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Summer 2019 Update

We can all FINALLY welcome Summer 2019 to Chautauqua Lake!  Spring 2019 was, by all accounts, less than enjoyable for all of Western New York! That said, one advantage of the wet weather has been the lake water level being elevated to acceptable levels. With the wet spring behind us, we would like all of you to join us in the CELEBRATION of our current great weather & all that has been accomplished thus far in 2019 with Lake improvements! This update will provide you with a current status report regarding the lake.

All of the work to improve the quality of the Lake has progressed in an incremental manner since 2017. This time/labor intensive work began with the 2017 Bemus Bay Data Collection Project. The success of this pilot project led to the development of the 2018 Supplemental Environmental Impact Study which allowed for the return of permitted herbicide use in Spring 2018. This year we facilitated the treatment of almost 400 acres in the south basin including 1/3 of the worst areas in Burtis Bay. While much has been accomplished, there is a long road ahead to significant comprehensive lake improvement. 

The Mission of comprehensive lake improvement became a large “TEAM” effort beginning this spring 2019. With tremendous support from each of you, the committed support from all local municipality Trustees/Mayors/Supervisors, the Alliance, and County Executive George Borrello’s Weed Management Consensus Strategy (MOA), & the work of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership, we completed the largest herbicide application to date! While there is much more work to be done, this is indeed something to CELEBRATE!

Looking forward to the remainder of 2019 and 2020, CLP is actively working on a number of projects. We are supporting the placement of 2 MobiTracs to facilitate shoreline weed fragment removal. One machine is owned by the Town of Chautauqua & one by Chautauqua County. Both have been active this summer and are managed by Don Emhardt & the Town of Chautauqua. This is just a start as we pursue funding to aid in the purchase of additional units. Also, the CLP recently contracted for the initial stages internal loading phosphorus monitors which will be in place in late summer; one in the south basin & one in the north. This project will be directed by the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters & Human Health. As this program evolves & expands it will identify rates of internal phosphorus loading and begin to target areas for remediation to combat harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria.

CLP will also be active, along with the County, in the completion of the DEC-required weed surveys that will be used to support the anticipated municipality requests for herbicide permits in spring 2020. In addition, and critical to our ability to fund projects, CLP is actively pursuing multiple grant opportunities. In the recent past we have obtained grants for the partial funding of weed management (herbicides), harmful algal bloom phosphorus study & weed fragment/shoreline cleanup (MobiTracs). Currently we are pursuing grant opportunities with the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, New York State Consolidated Funding & local grant options through the Alliance.   

Getting to this point in comprehensive lake improvement has involved a significant commitment of volunteer time & work on the part of the CLP Board of Directors. We are currently in the middle of reorganization of the Board as several members have decided, for personal reasons, to move on and leave the Board. Their hard work & dedication is appreciated and will be missed. The reorganized makeup of the Board will soon be up on our website soon. 

Last and most important, CLP wants to extend a sincere, heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have supported us in working to make Chautauqua Lake a beautiful natural resource for all to enjoy! 

CLP Board of Directors