2018 Labor Day Rally and Chautauqua Institution Lawsuit

By August 19, 2018 News

The Chautauqua Lake Partnership, Inc. (CLP), will host its 2018 Labor Day Rally at The Village Casino, on Saturday, September 1, 2018, from 9:00 to 11:00 am.

We need all Year-round and seasonal residents and lake users to participate and “Let Your Voice Be Heard” as you hear about how the “Chautauqua Lake Partnership is Gaining Ground on Effective Lake Management”.

At the Rally, you’ll hear more about…

  • The 6 month/$250,000 Town of Ellery (Lead Agency) Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), returning herbicide treatment of invasive non-native weeds to the Chautauqua Lake toolkit after a 25-year absence,
  • page1image2957840The granting of permits to the Towns of Ellery, North Harmony, Busti and Ellicott and the Village of Celoron for herbicide treatment of 191 acres offshore these municipalities,
  • How lack of funding limited herbicide treatments from the 191 acres permitted to 81 acres treated offshore five Chautauqua Lake communities,
  • How these treated areas are now free of invasive weeds, that weed cutting in these areas has been unnecessary and that there is little to no shoreline accumulation along the areas’ shores, and,
  • How the 2018 herbicide treatments in Sunset, Bemus, Bly and Ashville Bays and offshore the Town of Busti have allowed property owners and lake users to enjoy invasive weed- and odor-free swimming, skiing, boating, fishing and general enjoyment of the lake.

You’ll also hear about plans already begun to support 2019 herbicide treatments…

  • Community Outreach: How the Burtis Bay and other communities are mobilizing to influence municipality, county and state government to support and fund the program,
  • Fall 2018 Weed Surveys: That a contract has been executed to conduct DEC-protocol weed type and density surveys of over 3000 acres of the lake’s littoralzone along the shoreline from Sunset Bay and the Chautauqua/North Harmony Town line south/east to the Outlet,
  • Optimal 2019 Weed Management: Partnership efforts to encourage the Chautauqua Lake Association to take advantage of a $20,000 Sheldon Foundation grant and join in planning a joint weed management program for 2019 using an optimal combination of environmental impact-mitigated weed harvesting and targeted herbicide use,
  • The Chautauqua Institution’s lawsuit against the Town of Ellery and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): Countering the Institution’sefforts to invalidate the SEIS and prevent herbicide use in all communities, Towns and Villages in all areas of Chautauqua Lake from Mayville to Jamestown.

In the lawsuit, Chautauqua Institution management is essentially saying that they know what’s best for the tens of thousands of year-round and seasonal Chautauqua County residents/taxpayers and lake users and lakeside Towns and Villages. Obviously, we do not support the Institution’s objectives and take exception to its unsupported views on herbicides. We know many of the Institution’s residents feel as we do.

It’s clear that the Institution’s dependence on Chautauqua Lake for drinking water is of utmost concern to them, as it should be. That drinking water is already threatened by blue green algae (cyanobacteria) toxins and, potentially, non- permitted herbicide uses near the Institution’s drinking water intake. In September 2017, the Institution had to institute water use restrictions due to cyanobacteria toxin contamination in the water supply. And on June 10, 2018, prior to DEC- permitted herbicide treatment miles down-lake, triclopyr, a terrestrial and aquatic herbicide, was discovered near the Institution’s drinking water intake.

In its lawsuit and other related communications, the Institution fails to mention these facts and further fails to mention that, as predicted, permit-required watertesting at the Institution’s intake and independent testing done by the ChautauquaUtility District (CUD), which is responsible for the Institution’s drinking water, confirmed that no herbicides reached the Institution water supply as a result of down-lake treatments.

Given the Institution’s concern regarding the quality of its drinking water, the Partnership was surprised to learn in early 2018 that the Institution and CUD did not conclusively know if their water treatment process removed all cyanobacteria toxins, did not have contingency plans for drinking water contamination, and had not identified a long-term alternative to the use of Chautauqua Lake water for their drinking supply. We hope the Institution and CUD are making progress in these areas. However, we are very disappointed with their attempts to conflate their issues with the sorely-needed, well-studied and DEC-permitted targeted use of herbicides far down-lake.

The Institution has a record of focusing primarily on Institution needs. We’reunaware of attempts to address problems experienced by other lake dwellers and users. Notably, the Institution has only recently made efforts to reduce its significant algae, cyanobacteria and weed-feeding nutrient loading to the lake. As such, we believe the Institution’s newfound effort to limit lake-wide weed management to unregulated weed cutting, proven ineffective after a 25-year trial and with numerous negative environmental impacts, is but a distraction. The distraction is intended to focus Institution residents and public attention away from their water supply issues to unsubstantiated claims against the well-studied, planned and permitted herbicide use by lakeside municipalities. We believe this distraction is intended to buy time as the Institution seeks to resolve long-overdue drinking water-related issues, all at the expense of thousands of year-round and seasonal lake residents and users in the lake’s seven shoreline Towns and Villages.

The key to continuing a Chautauqua Lake herbicide treatment program into 2019 is grassroots community action by year-round and summer residents and visitors. This action includes garnering support among residents to encourage government representatives and the public to counter the Institution’s lawsuit and support the continuation of DEC-permitted herbicide treatments.

The CLP has provided specific suggestions on how to implement that community action on the chqlake.org website. A portion of the CLP’s 2018 Labor Day Rally will be dedicated to reporting out on these activities and organizing communities. We suggest getting members of your community to attend the Rally as a group.

Chautauqua Lake Partnership, Inc.

Officers, Board Members and Advisors

E-Mail: clp@chqlake.org
USPS: PO Box 337, Bemus Point, NY 14712 Website: www.chqlake.org