The RUSS, or Remote Underwater Sampling Station, was orignially manufactured by Apprise Technologies of Duluth, Minnesota. We received ours in the Spring of 2001 and initially deployed that summer. This will be the fourth season the RUSS is on the water, with the season generally running from May to November.

The RUSS itself consists of the main buoy visible on the surface which houses the power, electronics and communications equipment. At night the main buoy is marked by a flashing yellow light. Mounted to the buoy is a meteorological station. A bouyancy controlled profiler is cabled to the buoy and contains the sensors for the multiple parameters we measure in the water column. Three surface buoys with Coast Guard approved lighting and a floating line mark an exclusion area around the RUSS. Please respect this exclusion area and give the RUSS plenty of distance.

Below the surface, a three point anchoring system secures the RUSS in place and allows it to ride out the larger waves without shifting position. The anchor system extends out from the RUSS for several meters so please maintain your distance from the marker buoys. We were struck three times last fall resulting in damage to the profiler, a large shift in the position of the RUSS itself, and damage to our anchor system. This isn't good for your boat or our budget so treat us like anything else on the water and leave plenty of space.

Data Collection

Individual parameters are described on the appropriate page (meteorological or water) as well as sampling intervals. We strive to maintain data collection 24 hours a day, but occasional equipment and communication problems delay data retrieval and graph updates. We will fix the problem as soon as we are able, but weather, other research and personnel availability all come into play.

The Lake

Cayuga Lake is a long, deep monomictic lake with a summer stratified season and well-mixed winter season. It is the second largest of the Finger Lakes, with a surface area of 172.1 km2 (66.4 mi2). The deepest point is 132.6 m (435 ft), the overall length of the lake is 61.4 km (38.1 mi) and the mean width is about 3 km (1.75 mi). The southern shelf has gradual slope from Cayuga Inlet to about 15 m at which point the slope increases until another gently sloped region begins at about 80 m. The southern shelf and the steep slope connecting it to the deeper regions provide a great natural laboratory to study many physical processes, including upwelling, internal waves, gravity currents and other exchange processes.

The lake also serves as drinking water supply for many cities situated along its shores, with the closest being Bolton Point on the east side of the lake serving portions of Tompkins County and providing backup for both Cornell and the City of Ithaca water supplies. The City of Ithaca maintains a wastewater treatment plant on the southeastern shore of the lake. Cornell's Lake Source Cooling is also located there.

Recreational use involves sailing, windsurfing, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, power boating, and virtually any other water based activity you can think of. Numerous state parks are located along Cayuga Lake, with two of the most popular being Alan H. Treman State Marine Park and Taughannock Falls State Park.

Our Research

The Environmental Fluid Mechanics Group at Cornell University examines physical processes in both environmental and laboratory based experiments. The RUSS is one component of our ongoing research into the physical processes of Cayuga Lake. Our research if funded through grants, anonymous gifts, and support from Cornell University.

Our Support

The RUSS is funded by an anymous gift with additonal support from Cornell University. It is maintained by a small staff of two part time technicians. If you'd like to help us, please visit our website, send us comments at cayugalake@cornell.edu and let others who might be interested in our website know about it. And please, help keep the RUSS safe and operational by maintaining a safe distance. If you'd like a closer look here are some pictures.