Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, August 11, 2016
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Linda Barber, Pierre Chagnon, Don Emhardt, David Spann, and David Wesp.
Absent: Sally Carlson, Vince Horrigan, Ken Shearer & Dave Shepherd.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director.
Founding Member Representatives in Attendance: Doug Conroe- Chautauqua Lake Association, Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Cassie Pinkoski – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District & Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Dave McCoy.
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 (5 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Chagnon made a motion to accept the minutes of the 6/9/16 Board Meeting as written, seconded by Mr. Spann. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on 2nd Annual Membership Drive:
Ms. Brickley reminded the group that all identified members (founding as well as potential) were sent a Membership Letter of Request and 2016-2017 Membership Form on 5/24/16. This was followed by the Executive Director going outbound to as many member meetings as possible this summer to give each an in-person update on Alliance activities over the last year as well as officially request ongoing membership. As of this Board meeting, a few founding members were unable to renew but the vast majority of founding members continue to support the Alliance. In summary, the first annual 2015-2016 membership drive which included a 50% dues waiver and payment deferral as options resulted in 31 founding members and $27k in revenue. The 2016-2017 membership drive (which no longer offered a discount on dues) currently has total anticipated revenues of $37k with $21k already collected. Ms. Brickley advised that there are still a few outstanding groups that have meetings pending and their membership status finalized.
IV. Update on 2015 WQIP Grant Awards and new 2016 State CFA Grant Submissions:
Ms. Brickley reminded the group that it is still the goal to get the four smaller WQIP projects in the ground this year (Prendergast, Goose, Bemus and Ball Creeks). The two larger dollar projects (Dutch Hollow & West Dutch Hollow) will require hiring an Engineering firm for final design so these two will not be physically implemented until 2017. Ms. Brickley advised the group that the state assistance contract between NYS DEC and the County for the Prendergast stream project is now fully executed and permits have been successfully issued. This site is the only one with a stop work date indicated in the DEC permit of 9/15/16. The Alliance is working on finalizing the subcontracts between the County and the implementing groups so that the Prendergast project can be installed prior to the stop work date this year. The project implementation team consists of the Alliance (contract work and grant administration), Soil & Water (design (4 of 6), permitting (4 of 6), construction contractor oversight and final site inspection) and CWC (education and outreach). Mr. Spann confirmed it is likely that Soil & Water will be able to complete this first project in the next month based on how things stand as of this Board meeting. The remaining five state assistance contracts between the DEC and the County are still in process and in the state’s hands but it is expected the other five will follow in the near future. Ms. Brickley advised Prendergast has acted as a lead project to best learn the details of the contracting process and the other five are very close behind. Soil & Water has also completed the permitting process for Goose and Bemus Creek projects but Ball Creek permitting was put on hold until several details could be clarified. A group meeting for Ball is scheduled for next week.
The Alliance recently submitted three new state CFA grant applications on behalf of several members as of the 7/31/16 application deadline. Ms. Brickley advised the group that there was a conscious effort to diversify the types of projects as well as participating member groups that were submitted this year because last years’ state grant applications and subsequent awards were all WQIP stream stabilizations. Those six WQIP projects will involve the 2015 implementing members for at least two years. Therefore this year, the Alliance partnered with the Village of Celoron to submit two tandem state grants: Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Grant and Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation – Environmental Protection Fund Municipal Grant. These grants are related to funding requested to implement the Chautauqua County and the Village of Celoron LWRP guidance recommendations specific to the Lucille Ball Memorial Park (Park) located along the shoreline of Chautauqua Lake. The Park has a deteriorating retaining wall that needs replaced along with plans for increased aquatic habitat via rock rip rap and increased public access via addition of ADA compliant boardwalk, ADA compliant kayak launch and new ADA compliant amenities building. The Alliance also partnered with the Village of Lakewood and the Town of Busti to submit a DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant. This project was also identified in the Chautauqua County LWRP. If awarded, this grant would fund a comprehensive stormwater management engineering study for the portion of watershed within both municipal boundaries, assessing the current system from a water quantity/capacity standpoint as was as quality. The study will include fully vetted recommendations for improvements to the system, with a focus on green infrastructure.
V. Update on Match Fund Proposals (Foundations & County):
Ms. Brickley updated the group on the efforts related to the Alliance proposal for a grants match fund supported by area foundations as well as the County. The idea is for the county and the local foundations to work together to expand match fund opportunities which leverages local fiscal assets in order to magnify the amount of outside state and federal grant funding that can be secured for the Chautauqua Lake watershed. Ms. Brickley informed the group that grant applications to five area foundations had been submitted the first week of March and were all decisioned by mid-June. Three of the five applications were approved for a total of $160k worth of foundation funded grant match support. Now that the local foundations have reached their final decisions, the Alliance will proceed in going back to the County with this update and request the County participate at the same funding level.
VI. Discussion of Office Relocation:
Ms. Brickley advised the group that the Alliance has successfully moved office locations under the joint efforts with the IDA/PED groups at the end of July. Mr. Chagnon noted the value of and appreciation for the support provided by the IDA/PED in hosting the Alliance at their new offices. Mr. Chagnon advised the group that there is a renewed possibility to partner with Long Point State Park for an office location down the road. The park’s bathhouse is currently underutilized and discussion of an Alliance office space here commenced in 2015 but due to the fact that the building is seasonal and not winterized, the option wasn’t feasible. However, discussions on this topic have been renewed and there is a possibility to partner with NYS OPRHP to make necessary upgrades to the building which would benefit both groups. This is a long range vision at this time.
