Canandaigua Lake is one of the smallest of the Finger Lakes. The
glacially carved, 15 mile-long, narrow lake spans two counties, with
the city of Canandaigua on its north end and Naples on the south. To
the west lies Honeoye Lake and to the east, Keuka and Seneca Lakes.
Much of the lakeshore is developed or in agriculture, but there are
scattered marshes and wetlands. The lake is owned by the state of
New York, but the lakeshore includes mostly private, some municipal,
and some NYS DEC-administered land.
This site is an important winter waterfowl area, particularly for
Mallards and Redheads. The NYSOA winter waterfowl counts
have documented over 1% of the estimated state winter population
of Mallards for the last five years, and over 1% of the estimated state
winter population of Redheads in four out of the last five years (over
40% of 2003 population and over 15% of 2004 and 2001 populations).
5,535 ind. in 2004, 12,809 in 2003,
13,960 in 2002, 12,567 in 2001,
4,918 in 2000.
The introduction of zebra mussels and non-native fish may have a
negative effect on the aquatic ecosystem and the prey base of certain
waterfowl species. However, some diving duck species feed extensively
on zebra mussels and may benefit from increases in their populations.
Manipulation of water levels in the lake may impact waterfowl use
of the lake in unknown ways. More research is needed to understand
how different species of waterfowl are or will be impacted by changes
in the lake ecosystem. The lake is heavily used from spring through
fall for recreational boating, fishing, and related activities. Disturbance
does not seem to be a major problem since the largest concentrations of
waterfowl occur before and after peak boating activity. Pollution from
various sources, including agricultural runoff and boats, could impact
the aquatic ecosystems that birds rely upon, and should be monitored.
Monitoring of waterfowl numbers should continue.