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May 22, 2017

By May 22, 2017August 1st, 2017News

Good afternoon.

The Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) has now grown to 145 members!

On Saturday, May 27, 2017, Memorial Day Weekend, from 9:00-11:00 am, you’ll have an opportunity to meet your fellow members, neighbors and others who care about the lake at the CLP’s “Chautauqua Lake, A Great Lake Seeking A Greater Future” Rally at The Village Casino in the Village of Bemus Point. You won’t want to miss this event to kick off summer on Chautauqua Lake.

You’ll hear from several distinguished government representatives and community leaders and from your Officers and Board Members on CLP progress and plans. Breakfast will be provided courtesy of The Village Casino and you’ll have an opportunity to purchase CLP T-Shirts, Ball Caps and Koozies with the recently-adopted CLP logos.

Great news! Jamie Henderson and Jennifer Gibson joined the CLP Board of Directors on May 17. Jamie is a long time lake resident and owner of Henderson Financial Group in Jamestown. Jennifer is a long time lake resident, active in several local foundations and Senior Vice President/Senior District Executive Officer for Northwest Savings Bank.

The last month has been very busy as we’ve sought support from key individuals and organizations, dealt with challenges to our efforts and advanced 2017 Weed Management and Shoreline Cleanup Demonstration Project planning. Following is a listing of key recent and upcoming activities.

  • Our Fundraising Committee, lead by Sara DeMink, has raised over $40,000 from ~90 individualssince it began its work 6 weeks ago. Gifts of all amounts are greatly appreciated but the average gift thus far is $450 and some have given as much as $5,000. Sara’s Committee of Marcia Cirbus, Kelly Auer, Susie Keller and Deb Wehrfritz are continuing their efforts with a renewed focus on local businesses. You’ll have an opportunity to make a donation at the Rally if you so desire. 
  • On April 25, we met with the Chautauqua County (CC) Water Quality Task Force to describe our concerns and ask for their assistance. We followed the meeting with a letter (attached) on May 1 and are awaiting a response.
  • On April 28, we had our second meeting with NYS Senator Cathy Young. Along with Town of Ellery representatives, we discussed challenges associated with the Town and Village herbicide permit applications submitted to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on April 9. Senator Young agreed to set up a meeting with DEC Albany HQ to review. We greatly appreciate Senator Young’s attention to these challenges and ongoing consideration of CLP’s $70,000 grant application.
  • On May 1, we sent a letter (attached) to the CC Department of Health encouraging them to alert area physicians, medical providers and lake users to the dangers of cyanobacteria and its toxins and put reporting procedures in place to capture data on the extent and severity of the problem. We also requested them to make a short presentation at the May 27 CLP Rally. We are awaiting a response.
  • On May 3, CLP sent letters to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance)  Board Chairperson (see attachment), several State, County and municipal representatives and others expressing disappointment with Chautauqua Lake Association’s (CLA) use of the Alliance distribution list to support their efforts against CLP Demonstration Projects. We’d prefer the CLA keep an open mind to use of all Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS)-approved weed management methods, including herbicides, and focus on improving recovery of weed fragments from its weed cutting operation and cleanup of the weed fragments which foul the shoreline. Note, when considering “weed harvesting”, the MMS requires “All harvested plant material must be collected and removed from the lake”.
  • On May 4, we met with Jacqueline Chiarot, Regional Director for US Congressman Tom Reed in Jamestown. We described our issues, challenges and plans and requested a follow-on meeting with Congressman Reed in the near future. 
  • On May 4, we met with the Alliance Executive Committee to continue discussion of our April 20 request for letters of support to those from whom we’re requesting funding and others. The Committee agreed to draft letters of support using pro-forma’s we provided.
  • On May 11, we met for a second time with the Alliance Board. Unfortunately, after a long discussion, the Alliance Board could not agree among themselves to send the letters they had prepared. We were disappointed that the Alliance could not support our Projects which are consistent with the Alliance Mission (see attached April 20 presentation).
  • On May 11, we met with the Town of Ellery Council to review the status of our plans. The Council remains committed to our efforts with them.
  • On May 16, we met with the Village of Bemus Point Board of Trustees to review status of our plans. The Village Board reaffirmed its commitment to our efforts with them.
  • On On May 17, along with Town and Village representatives, we met with DEC Region 9 (Buffalo)to review herbicide permitting status and express frustration with the DEC’s lack of information, changing requirements and inconsistency between Region 9 and the rest of NYS. This meeting was followed by another with DEC HQ (Albany) and Senator Young. We’ll provide more detail on these meetings and follow-on plans at the Rally.
  • On May 18, we participated in a Chautauqua County (CC) Roundtable to discuss summer/fall lake-related operations by a variety of lake organizations. CC staff expects open sharing of the upcoming CLP-funded Bemus Bay Weed Survey results and CLP shoreline cleanup equipment and operational plans. We’re not sure we agree.
  • On May 20, we participated in a live local radio broadcast, the Breakfast Club, in which we described the CLP organization and plans and highlighted the upcoming Rally. This broadcast and a series of associated public service announcements are airing leading up to next weekend’s Rally.
  • On May 24-25, CLP’s consultant SOLitude Lake Management, Inc. will conduct a Bemus Bay Weed Survey including weed density and type, a video record and accumulated lake-bottom weed and sludge thickness measurements. The survey’s primary purpose is to focus the herbicide application locations simplifying permitting and saving money.  The survey will also provide a quantitative picture of weed and weed fragment accumulation on the lake bottom which makes anchoring difficult and contributes nutrients to Bay waters. This will counter the claim being made by some that there’s not a weed problem in Bemus Bay. (Note the following from the 2015 data/2016 report Executive Summary they’ve used: “…in 2015, overall abundance and density of aquatic plants for the lake was much lower than average…”). And, although 2016 data was gathered over 6 months ago, it’s still not available.
  • Meetings continued through April and May with local farmers, highway superintendents, lake-related contractors and mechanically and engineering-inclined individuals seeking safer and less labor-intensive methods to remove the weed fragments and sludge that pollute our shorelines, foul the air and make lake use nearly impossible. This Team is contributing to the 2017 Shoreline/Near Shore Cleanup Demonstration Project.
  • As reported in the last update, 640 Letters of Notification were sent to Bemus Bay shoreline property owners and beyond on March 30 notifying them of Town/Village herbicide permitting efforts. As of April 26, a week after the end of the 21 day comment period, only 1 letter of concern had been received by the NYSDEC in response to the 640 Letters of Notification to property owners. 12 other letters were received before or after the Notifications or from other sources. Most were from non-shoreline residents (some as far away as Fredonia) and opposing lake organizations and listed unsubstantiated concerns or an outdated understanding of herbicides and their use.

Phew! Is that enough activity for one month?

  • Please encourage friends and neighbors who care about the Lake to “get on board” by joining the Partnership and, if they’re able and willing, by making a donation. You can contact us atinfo@chautauqualakepartners.com.
  • And, don’t forget to attend the CLP’s “Chautauqua Lake, A Great Lake Seeking A Greater Future” Rallyon Saturday, May 27, 2017, Memorial Day Weekend, from 9:00-11:00 am, at The Village Casino in the Village of Bemus Point. You won’t want to miss this event to kick off summer on Chautauqua Lake. We look forward to meeting you there.

Thank you.

The Officers and Directors of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership