Cayuga Lake

From Academic Kids

Cayuga Lake is the longest of western New York's glacial Finger Lakes, and is the second largest in surface area (marginally smaller than Seneca Lake) and volume. It is just under 40 miles long. Its average width is 1.7 miles, and it is 3.5 miles wide at its widest point near Aurora. It is approximately 435 feet deep at its deepest point.

It has one small island near Union Springs, Frontenac Island, which is one of only two islands in all of the Finger Lakes.

Ithaca, New York, site of Cornell University, sits at the southern end of Cayuga Lake. Cornell's alma mater or official school song makes reference to its position "Far Above Cayuga's Waters".

Villages and settlements along the east shore of Cayuga Lake include Myers, King Ferry, Aurora, Cayuga County, New York, Levanna, Union Springs, New York, and Cayuga, New York. Settlements along the west shore of the lake include Sheldrake, Poplar Beach, and Canoga.

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Missing image
CayugaLake.jpg
View of the southern end of Cayuga Lake. This part of the lake, being quite shallow, often freezes in winter.

Geographical characteristics

Cayuga Lake is located at 42.2 N, 76.1 W; 116.4m above sea level. Its depth, steep east and west sides with shallow north and south ends is typical of the Finger Lakes, as they were carved by glaciers during the last ice age.

Length: 61.4 km
Average Width: 2.8 km
Maximum Depth: 132 m
Surface Area: 172 sq.km
Mean Depth: 54.5 m
Catchment Area: 2,033 sq.km (37.1% natural forest, 58% active agricultural)
Main Islands: 1, Frontenac
Main Outflows: 1

The water level is regulated by the Mud Lock at the north end of the lake. It is connected to Lake Ontario by the Erie Canal and Seneca Lake by the Seneca River. The lake is drawn down as winter approaches to minimize ice damage and to maximize its capacity to store heavy spring runoff.

The north end is dominated by shallow mudflats and is an important stopover for migratory birds, where Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is located.

Human impact

The fish population is managed and substantial sport fishing is practised, including smelt, lake trout and smallmouth bass fishing. A large yacht marina is located at the southern end and there is also a yacht club on the western shore.

The lake is used both for drinking water and waste disposal. There are also several lake source cooling systems that are in operation on the lake, whereby cooler water is pumped from the depths of the lake, warmed, and circulated in a closed system back to the surface. One of these systems, which is operated by Cornell University and began operation in 2000, was controversial during the planning and building states for potential negative environmental impact; however, all the environmental impact reports and scientific studies have shown that the Cornell lake source cooling system has not yet and will not likely have any measurably significant environmental impact. Furthermore, Cornell's system pumps significantly less warm water back into the lake than others further north which have been operating for decades.

See also

External links

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