Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, August 13, 2020
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Paul Wendel, David Shepherd, Mike Latone, and Rob Yates
Absent: Jim Andrews and Pierre Chagnon
Staff in Attendance: Vince Horrigan – Alliance Interim Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager, and Taylor West – Alliance Communications Coordinator.
I. Call to Order:
T. McCague called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:30 PM. A quorum of 7 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present.
II. Approval of 7/18/2020 Minutes:
B. Erickson made a motion to accept the minutes from the 7/18/2020 Public Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and was approved unanimously.
III. . Alliance Committees Update
1.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance does not have a Lake Management Committee meeting scheduled at this time but indicated that the Alliance may host a meeting in September.
B. Erickson indicated that the Chautauqua Lake Association’s (CLA) harvesting and shoreline operations are going as planned and indicated that the CLA GPS units are working well.
D. Shepherd asked how the CLA quantifies the amount of plants and debris they remove from the lake.
B. Erickson indicated that the harvesting statistics are reported in tons of wet plants and debris. B. Erickson indicated that the trucks are not weighed every time they offload, but rather the CLA uses an average tonnage per truck to report the quantities of plants and debris removed from the lake.
D. Shepherd asked if these values are comparable over time.
B. Erickson indicated that the values are comparable over time.
2.) Alliance Watershed Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Committee does not have any updates at this time as New York State (NYS) has not opened the 2020 Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), but he indicated that the Alliance has a slate of candidate projects ready if/when the CFA opens.
D. Shepherd indicated that he is interested compiling a group of individuals who could draft a list of general watershed best management practices (BMPs).
V. Horrigan indicated that Alliance Staff could contact D. Shepherd to schedule a time to talk about this in more detail.
D. Shepherd indicated that this group could look into this with a goal of having a deliverable to present to the Board.
B. Erickson indicated that J. Shedd should be included in the group as he has a lot of experience with implementing watershed BMPs at the Chautauqua Institution.
D. Shepherd agreed that this would be a good idea.
M. Jabot indicated that the BMPs implemented at the Chautauqua Golf Course could serve as a good example.
D. Shepherd indicated that the Village of Lakewood’s Crescent Creek, Grandview, and Chautauqua Avenue Projects are also good examples.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance Staff could set up a call with D. Shepherd to discuss this in greater detail.
3.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
M. Jabot indicated that the DAR Committee hosted its inaugural meeting Monday 8/10/2020. M. Jabot indicated that every member of the Committee attended this meeting. M. Jabot indicated that he reviewed the rules with the Committee, and the Committee’s work items and communications are planned to be routed via the Alliance Board. M. Jabot indicated that the Committee held a successful kick-off meeting and anticipates conducting another meeting in mid to late-September and a follow-up meeting in October.
M. Latone thanked M. Jabot for updating the group on the DAR Committee.
T. McCague thanked all the individuals who are leading and serving on Alliance Committees.
IV. Harvesting/Near-Shore Maintenance Update (CLA/Town of Chautauqua)
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has shared CLA and Town of Chautauqua harvesting, near-shore, and shoreline data with the municipalities to illustrate the work that has been completed thus far in 2020.
T. West shared a series of data tables and maps with the Alliance Board and indicated that the Alliance Staff have been compiling and analyzing the data since early June when the CLA’s harvesting operations began. T. West indicated that the Alliance staff have been comparing the GPS tracking data with the CLA’s work reports, which appear to be in good agreement.
V. Horrigan indicated that the data may also be incorporated into the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS) by the County.
D. Shepherd asked if these services are a value to CLA management.
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA’s GPS units allow for live updates on equipment position and movement.
M. Latone asked if this has helped the CLA?
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA has changed their management techniques this year. B. Erickson indicated that the CLA has historically moved around the lake in a more variable pattern, but is now moving in a generally circular motion around the lake. B. Erickson indicated that the two (2) GPS programs are relatively similar to each other, but indicated that the CLA’s GPS units have integrated live tracking technology. B. Erickson indicated that the CLA has been publishing weekly work plans and work reports online to inform the public about their activities.
M. Latone indicated that he reached out the P. Stage to express his thoughts on CLA’s work this season. M. Latone indicated that the CLA is doing a great job.
