Physical Setting:

Canandaigua Lake is one of New York’s eleven renowned Finger Lakes. The lake is nestled between the glacially-carved rolling hills that are iconic to the region, stretching approximately 15.5 miles south from the City of Canandaigua, averages 1.1 miles wide and has a maximum depth of 276 feet. Canandaigua is the third largest of the Finger Lakes in terms of volume, containing about 429 billion gallons of water. The lake itself covers 10,553 acres. The area of land that drains to the lake, known as its watershed, is over 10 times the size of the lake, totaling 109,000 acres.

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Canandaigua Lake is drained by two outlet channels. Both are controlled by gates and regulated by the City of Canandaigua. The eastern channel, is called the Canandaigua Outlet, is the main flood control channel that flows through Lagoon Park. The western channel, the Feeder Canal, was excavated by the City in the early 1900s to convey treated wastewater downstream from the City of Canandaigua converging with the Natural Outlet between County Road 46 and County Road 4. For current permit purposes, a flow of 35 cubic feet per second is required in the Feeder Canal.
Most of the water reaching the lake arrives via the major tributaries. Principal streams flowing into Canandaigua Lake include: West River/Naples Creek, Menteth Gully, Seneca Point Creek, Tichenor Gully, Sucker Brook, Deep Run Creek, Fall Brook, and Vine Valley Creek. The watershed also has over a hundred smaller tributaries that enter directly into the lake. These areas have been broken into 34 subwatersheds and direct drainage basins.