Good afternoon all.
- We had our second meeting with the Ellery Town Council on February 9, providing additional detail on our progress and plans and answering key questions from the January meeting. The Council requested a February 15 meeting to focus on our requests.
- We met with representatives of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) on February 10, to explore the potential for a joint effort on nearshore and shoreline cleanup. Given the CWC’s focus on land-based watershed improvement (e. g., stream bank stabilization, shoreline property reserve, etc), it does not appear there’s significant potential for a common effort in this area. We’ll meet with the CWC again soon.
- The Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District (Allen Peterson et al) invited us to their February 14 meeting. We described BBPO objectives, progress and plans and requested their assistance. We hope to leverage the District’s agricultural expertise in development of safer, more cost effective and less labor intensive nearshore and shoreline weed and sludge cleanup methods. Given our unsuccessful collaboration with CLA in this area (see below, February 14), BBPO is now investigating improved methods with local contractors.
- We met with the Chautauqua Lake Association on February 14 in a County-organized meeting seeking to collaborate on development of a safer, more cost effective and less labor intensive near shore/shoreline weed/sludge cleanup method utilizing the up to $100k in NYS grants identified in the February 3 meeting with NYS Senator Young and Assemblyman Goodell.Unfortunately, CLA was satisfied with plans it presented in January. We were later told CLA had asked the County to apply for the grants we identified for more of the same. We expressed concern with the safety and reliability of this approach in a February 24 letter to the County fearing blue-green algae/cynaobacteria toxin-related sickness or concerns will make this mostly manual approach (young men/women in the water) unreliable.
- A special meeting focused on BBPO requests was held with the Ellery Town Council on February 15. At this meeting, the Council committed to be the 2017 Bemus Bay herbicide permit applicant with the NYS DEC and fund the $1750 contract with our permitting consultant, SOLitude Lake Management, Inc. A set of specific action plans was developed to advance permitting and contracting plans.
- We met with the Village of Bemus Point Board of Trustees on February 21 to request support of our efforts. Discussions with the Board and Mayor Bryan Dahlberg continue with likelihood that the Village will join with the Town and BBPO/CLP in support of this summer’s Bemus Bay activity.
- BBPO and our Town of Ellery Council point contact Mark Schlemmer met with SOLitude Lake Management, Inc. on February 23, to review SOLitude experience and organization and discuss DEC permitting requirements and SOLitude’s proposal for consulting services.
- On February 28, BBPO submitted an update on plans and a request for $75,000 to Senator Young to fund BBPO’s 2017 Bemus Bay weed management (herbicide) program/trial. A formal grant application was submitted on March 8.
- BBPO, Town of Ellery and SOLitude representatives had a second pre-application meeting with the DEC Region 9 on March 3 in Buffalo. SOLitude reviewed draft permit applications and supporting calculations/modelling, explored key questions and agreed on forward plans for permit-related notifications and submittals. The DEC stressed the importance of completion of a “lake plan” facilitating our permit.
- Recently, BBPO was absorbed into the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), a 501c3 non-profit corporation and the last organization to work with a lakeside Town (Ellicott) to get a DEC permit and use herbicides in the lake (Burtis Bay), in 2002. BBPO will now be “dba” (doing business as) the Chautauqua Lake Partnership) (CLP)with the benefits of incorporation and non-profit status. New officers were elected for the CLP: Jim Cirbus as President, Jim Wehrfritz as Vice President, Mike Latone as Treasurer, and Karen Rine as Secretary. Karen will provide CLP continuity, having been PCLP President since its formation. All BBPO group members will now become CLP members unless we hear otherwise from individuals in our group.
- As the CLP, a Technical Review Committee member, we participated in the final County-managedMacrophyte Management Strategy (MMS) Technical Review Committee meeting on March 6. At this meeting, CLP provided upgrade comments to MMS Implementation Section 15 and the Committee reached agreement on outstanding issues. The MMS will be finalized and presented to the County’s Planning and Economic Development Committee as complete on March 15, satisfying the longstanding NYS DEC requirement that a “lake plan” be in place to facilitate permitting.
- We will have our fourth meeting with the Town of Ellery Council tonight, Thursday, March 9 (7:30 pm at the Town Office on Sunnyside Drive in Bemus Point). We expect the Town to approve the SOLitude permitting contract, DEC permit applications and permit notification letter. We ask BBPO members to attend.
- We’ll participate in the regularly-scheduled Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) meeting tonight, March 9, and formally introduce the BBPO/CLP organization and its objectives.
Once the permitting process is underway, we’ll increase focus on fundraising from CLP/BBPO members, foundations,
Jim Cirbus, Jim Wehrfritz, Mike Latone, Karen Rine, Randy Present and Jamie Henderson
on behalf of Bemus Bay Property Owners (now Bemus Bay Property Owners dba Chautauqua Lake Partnership)