T. McCague indicated that he has found the CLA’s work plans extremely helpful as a riparian owner.
B. Erickson thanked everyone for their praise.
T. West shared the joint-operations data with the Board and indicated that the joint-operations are going well. T. West indicated that a lot of the joint-operations work has taken place in Hartfield and Upper and Lower Dewittville Bays within the Town of Chautauqua due to large accumulations of floating plants and debris.
V. Horrigan indicated that the joint-operations have the potential to cover the whole north basin in approximately 5 days.
D. Shepherd asked why some of the tracks are overlapping.
T. West indicated that the tracks display two Mobitracs working together as part of the joint-operations crew. T. West indicated that on average, two (2) to three (3) Mobitracs are working with the CLA support vessel each week.
B. Erickson indicated that the Mobitracs are very efficient in deeper water, but indicated that the Mobitracs can’t clean-up the shoreline, which is why the CLA shoreline crews perform shoreline cleanup.
D. Shepherd asked about frequency at which the municipalities receive this information.
V. Horrigan indicated that Alliance attempts to send them the information on a monthly basis in the form of a hard copy.
V. Survey Updates
1.) Third-Party Monitoring (Princeton Hydro)
R. Perry indicated that Princeton Hydro was out on Chautauqua Lake from 8/11/2020 to 8/12/2020 performing the post-treatment survey. R. Perry indicated that Princeton Hydro can start interpreting the data and preparing a report now that the post-treatment survey is complete, which would be available later this fall.
2.) CLA-CLP 2020 Survey Coordination
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance hosted a meeting in July among the CLA, Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), G. Borrello, A. Goodell, and P. Wendel to identify areas of common agreement. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance came out of that meeting with three (3) action items.
V. Horrigan indicated that the group came to the conclusion that the lake levels may need to be reevaluated. V. Horrigan indicated that as a first step, the members of the group would setup a meeting with the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and others to see what we can do to potentially increase the lake levels.
V. Horrigan indicated that the group was in favor of improving the efficiency of the herbicide survey and treatment application process.
V. Horrigan indicated that the group was in favor of a third-party macrophyte survey that everyone could support. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance solicited recommendations from the CLA and CLP for third-party macrophyte survey contractors. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance received six (6) recommended survey contractors, who were then sent a survey Request for Proposals (RFP). V. Horrigan indicated that three (3) organizations sent proposals in response to the RFP. V. Horrigan indicated that these contractors consisted of Princeton Hydro, Northeast Aquatic Research, and North Carolina State University (NC State). V. Horrigan indicated that NC State submitted the most cost-effective proposal. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance solicited feedback from CLA and CLP regarding the three (3) proposals. V. Horrigan indicated that the CLP will lead the third-party lake-wide survey, which could be used as part of the herbicide permit application process.
M. Latone indicated that NC State could tentatively start their survey on or around August 24th. M. Latone indicated that CLP reached out to Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists last fall to solicit his interest in performing a macrophyte survey, but they declined the offer.
D. Shepherd asked how the third-party survey will compare to the work that has been performed by Racine-Johnson.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance survey RFP cited the Johnson Rake-Toss Method, which is also the same method Princeton Hydro is using this year as part of their third-party monitoring work. R. Perry indicated that it is up to the CLP to decide on a final scope of work and budget for the third-party lake-wide macrophyte survey.
M. Latone indicated that the CLP does not plan on changing the RFP.
R. Perry indicated that many of the perceived or real deviations occur after the raw data are collected in the interpretation step. R. Perry indicated that the RFP attempts to get some unity amongst the various surveys as it relates to the raw data collection.
P. Wendel asked if the survey would interfere with the NYS DEC-Army Corps of Engineers HABITATS Pilot Program.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has mentioned the planned lake maintenance and research activities to the NYS DEC.
B. Erickson indicated that the Chautauqua Lake Level Rule Curve may need to be calibrated as he heard the data collection point may have been changed.
VI. At-Large Board Vacancy Nominees
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has solicited nominations from the Alliance Membership to fill M. Jabot’s At-Large Board position. V. Horrigan indicated that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) nominated Jeanne Wiebenga, and the CLP nominated Mary Hutchings for the Board vacancy. V. Horrigan recommended the Executive Committee interview the candidates before the Board makes a decision at the September Board Meeting.
T. McCague indicated that fortunately the Alliance is blessed with two stellar nominees but indicated that he is in favor of scheduling interviews with each candidate within the next 30 days.
