Oneida Lake & Three Mile Bay

About This Priority Conservation Area

Oneida Lake is a large freshwater lake located in Oneida, Onondaga, and Madison counties, New York. With a surface area of approximately 50,894 acres, it is the largest lake located completely within New York and is an extremely popular fishing and vacationing destination. Despite Oneida Lake’s large size, the lake is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 22 feet. Although much of the shoreline is heavily developed with camps and cottages, a variety of public access options are available along the shores of Oneida Lake.

A large portion of the northwestern shore of Oneida Lake remains undeveloped as part of the 3,939-acre Three Mile Bay Wildlife Management Area. Access to the lake from the WMA includes a year-round car-top boat launch on Shaw Road and a seasonal car-top boat launch at the end of McCloud Road. A gate approximately one-half mile from the lake’s shore restricts access to this second launch from the Monday before Memorial Day Weekend through the Monday following Labor Day Weekend. Although much of the WMA consists of swamps and marsh, formal terrestrial access is also available from a parking area along Toad Harbor Road and a parking area along Wheeler Road. The Wheeler Road access is utilized by the New York State Department of Health as an Encephalitis Field Laboratory.

Shoreline fishing access is provided by two State Fishing Access Sites at the west end of Oneida Lake; parking for the northern access site is available off County Route 37, and parking for the southern access is off Kathan Road in Brewerton. Along the north shore, the Cleveland Docks Fishing Access Site provides opportunities for shoreline fishing and informal launching of small watercraft. Informal access is also available from a location under the Route 13 bridge in Sylvan Beach at the east end of the lake. Two improved concrete boat launches are maintained by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The Godfrey Point State Boat Launch is located on the north shore, off Lake Street (Route 49) west of the hamlet of Jewell. On the south shore, the Bush Road State Boat Launch is located off Route 31, east of the hamlet of Bridgeport. Both State Boat Launches are provided free of charge. For a fee, boats may also be launched from Verona Beach State Park at Oneida’s eastern end, and at Oneida Shores County Park along the lake’s southwestern shore.

Confirmed Invasive Species Observations

Confirmed observations of SLELO’s tiered invasive species at Oneida Lake & Three Mile Bay PCA. For more information, visit iMapInvasives.

Tier List Species Recorded at This PCA

These invasive species tiers guide management priorities in New York State and are utilized by the Partnership For Regional Invasive Species Management or PRISM Network. The species categorized in each tier are dependent on species distribution, abundance, and management options available, and may vary depending on the region. The species listed below are the species categorized in the SLELO PRISM region. View a full list of tiered species in the SLELO PRISMLearn about New York State Invasive Species Tiers and view a Story-Map

Tier 1 Species

Early Detection/Prevention

The management approach is Early Detection & Prevention. Species are not known to be in the SLELO region but are within 100 miles and an introduction pathway exists. 

Species Recorded at This PCA

No Tier 1 Species were found at this PCA at this time. 

Tier 2 Species


The management Approach is Eradication. Species are known to be present in the SLELO region but are in low abundance with suitable treatment methods available to make eradication feasible with Priority Conservation Areas. 

Species Recorded at This PCA

No Tier 2 Species were found at this PCA at this time. 

Tier 3 Species


The management approach is containment/exclusion. Species are too widespread for eradication from the region, but some areas remain unaffected. Targeted management can be used to suppress the population within Priority Conservation Areas. 

Species Recorded at This PCA
  • Japanese knotweed
  • Phragmites
  • Starry stonewort
  • Water chestnut

Tier 4 Species

Suppression/Local Control

The management approach is suppression/local control. Species are present and widespread throughout the region with no chance of eradication. Localized management is applied to protect high-priority resources like rare plant habitats or recreation areas. 

Species Recorded at This PCA
  • Curly-leaf pondweed
  • Coltsfoot
  • Common buckthorn
  • Glossy buckthorn
  • Honeysuckle
  • European frogbit
  • Eurasian water-milfoil
  • Quagga mussel
  • Zebra mussel
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Wild parsnip
  • Spotted knapweed

Tier 5 Species


The management approach is to Monitor. Species may or may not be in the region but are difficult to respond to or require more knowledge of distribution, and management options. 

Species Recorded at This PCA

No Tier 5 Species were found at this PCA at this time. 

Species Recorded at this PCA that are not listed in SLELO PRISM's Tiers

  • Autumn olive
  • Brittle naiad
  • Japanese beetles
  • Japanese barberry
  • Multiflora rose

PCA Evaluations (Score Cards)

Field Reports

Treatment Reports

Images From the Field