Following the completion of impact statements and requirements from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, dates of herbicide application on Chautauqua Lake have been scheduled, the Chautauqua Lake Partnership announced Saturday.
Ellery served as the lead agency in hopes of getting herbicide use as an options for several towns and villages and was required to facilitate a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
“Targeted use of herbicides now rejoins weed harvesting in the Chautauqua Lake weed management toolkit as in other parts of New York state and the country after what has effectively been a 25-year absence,” the CLP said in a statement.
Following the completion of the SEIS, the state DEC issued permits for herbicide use on 191 acres of the lake, covering eight of the 11 proposed treatment areas. Locations not approved, according to the partnership, include near Bemus Point, between the ferry landing and Interstate 86 bridge; Point Stockholm/Greenhurst; and Stow, between Tom’s Point wetlands and the I-86 bridge.
The CLP said herbicide treatment will take place Monday, June 11, and Tuesday, June 12.
Final notifications, including areas to be treated and water use restrictions, will be distributed by letter to property owners around the lake and downstream and others specified in the permits, through media notices and sign postings at access points.
In its statement, the CLP said, “Herbicides were used by the DEC and the Chautauqua Lake Association in conjunction with CLA weed harvesting to successfully manage invasive weeds in Chautauqua Lake from the mid to late 1900s. A DEC-required Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement supportive of such treatments, the only such requirement in the state, was completed in 1990.
“Due to “onerous permit conditions and threats of lawsuits by local opponents the CLA ceased treatments in 1992.”
A limited, 70-acre Burtis Bay treatment by the town of Ellicott and supported by the CLP, was successfully completed in 2002. However, the partnership said DEC “then required an update to the 1990 SEIS before further permits would be granted.”
The CLP supported a 30-acre herbicide treatment by Ellery and Bemus Point, a DEC supervised Data Collection Project, in three areas of Bemus Bay in June 2017. No weed harvesting was required in the Bay after that treatment.
“Project results, including the effectiveness of invasive weed control and the success of potential impact mitigations, were reported to the DEC for use in the 2018 SEIS,” the CLP said in its statement.
The Draft SEIS was issued by Ellery on Feb. 8 of this year. Copies of the Draft SEIS and all Appendices were provided to the DEC, the villages of Lakewood, Celoron and Bemus Point, and the towns of Busti, Ellicott and North Harmony, Chautauqua County and 45 other agencies and organizations. A public hearing was held on March 1 to obtain verbal comments and written comments were accepted through March 16.
More than 800 comments from agencies, organizations and individuals were addressed in the Final SEIS issued by Ellery on April 5. The State Environmental Quality Review Act process was completed April 17; the total cost exceeded $250,000.
On a parallel path to SEIS development and SEQRA completion, nine permit applications for herbicide treatment along eleven Chautauqua Lake shoreline communities were submitted to the DEC by the towns of Ellery, Ellicott, Busti and North Harmony and the village of Celoron on March 16. Letters describing treatment plans were sent to over 2000 shoreline property owners with only 10 letters of objection returned to the DEC.
The partnership said permits have been issued and “targeted herbicide treatments will be completed in the eight permitted treatment areas on June 11 and June 12 to the extent individual and municipality funding is available.”