Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, April 20, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Linda Barber, Sally Carlson, Pierre Chagnon, Don Emhardt, David Shepherd and Dave Spann.
Absent: Vince Horrigan, Ken Shearer and Dave Wesp.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director and Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Doug Champ – Jamestown Riverfront Management Council & interested citizen. Randy Sweeney – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Mary Leeland Ross, Craig Butler, Gordon Phillips, Sara Demink.
Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine, Lance Spicer – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Danielle and Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Allen Peterson – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Arden Johnson – Town of Ellery, Bryan Dahlberg – Village of Bemus Point, Jim Cirbus, Jim & Debbie Wehrfritz, Mike & Pam LaTone – Chautauqua Lake Partnership, and Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County.
I. Call to Order:
Ms. Barber called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:00 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (6 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 3/9/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the nine funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- Construction status:
- No change from Mar 2017; continue preparation/coordination for 2017 schedule and tasks
- CWC first round of invoices paid 3/17; second round in preparation
- M/WBE and EEO quarterly reports submitted early April
- Narrative/Financial Quarterly reports due 4/30
- Outside engineer subcontracts for Dutch Hollow & West Dutch Hollow in progress
- Budget modification requests for some projects in progress with NYSDEC
- No other changes from Mar 2017
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek design/permitting/construction management awards to Bergmann Associates; Bergmann subcontractor Prudent started on site today for surveying work
- Other WQIP Updates:
- Ball Creek & Goose Creek RFQ for engineering support services issued 4/18 (due 5/2)
- Ball Creek site preparation planning in progress (invasive species)
Lakewood / Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Agreements between Village & County (match) and Village & Alliance (grant admin) approved 4/10
- Alliance coordinating remaining agreement between Lakewood and Town of Busti (local match)
- Request for Proposals (RFP) for Village engineer planned for approval 4/24 (release soon after)
- Near-term objective: Facilitate execution of Grant Agreement between Lakewood and EFC to secure initial $50K payment and commence engineering study (Target start: Spring/Summer 2017)
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Extension request for 2013 LWRP approved
- Quarterly reports submitted early April
- Initial reimbursement from State received by Village ca. March
- Working to consolidate/coordinate engineering design and upcoming construction bid under single phase of construction utilizing separate LWRP grants (2013 & 2016)
- Working to establish State contract for 2016 LWRP grant for target implementation in Fall 2017
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- State Assistance Contract extension complete between State and County
- Coordination among Alliance and implementing partners in progress
- No other change from Mar 2017
IV. Discussion on Developing a Member Letter Campaign:
Mr. McCoy advised the group of the increased efforts on the part of County representatives to lobby at various political levels, advocating for assistance with water resource protection and improvement needs in Chautauqua County both for Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake and others, highlighted by a recent trip to Washington, DC and an upcoming trip to Albany pending. In discussion with Mr. Chagnon, the idea of amplifying these efforts with encouraging a letter writing campaign, whereby the Alliance facilitate individual Member organizations writing letters to our representatives periodically. Given the Membership base and its representation of various community organizations and municipalities, this would help to show additional community support for these active efforts to draw attention to our resource and environmental needs. Ms. Barber commented that this made a lot of sense given range within our membership groups. It was noted that Mr. Chagnon, Mr. McCoy and Ms. Brickley will meet to brainstorm on process.
V. Scientific Review & Advisory Committee:
Based on discussion by the Alliance Board on February 9th, it was suggested that the committee members all identify their top area of concern or highest priority area at their next meeting and then attempt to prioritize that list via group vote. Ms. Brickley advised the group is working on identifying three short term and three long term priority project types and will be meeting next week on the 26th to try and collate everyone’s suggestions.
VI. Reminder on upcoming May Member Meeting:
Ms. Brickley advised the group that the annual May Member Meeting will be held next month on the same date and time as the regular Board meeting, which will be held directly after the Member Meeting. The main agenda items will be a review of the 2016 Annual Report and elections for open Board positions. Therefore, a 2017 Member Voting Form will be distributed via email shortly for consideration.
VII. Discussion of Dues:
Members of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) recently decided to renew their 2016-2017 membership late in the year and have inquired about establishing a pro-rate policy. Ms. Brickley advised of alternative options offered such as waiting a few months for the new 7/2017-6/2018 membership drive or deferred payment until the end of the year. She noted that the Alliance is very limited in its revenue streams, dues being one of three currently established, as it does not actively fundraise locally to avoid competing with fellow non-profits. Mr. Shepherd suggested the Executive Committee meet to discuss further and therefore made a motion to table, seconded by Mr. Chagnon.