VII. 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 advised that this Chautauqua Lake Rally at the Bemus Casino is scheduled for 8/20/16 from 9-11:30am. He also noted that he was unable to attend the Rally and Ms. Brickley would be taking on the MC role as well as presenting on Alliance efforts. Mr. Conroe from CLA will be giving a presentation on lake conditions as well as a presentation by O’Brien & Gere and a panel discussion on sewer and septic inspection efforts. Mr. McCoy also gave an update on the 2% Waterways local grant program noting that there were 26 applications received and that the ranking committee has met several times with one last meeting scheduled to finalize the project rankings. Mr. McCoy also stated he had been out to Bemus and observed the new CLA Boat Launch Stewards in action and that they were doing a really excellent job and was very friendly and knowledgeable. While observing the stewards, he commented that boaters were having a more difficult time getting in and out of launch due to lower lake levels. Ms. Barber asked for an update on discussion at the June Alliance meeting to double check the lake level gauge was working properly. Mr. McCoy advised that USGS did send a technician out to the gauge, with Mr. Conroe and Mr. McCoy on site. The technician confirmed the gauge was working and was properly calibrated. Mr. Conroe stated that CLA is making re-assessment of the desired lake level of 1308’ a priority as this was determined back in the 1970s.
- Mrs. Rine requested an update on where the Macrophyte Management Strategy guidance document was in the process of being finalized. Mr. McCoy advised the final draft was printed in April and was sent to the DEC and US Army Corp for review and comment but that there has been very little feedback as of yet.
- Mr. Jablonski was happy to announce the CWC annual dinner went very well and the guest speaker, Joel Dunn from the Chesapeake Conservancy, was a success. Based on lessons learned at the Chesapeake Conservancy, Mr. Jablonski is very interested in trying to pursue “precision conservation” here in Chautauqua County which requires detail survey work called LiDAR which once performed can be analyzed and further modeled to help with very detailed mapping of where to best apply environmental resources. He advised that he recently learned there has been some LiDAR done on behalf of South & Center Sewer District but in order to produce full county-wide LiDAR data set, it would take approximately $150k and that the CWC is currently looking for partners on such an effort. He also noted that Chesapeake Conservancy has offered to do the additional modeling needed based on the county-wide data if CWC is successful in leading the effort on completing LiDAR. Mr. Conroe commented that this type of data would be helpful for stormwater management efforts as well. On another topic, Mr. Jablonski noted that the CLMC used to come up with priority projects and would adopt a plan for the coming year and wanted to know how this could transition to the Alliance. Ms. Brickley advised that a prioritization process has and continues to be the goal but that there simply isn’t a long list of member requested projects on hand yet. Mr. Conroe commented that the CLMC really already left a legacy prioritization documented in the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Plan and that that is what should be referenced. Ms. Barber noted that the Alliance Scientific Review & Advisory Committee should be focused on review of completed recommendations and confirmation that the priorities identified in the Watershed Plan are still applicable.
- Mr. Conroe gave an update for the CLA. The harvesters were out early in the season and mainly cutting curly leaf pondweed which had been thick this year in the south basin but that it has been fairly weed free after the natural die off of the curly leaf. Milfoil growth has been generally minimal in both basins but more elodea growth this year. Mr. Conroe advised that WNY PRISM was back this summer for a week and they, along with CLA, resurveyed the outlet where water chestnut had been found last year and detected none. This site will still be resurveyed every year based on length of time the chestnut nutlets can survive. CLA will also have Bob Johnson out this fall for the annual plant survey, with a focus on hydrilla. Mr. Conroe also advised they are very happy with the new boat launch steward program and is amazed by how many boats have been tracked just at a couple of launches and that some of the captured data would be part of his presentation at the 8/20 Lake Rally. Mr. Conroe also noted that the CLA was going through some leadership changes and that Paul Stage was set to take over as the new Board Chair at the CLA as Craig Butler has stepped down. Lastly, Mr. Conroe advised that based on Sheldon Foundation preferences, the Alliance, CLA and CWC would likely proceed with a joint grant application at the end of this year. Ms. Brickley advised she already had one on one meetings with both Mr. Conroe and Mr. Jablonski on this and the next step would be a group meeting.
- Ms. Connelly advised the group that Parks had recently started working with Soil & Water to do some erosion control projects and more details to come.
- Mr. Chagnon gave an update on behalf of the Audubon and their efforts to eradicate water chestnut from their ponds. He noted that efforts to rid the preserve of this invasive started in earnest about four years ago and was focused on hand pulling the first couple of years. Due to the level of infestation and the high man power required for manual removal, the Audubon proceeded with a herbicide application in a portion of Big Pond by the third and fourth years. They have seen success from the combined water drawdown prior to winter and the herbicide applications. There are plans for another herbicide application this year but it is hoped that it can then be managed with just hand pulling by next year.
Mr. Chagnon made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:16, seconded by Mr. Wesp. The motion passed unanimously.