SEIS Comments From A Seasonal Resident

SEIS Comments From A Seasonal Resident

During the recent public meeting regarding the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, an obvious divide of opinions exists between those who support the application of herbicides and those who are opposed. Several valid and meaningful points were expressed. One comment in particular stood out from the rest and we wanted to share this perspective with you.

Jonathan Durkee is a seasonal resident who purchased a home on Chautauqua Lake two years ago. Jonathan represents the type of person we want to attract into our community. In order to keep someone like Jonathan in Chautauqua County we need to come together to figure out a solution to the issues surrounding Chautauqua Lake. Below are five points he made during the public meeting that articulate the issues quite adequately from an outside perspective.

(1) Lake Chautauqua should be a cornerstone of economic development in Western NY and Jamestown.  Instead, the weeds in Lake Chautauqua are a serious problem, it’s getting worse and we need immediate action.  Anyone who says otherwise is confused and hasn’t had the privilege of cleaning 140 ft of shoreline in Bemus Bay.  

(2) I have followed the problem very closely over the last two years and I am mystified by the lack of accountability, lack of urgency and level of political dysfunction between groups trying to improve the lake.  Rather than being open minded and working together it seems some groups are more interested in competing with one another and protecting personal interests and agendas. Its deeply frustrating to watch.  

(3) I support every method of addressing the invasive species problem and every group or agency that can play a productive role in that process — the CWC, CLA, and CLP.  I am comfortable with herbicides.  I trust that with a proper review and oversight by the DEC that any environmental issues will be handled appropriately as they are in lakes all over New York State. 

(4) Despite my best efforts, I cannot understand why Lake Chautauqua is treated so differently from other lakes in NYS that regularly use herbicide as part of a comprehensive approach to fighting invasive species.  

(5) Lastly, I applaud the efforts of the CLP and I am grateful that the leadership team there has so relentlessly continued to work the problem, push the thinking and challenge the status quo.  It’s clear we need change and I’d like to thank the CLP, the town of Ellery and all the other agencies supporting the SEIS and application for herbicide treatment. 

As we approach the summer season and the snow begins to melt, Chautauqua Lake will come to life once again. A solution is on the horizon; residents both seasonal and year-round are ready to jump into a clean lake.

The Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) is a local non-profit lake organization, advancing a broad set of projects seeking to improve the condition of Chautauqua Lake. Some of those projects include: nutrient reduction, Bemus Bay remediation, weed cutting mitigation, shoreline clean up, and herbicide treatments of selected areas.