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Paddlers Plan Protest On Cayuga Lake

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - Activists plan to take to Cayuga Lake early this morning to protest seismic tests by Cargill. The company has salt mines below the lake.

According to an email from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, it was notified the testing would begin on August 8 and continue through the month.

The email explained the process and scope of the testing.

"Testing will be conducted," it read, "in 30 [feet] of water or greater and the will utilize an air cannon place below the surface of the water. The area covered will span most of the lake from Long Point south."

Cornell fisheries and aquatic sciences professor Lars Radstrom said the testing may not be cause for worry. He is does not have direct information about these tests but spoke about short-term seismic tests in general terms.

"I expect," he said, "that it’s not going to have much of an effect if they don’t continuously return to the same area, booming the same area all the time."

Hilary Lambert, with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, first learned the tests were underway about a week after they began. Her group is not involved in today's protests. However, it wants to do additional research on the possible effects of the testing. 

"What I’m concerned about," she said, "is the short-term impacts to fish and other lake wildlife and plant life as a result of this survey going on at the height of summer."

Lambert is particularly worried about what the tests might do to the lake sturgeon.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced there is enough preliminary evidence to consider adding the fish to the threatened or endangered list.

Cargill did not respond to requests for an interview before WSKGs deadline.