LOPA offers its membership and the community at large many different ways to contribute to the preservation of Onota Lake beyond monetary donations by volunteering a few or sometimes many hours of individual time and effort.  The following is not an exhaustive list, but rather highlights some of the major LOPA volunteer activities:

Water Quality Monitoring

Five or six times per season, LOPA takes in-lake water samples and data measurements to obtain values for temperature, acidity, water clarity, total phosphorus, and dissolved oxygen.  This data is gathered at two different sites on the lake at the deep holes in the north and south basins.  Each session takes two people two to four hours.  Additionally, one (or sometimes two) people take similar water quality samples and data at the lake’s four main tributaries and at the outlet stream below the dam.

Macrophyte (weed) Monitoring

Annually, LOPA conducts a detailed assessment of the lake’s macrophyte community by surveying many sites around the lake to determine plant species, coverage and density.  This job requires a little easily acquired on-the-job training and is normally accomplished by two or three teams of two or three people with each team spending approximately three hours on the water.

Water Chestnut Hand-pulling

For the past several years, LOPA volunteers have been hand-pulling the invasive weed Water Chestnut (trapa natans) from the area north of Dan Casey Causeway in an important attempt to keep it from getting into the lake proper.  This activity usually involves multiple teams of two persons each in small boats/canoes/kayaks pulling and bagging the weeds.  It normally takes two to three hours on a weekend morning in early August with a clean up in September if necessary.

How can I help?

If you would like to be a LOPA Volunteer, great! Enter your information and area of interest, and we’ll get back to you via email.


Become A Member

If you enjoy and appreciate Lake Onota, there’s a way you can give back. Becoming a LOPA Member means you support the preservation of this natural splendor.

Start Your Membership

What We Do

Our purpose is to assist the City of Pittsfield on all matters regarding Lake Onota. We’re a volunteer organization, providing education and scientific study to help preserve this beautiful place.

LOPA is the voice of Lake Onota, and our members are dedicated to its preservation and restoration.

Learn More About LOPA


Fast Facts

Did you know that maximum lake speed is 45 mph?

For more information on Boater Safety see Boater Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility.

Did you know?

LOPA is an organization of volunteers. Our mission is to help the City of Pittsfield keep the lake clean and naturally beautiful for generations to come.

Why do a drawdown of the lake?

Lake drawdown is when the City of Pittsfield reduces the water level in the lake. Reasons: Shoreline erosion, weed management, flooding control.

How can I protect the Lake from Zebra Mussels?

Before launching a boat or kayak wash it thoroughly. Learn more about Zebra Mussels.

What You Can Do

Volunteer Opportunities

Beyond donations, there are many ways you can contribute to the preservation of Onota Lake. Here’s how you can help.

About LOPA

Mission Statement

Exclusively for the propose of providing an organization for voluntary charitable, scientific and educational action working toward the preservation of Onota Lake, by providing help, assistance, advice and support to the City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the municipality owning Onota Lake, on matters concerning Onota Lake, and promoting closer cooperation between the City, lake users and lake-front property owners and their associations.

Become a Member



Michael Riordan

Board Members

Lake Onota Preservation Association, Inc.
PO Box 2884
Pittsfield, MA 01202

City of Pittsfield

James McGrath
Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager

Office of Community Development
City Hall
70 Allen Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201