As in the last update, just three weeks ago, there’s much happening…
First, follow the link to an updated status of the lawsuit the Chautauqua Institution (Institution) filed against the NYSDEC, the Town of Ellery and now, with our successful intervention on behalf of the NYSDEC and Ellery, the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (Partnership). Motions to dismiss the suit and objections by the Institution will be heard in State Supreme Court in Buffalo/Erie County, preferred by the Institution to Chautauqua County, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 14.
Second, follow the links to two November 9 Post-Journal articles, photos and a summary used at last Thursday’s Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) meeting and showing the massive invasive weed infestation and fish kill in Chautauqua Lake’s Burtis Bay. This infestation and fish-kill is the result of 25 years of ineffective weed management. It didn’t need to happen.
Third, follow the link below to a November 11 letter to the Post-Journal editor identifying and addressing the lake’s problems, explaining how the Institution contributed to the problems for decades and how, through their lawsuit, the Institution is seeking to eliminate the opportunity lakeside communities now have to address their invasive weed problems. The writer suggests that the Institution should instead focus on cleaning up the damage it did.
Fourth, follow the link to a November 2 letter from the Partnership to Senator Young, Assemblyman Goodell and County Executive Borrello explaining how the Partnership is seeking NYSDEC enforcement of invasive species laws in Chautauqua Lake and a formal review of the environmental impacts of weed cutting, the first ever in New York State, and requesting the assistance of the Senator, Assemblyman and County Executive in facilitating a combination NYSDEC-permitted herbicide treatment and environmental impact-mitigated weed management program for 2019.
Fifth, follow the link to a November 12 article from the Post-Journal describing the results of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance’s status quo-biased secret evaluation of a dozen projects submitted by lake organizations and lakeside Towns. You’ll read that the Alliance has proposed $260,000 (87%) of local foundation funding for the same type of projects which have not made significant improvement in and, in some cases, have harmed the lake. Town of Ellicott, Busti, North Harmony and Ellery requests for $264,000 for 2019 herbicide-based invasive weed treatment, for which Towns would contribute an additional over $85,000 of their own funds, were given only token review. Ultimately, only $40,000 of the $264,000 (15%) requested by the Towns was conditionally recommended by the Alliance. Further, the Alliance gave no consideration of the relative needs of the Towns, including the well-known dire conditions in Burtis Bay (see photos above). This was very disappointing but, unfortunately not unexpected, given the Alliance’s historic inability to effectively implement its weed management-related Mission.
Finally, note that the Bemus Bay Property Owners alone and merged into the Partnership, still 100% volunteers, will celebrate its 2nd Anniversary on November 15. It’s now been two years since we first met with County Executive Horrigan and the Chautauqua Lake Association to discuss unresolved environmental issues in Chautauqua Lake.
It’s been an uphill battle against entrenched lake organizations, an ineffective Alliance and the Institution with its drinking water supply issues strongly supporting the status quo. County government has continued to “take a back seat” shifting lake-related funding and accountability to the “quasi-governmental”/501c(3) non-profit Alliance with a Board lead by a County legislator and including the County Executive.
Attached is a photo from our most recent Rally on Labor Day Weekend 2018, which drew 350 attendees, 35 times the 10 who attended the first meeting. Our mailing list now boasts over 700 full time and seasonal residents and lake users. A photo from the Rally follows.