M. Latone asked V. Horrigan to list the members of the Executive Committee.
V. Horrigan indicated that P. Chagnon, T. McCague, M. Jabot, and J. Andrews comprise the Executive Committee.
M. Latone made a motion that the Alliance Executive Committee schedule interviews with each candidate over the next 30 days. B. Erickson seconded the motion.
M. Latone suggested that the Alliance Board vote via email prior to the September public meeting.
V. Horrigan recommended that the Executive Committee decide on how to proceed with a vote.
M. Jabot indicated that he agrees with M. Latone.
T. McCague called the motion to a Board vote, which carried unanimously.
VII. MCA Scoring Tool Update
R. Perry indicated the MCA Tool update is underway, and the written questionnaire phase is closed. R. Perry indicated that the EcoLogic/Anchor QEA team has moved towards the small group discussion phase of the update. R. Perry indicated that a scheduling poll has been sent out to solicit availability to participate in the small group discussions during the week of August 17th. R. Perry indicated that the plan is to have the updated Draft MCA Tool recommendations around August 27th, which would allow time for potential revisions and/or feedback. R. Perry indicated that the final version of the updated MCA Tool would be presented to the Alliance Membership at the September 10th Alliance Public Board Meeting.
VIII. 2020-2021 Alliance RFA Update
R. Perry indicated that the Local Funding Request for Application is underway. R. Perry indicated that all Alliance Members received the solicitation on July 23rd. R. Perry reiterated that Alliance Staff are available to help members with the application process. R. Perry indicated that applications won’t need to be changed between the time the MCA Tool update is released and when the applications are due. R. Perry indicated the application format will not change. R. Perry indicated that Alliance Members will have 2 weeks to edit their applications once they see the new scoring criteria if they see fit. R. Perry indicated that late-September and October will be busy as the Alliance Staff and Board will be reviewing and recommending proposals for funding. R. Perry indicated that the funding announcements will be made between January and February 2021 by the participating local Foundations.
IX. The Jefferson Project Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Board unanimously approved to spend $10,000 to support this project. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has contracted with Stantec to perform boots on the ground work. V. Horrigan indicated that the project will start on or around August 24th. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance and The Jefferson Project are in the final stages of a coordinated news release that is scheduled to be sent out to the media on 8/19/2020. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is the lead organization and is partnering with the County of Chautauqua and the Chautauqua Institution. V. Horrigan indicated that the Chautauqua Institution has the ability to provide a lot of logistical, lodging, and laboratory support. V. Horrigan indicated that this project will continue until the end of November 2020. V. Horrigan indicated that The Jefferson Project will be deploying two (2) vertical profilers in Chautauqua Lake; one (1) in the north basin and one (1) in the south basin. V. Horrigan indicated that there will also be Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers that have the capability to look at the currents in Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated that The Jefferson Project and Stantec will also be conducting water sampling in addition to the work being performed by the vertical profilers. V. Horrigan indicated that The Jefferson Project consists of multiple partners, which include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), The FUND for Lake George, and IBM. V. Horrigan indicated that work being performed by The Jefferson Project along with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and the State University at New York at Fredonia will be done in a coordinated way with a common overall goal. The Alliance’s DAR Committee will also be kept involved. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has secured $25,000 in private funding towards this effort. V. Horrigan indicated that P. Chagnon and P. Wendel have sent a letter to K. Hochul asking for State support of the project. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is optimistic that the State can provide some additional funding to help reach the funding goal. V. Horrigan indicated that all of the project partners are very excited to help understand and address HABs in Chautauqua Lake.
X. NYS DEC / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chautauqua Lake HABITATS Pilot Project Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the United States Army Corps of Engineers will be on Chautauqua Lake starting on or around 8/24/20 at Long Point State Park.
D. Shepherd asked if The Jefferson Project’s work will complement the work being performed by SUNY Fredonia.
R. Perry indicated that the data would complement and build upon the existing data.
XI. 2020-2021 Membership Drive Update
T. West indicated that the Alliance Staff sent out the initial membership solicitation to 26 organizations on 6/12/2020 via email. T. West indicated that the Alliance made follow-up phone calls to these organizations on 7/28/2020 to confirm receipt of the membership applications. T. West indicated that the Alliance has received 16 membership renewals to date, which includes 7 of 9 municipalities. T. West indicated that two (2) organizations have declined to renew their membership with the Alliance citing financial reasons, but they have indicated that they support the Alliance’s mission.
