Chautauqua Lake, A Great Lake Seeking a Greater Future

Springtime failed to come to Chautauqua Lake on March 21, as Spring arrived. As you can see in the photo, we still had snow on the ground and ice on the lake this week! But, we know that summer will be here soon, get ready!

Your Chautauqua Lake Partnership’s (Partnership) all-volunteer Officers, Board Members, Advisors and others are progressing all Partnership Projects during this never-ending winter. We’re proud to say that the Partnership is the only Chautauqua Lake organization actively addressing watershed, in-lake and regional lake issues. [Note: Contrary to a rumor spread by another lake organization, no Partnership Officers, Advisors or Board members are compensated for their thousands of hours of volunteer time. As opposed to other lake organizations, 100% of your Partnership contribution goes to lake improvement projects.]

We described the Partnership’s support for development of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for herbicide use in the last update. Despite the obstruction by a few, described in the last update, the SEIS was completed, approved by the Town of Ellery Board, the Lead Agency, and issued on schedule on April 5, 2018, after 6 months and $250,000. Recall that Chautauqua Lake is the only lake in New York State (NYS) with such an SEIS-requirement, a result of a short-sighted 1986 agreement between the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the CLA.

We mentioned a lawsuit by ~15 Maple Springs and Chautauqua Institution residents against the Town of Ellery, Chautauqua County and the DEC in the last update. This Article 78 suit organized by Jane Conroe, member of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Alliance Science Committee, wife of CLA Executive Director and mother of the CLA Treasurer, organized the suit. We described the suit as of no merit in the last update, and in fact, it was dismissed on one of several faults by Judge Dillon of the NYS Supreme Court, on February 26, 2018.

The now-issued SEIS, intended to be included in the County’s Macrophyte Management Strategy scope but never completed, will satisfy the 1986 DEC/CLA agreement and pave the way for DEC’s processing of herbicide permits. 3400 Letters of Notification were sent March 14 and nine herbicide permit applications were submitted to DEC by four Towns (Ellery, Ellicott, Busti, and North Harmony) and one Village (Celoron) on March 16, 2018. We expect the DEC will issue permits for several days of herbicide treatment of the invasive weeds Eurasian Water Milfoil and Curly Leaf Pondweed in ten areas of the lake in early May, 2018, well before the summer season begins. That is optimal timing for herbicide effectiveness and minimal negative impact. [Note: Contrary to a rumor spread by another lake organization, Agent Orange, the Vietnam-era defoliant contaminated with dioxin, the chemical which got our servicemen sick, was not used in the successful 2017 Bemus Bay herbicide treatment. Only EPA and NYS DEC-approved herbicides are used after environmental review and permitting under the supervision of the NYS DEC. Note that Chautauqua Lake weed cutting/harvesting undergoes no such environmental review, requires no permits and is not supervised by the DEC.]

Several OpEd’s, developed by the Partnership and published in the Jamestown Post-Journal over the last several months can be found on the Partnership website, www.chqlake.org.

  • “Weed Management in Chautauqua Lake, “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” by Jim Wehrfritz, Tom Erlandson, PhD, Doug Neckers, PhD, Dr. Jim Cirbus and Mike Latone, Partnership Officers and Science Advisors, identifying DEC-documented negative environmental impacts of weed cutting/harvesting, was published in the Jamestown Post-Journal on January 21. Read the article here.
  • “Chautauqua Lake: The Importance of People” by Partnership Science Advisor Tom Erlandson, focusing on the importance of people’s use of the lake as a necessary catalyst to lake improvement, was published March 18.   Read the article here.

We encourage you to read all Partnership OpEd’s to get an objective and unbiased view of lake issues and the required action.

We were happy to hear that $95,000 for the Partnership has been included in the NYS 2018 Budget. This is the first state funding support we’ve received. Thank you, Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

We updated new Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello on Partnership projects, challenges and funding requirements on April 2. Given that the Partnership has now completed the SEIS which the County abandoned, we are confident the County will significantly increase its $15,000 contribution made to the Partnership in 2017. We also hope to access significant fund balance held by the County and County–sponsored entities for 2018 Partnership projects.

We appreciate the financial support you’ve provided thus far, ~$125,000 to date!  However, with the large slate of Partnership projects and required resources, we must ask again. We will begin herbicide treatment cost-focused fundraising for 2018 in mid-April. Contributions from around the lake and in the ten communities slated for treatments are crucial to take advantage of the completed SEIS and DEC permits in process and, ultimately, return herbicides, used all over NYS and the USA, as a weed management tool available to Chautauqua Lake. Please go to our website, www.chqlake.org to make a PayPal contribution, mail a check to the Partnership at PO Box 337, Bemus Point, NY 14712 or contact Sara DeMink, Partnership Fundraising Chairperson, at sdemink@me.com.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of “Chautauqua Lake, A Great Lake Seeking a Greater Future”.

Chautauqua Lake Partnership

Officers, Advisors and Board Members