near Stewart Park, an alarming development as this plant could threaten to clog shallow waters throughout the Great Lakes basin. Also discovered in Cayuga Lake for the first time is the invasive exotic fish the round goby, seen near Taughannock Point at Taughannock Falls State Park.
Finally, we go back to Stewart Park for the 30th annual Labor Picnic on Labor Day, sponsored by the Mdistate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Worker Center. Heros in the movement to get more employers to pay a living wage in the county were honored. The Evil City String Band put on a little concert.
The final rocket bursts over Ithaca while the full moon hangs in the heavens.
Ithaca, NY’s Independence Day fireworks show has returned to Ithaca! On July 2, the moonlit extravaganza erupted in the Newman Golf Course across Fall Creek from the fireworks festival in Stewart Park, on the shore of Cayuga Lake, which was dotted with boats appreciating the light show from the water. Watch some highlights, as it were, in this 7 minute, 36 second video and definitely hang in there for the finale!