2019 Conservationist of the Year Award


Ken Lynch

The Oneida Lake Association has honored longtime conservation leader Kenneth P. Lynch as its 2019 Conservationist of the Year.Lynch served more than 20 years in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where he successfully advocated for initiatives that helped preserve and enhance Oneida Lake.

Lynch was recognized for the career-long, positive impact he has had on Oneida Lake, most recently as executive deputy commissioner to the DEC, a position from which he retired this year. Prior to that, Lynch was the director of DEC Region 7, the nine-county region of Upstate New York which encompasses much of Oneida Lake. Regions 6 and 7 have historically worked together to manage Oneida Lake natural resources, a partnership that Lynch strengthened considerably during his directorship from 1997-2016.

Some of the key successes during Lynch’s tenure included securing additional DEC law enforcement resources and equipment for Oneida Lake; protecting the lake from wastewater discharges and other environmental threats; and working closely with sportsmen and the OLA on issues of concern to waterfowlers, including season setting and hunter access.

Lynch joined DEC in 1995 as a regional attorney, after spending the early portion of his career in private-sector environmental law. He is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law and Syracuse University. Upon his retirement from DEC, Lynch is beginning a new venture in a leadership role at the environmental engineering firm, O’Brien and Gere, based in Syracuse.