Good evening and Happy Thanksgiving (yesterday)!
First of all, let us apologize for not providing CLP updates in the recent past. We’ve been very busy the last few months!
Where should we start?
1) CLP membership has risen to over 375 as we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the “go live” of BBPO (10 members, November 15, 2016) meeting with the County Executive and staff and Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) management. Four months later we merged into CLP, got a boost from the experience of heritage CLP members and began implementing the 2017 program. Please encourage friends who care about the lake and want new approaches to help realize “Chautauqua Lake, A Great Lake Seeking a Greater Future” to register on our website www.chqlake.org.
2) As described at the September 2 CLP Rally and on the website, CLP raised and spent over $165k ($64k from individuals and businesses, $90k from local foundations, and $11k from the County) for our 2017 Program. These funds supported 2Q2017 Weed Surveys, the Weed Management Demonstration Project the Shoreline/Near Shore Cleanup Demonstration Project and 2018 Program planning.
3) Six Major Projects are included in CLP’s 2018 Program. The Projects and the Organization required to execute them are described graphically in this document. CLP Project and Support organizations include several highly-experienced and well-known individuals as part of our all-volunteer staff. But, we need more. Contact Jim Cirbus to see how you can assist.
- The “1986 Decree Reversal” and “Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)” Projects will provide a herbicide option for Chautauqua Lake weed management.
- “Community Outreach” is organizing interested Lake communities including Towns and Villages that will be included in the 2018 SEIS to give them the potential to obtain 2018 herbicide permits. In fall 2018, CLP surveyed weed type/density and sediment depth in 625 acres of littoral zone along the shoreline of 10 Lake communities in 4 Towns and 3 Villages. The collected data will be used in the SEIS and 2018 herbicide planning and permitting. These Towns and Villages are passing supportive resolutions.
- The objective of the “Bemus Bay Remediation” (Demonstration Project) is to encourage re-establishment of a natural lake-bottom ecosystem. Deposition of large amounts of decomposing weeds on the lake bottom have “smothered” the lake-bottom ecosystem. Decomposing weeds, several feet thick in places, release phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients which encourage weed and algae growth, modify the bottom habitat for fish spawning, and harm bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as mussels and tube worms.
- “Shoreline and Near Shore Cleanup” will pick up where the 2017 Demonstration Project left off with deployment of a redesigned HydroRake and evaluation of an amphibious MobiTrac. With herbicide treatments and suspension of weed cutting in herbicide-treated areas, we expect fewer weed fragments to accumulate on shorelines and fewer to remove.
- “Weed Cutting Mitigation” is focused on mitigating the negative environmental impacts of weed cutting. This Project follows from a similar but simpler objective communicated at the outset of our efforts in November, 2016. Weed Cutting is currently unregulated in Chautauqua Lake even though significant negative impacts (e. g., spread of Milfoil, encouragement of invasive growth) are documented in DEC publications. It is regulated in several other states and the Adirondack Park.
4) CLP’s 2018 Fundraising Campaign will begin in earnest later this month, providing an opportunity for 2017-tax deductible donations in support of a much larger 2018 program across a much larger portion of the lake. The CLP Fundraising Committee, led by Sara DeMink with the assistance of Community Leaders in each community to be included in the 2018 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, will be seeking donations from individuals and businesses. Donations can be mailed to PO Box 81, Lakewood, NY 14750, or made through PayPal at www.chqlake.org.
As in 2017, local foundations are providing critical support to CLP’s 2018 Work Program with generous funding additional to that in 2017, a total of $169,000 thus far. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) committed $102,000 and the Lenna Foundation $67,000 to 2018 Projects. CRCF funded 4Q2017 Weed Surveys (625 acres/15 shoreline miles). CRCF and Lenna are supporting development of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement described below. Action on additional grant requests is pending.
Four Towns (Ellery, Busti, North Harmony and Ellicott) and Villages (Bemus Point, Lakewood and Celoron) with SEIS scope along their shorelines are also providing significant 2018 Project support. They are passing broad supportive resolutions and have committed funding of $28,500 thus far with more pending.
We understand Chautauqua County has, once again, allocated $100,000 specifically for CLA in 2018 with another $100,000 for unspecified lake-related work to be provided to lake organizations (including CLA). We expect the County will recognize CLP’s progressive lake improvement initiatives and fund CLP’s 2018 Work Program to a much more significant degree than 2017’s $11,500.
5) SEIS development is well underway. Contracts are executed and work began October 14. A Notice of Lead Agency, with the Town of Ellery as Lead, and Part 1 of the Environmental Assessment Form were executed by the Ellery Town Supervisor and distributed to ~45 potential Involved and Interested agencies on November 10. Preparation of the SEIS scope and the SEIS itself has begun. These will be issued for agency and public comment and finalized over the next several months consistent with the regulation-driven structured SEQRA processes.
Click here for an overview of CLP projects and ways you can help: CLP Update 112417
Chautauqua Lake Partnership
Dr. Jim Cirbus, President
Jim Wehrfritz, Vice President
Mike Latone, Treasurer
Karen Rine, Secretary
Board Members: Jennifer Gibson, Jami Henderson, Dale Robbins, Esq.
Science Advisors: Dr. Tom Erlandson, Dr. Doug Neckers
Regulatory Advisors: JoDee Johnson, Frank Nicotra