VIII. Presentation by Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP):
Mr. Wehrfritz, the new Vice-President the CLP gave a presentation to those in attendance on their renewed non-profit organization, the recent merge with the Bemus Bay Property Owners, their current focus on proposed in-lake actions in Bemus Bay and several requests of the Alliance.
This is a homeowner group first established by participating residents in Burtis Bay in the south basin of the lake, who were the last group to secure a herbicide permit and implement application in the early 2000s and who stayed active in recent years participating in the completion of the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS). The CLP recently renewed by merging with a growing number of Bemus Bay homeowners in the north basin.
A brief summary of the presentation includes their strong belief that current in-lake management approaches are not sufficient and has recently partnered with the Town of Ellery and the Village of Bemus Point on submitting a permit application for herbicide treatment for up to 60 acres along two miles of shoreline in Bemus Bay in order to try an approach to weed management not currently being done. The other main focus for this group proposed actions’ include development of new and innovative process and equipment for near shore clean-up of weed fragments and sludge. The CLP listed benefits of such actions to be improved aesthetics and general enjoyment, improved property values, improvement for tourism and local business. As a renewed member of the Alliance, Mr. Wehrfritz presented a number of requests of the Alliance focused on support for their herbicide and near-shore clean-up proposed actions including: $10,000 in funding from the Alliance; letters of support drafted and sent to Senator Kathy Young, County Executive Vince Horrigan, and local foundations in support of their already submitted requests for state and local funding; letter of support to the NY DEC Region 9 Director supporting the request for the pending herbicide permit.
Mr. Chagnon requested an electronic version of the presentation given to Ms. Brickley to distribute to all Alliance Members, primarily for those groups not in attendance for this Board meeting.
The presentation was followed by some question and answer discussions. Questions included the anticipated dispersion if the proposed herbicide application, distance of application from shore, whether there are other lakes that serve as reliable BMPs (Best Management Practices) for these types of proposed actions, company assisting the groups with the permit and application if approved by DEC, history of the last Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from 1990 and its convoluted connection and evolution of the MMS as an guidance document, what post treatment testing was planned and plant density in this area relative to others and who had the CLP conferred with from a science based approach in developing their proposed action items. Mr. Wehrfritz commented that there are better application methods and approved chemical options than the last treatment done some 15 years ago in the south basin and that Bemus Bay is a good site as it fairly self-contained geographically, with no nearby drinking water intakes. They have hired Solitude for the herbicide permit request (and actual chemical treatment if approved) and have been assisted by Mr. Erlandson from early on, a very well respected retired JCC science professor, when he assisted in assessing several sludge samples provided by CLP from their properties.
Open Floor / Member Updates:
Ms. Barber opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Mr. McCoy gave brief updates on multiple fronts: The County 2% Waterways grants program received 17 submissions this year and are currently being scored; two recent roundtables were conducted with representation from multiple local and state agencies to once again discuss the environmental and funding needs in the County as well as a roundtable regarding the lake levels and Warner Dam; the representative from Pittsburgh Army Corp gave us very good news that the recently revamped project related to broad range of needs in Chautauqua Lake including additional erosion mitigation studies in the many other sub-watersheds and tributaries that feed into the lake (such as was done on Dutch Hollow and Goose Creeks that have led to grant funding successes), dredging assessment, etc. has been approved for their 7001 recommended projects list, which then would need approval through the next federal WRDA bill; and the next annual County/Alliance Chautauqua Lake rally will be held August 19th at the Bemus Casino.
- Mrs. Rine expressed that she is excited by the recent CLP changes and sees it as a real opportunity and encourages others to keep an open mind. She also advised that the CLP will be holding their own separate Lake rally at the Bemus Casino on May 27th.
- Mr. Johnson expressed that the Town of Ellery supports the CLP’s herbicide permit application and management approach 100%. He stated he has lived on the lake for over 50 years and that there needs to be change. The Town is paying $1700 for the permit work but that they are not covering any other costs.
- Ms. Connelly advised that Long Point State park is participating in a state wide clean-up day on May 6th and that volunteers are welcome.
- Mr. Champ commented on the grant opportunities through Appalachian Regional Council and of upcoming submission deadline of May 31st.
- Mr. Jablonski advised that CWC is holding a public presentation forum for Fredonia professor and recent graduate student Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry and Jennifer Russo, respectively, to present on their research and current efforts related to algae in Chautauqua Lake to be held May 2nd at St. Timothy’s Church in Bemus Point at 7pm.
- Ms. Brickley reminded the group of the outlet and river clean-up being organized for May 20th by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association and that volunteers were needed. You can register to volunteer on their website and it’s a really impactful event that has started to become an annual event. CLA is a co-sponsor and will be providing equipment and other resources.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:37 pm.