M. Latone asked T. West to inform the Board regarding the outstanding renewals.
T. West indicated that the Alliance is missing membership renewal information from the CLA, CLP, CWC, ACNC, RTPI, Town of Ellery, Town of Ellicott, and Chautauqua Cattaraugus Board of Realtors.
V. Horrigan indicated that RTPI indicated that they are intending on renewing their membership.
V. Horrigan indicated that the organizations mentioned above have until 9/25/2020 to renew their membership with the Alliance if they wish to apply for the 2020-2021 Consolidated Local Funding opportunity.
M. Jabot indicated that the CWC’s Board voted to renew their membership with the Alliance.
M. Latone indicated that the CLP would have a signed check sent to the Alliance soon.
XII. CLAD Update
T. West provided the Alliance Board with an update regarding the CLAD program. T. West shared a CLAD survey slide with the Board, which displayed the preliminary draft results of the Alliance’s CLAD surveys on 6/18, 7/21, and 8/10 in Bemus Bay. T. West indicated that these surveys are biovolume surveys, which display the percentage of the water column occupied by plants. T. West indicated that these three (3) surveys are part of the Alliance’s field validation phase, which involves validating the sonar-collected biovolume data by comparing it with rake-toss data and underwater camera footage of the plant community. T. West indicated that the Alliance has also performed surveys in Lakewood and Sherman’s Bay. T. West indicated that the Alliance anticipates conducting the program through the summer and fall this year.
R. Yates asked what biovolume ratings the red displays.
T. West indicated that the red represents dense, usually topped out vegetation.
R. Yates asked about the time it took to perform each survey.
T. West indicated that each survey took between 2 and 2.5 hours to survey approximately 40 acres, which includes setup and takedown of the technology.
M. Latone indicated the data generally lines up with what he has observed in Bemus Bay.
V. Horrigan indicated that on 6/18/20 we observed high densities of macrophytes. V. Horrigan indicated that the 7/21 survey was after the curly-leaf die-off. V. Horrigan indicated that the 8/10 survey shows macrophyte growth after the decay of the curly-leaf pondweed.
B. Erickson indicated milfoil and elodea are likely the species that are represented in the 8/10 map.
D. Shepherd asked if the rake-toss data is providing clarity about the species that are causing the dense biovolume readings.
T. West indicated that the Alliance only has a few selected rake-toss points within each survey area, meaning that we don’t have enough rake-toss data to describe the specific species that are growing in each area.
V. Horrigan asked T. West to describe the 8/10 rake-toss readings to the group.
T. West indicated that the 8/10 rake-toss readings ranged from zero to sparse, which agreed with the observed biovolume results.
T. McCague asked T. West if the Alliance is planning on performing a September survey.
T. West indicated that the Alliance is planning on performing a survey on 8/14 and would like to continue these surveys into the fall.
R. Perry indicated that T. West also provided a Water Chestnut update to the Board regarding the recent Water Chestnut occurrences in the Chautauqua Lake outlet.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is drafting a news release to talk about the planned collaborative Water Chestnut pull on 8/13/20.
T. West indicated that 14 individuals from a variety of local and regional organizations are anticipated to participate in the 8/13 event.
V. Horrigan indicated that R. Perry has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance effective November 1, 2020, which will be announced at the Alliance’s September Board Meeting. V. Horrigan indicated that R. Perry is very qualified to fill the Executive Director position. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance Board will work on the other staffing details at the October Work Session Board Meeting.
R. Perry thanked the Board for their continued support and for allowing V. Horrigan to stay on until November. R. Perry indicated that he appreciates everyone’s enthusiasm and support moving forward.
D. Shepherd asked B. Erickson about the status of the CLA’s watercraft steward program.
B. Erickson indicated that the program is funded by New York State. B. Erickson indicated that the CLA is in year two (2) of their contract with the State. B. Erickson indicated that the watercraft stewards perform visual inspections of the boats coming into and going out of Chautauqua Lake for aquatic invasive species.
D. Shepherd indicated that this is a good start and indicated that it may be useful to start planning for the future in terms of improving the program.
M. Jabot indicated that the boat inspections are voluntary, not mandatory.
D. Shepherd indicated that the Board should be knowledgeable about the watercraft steward program in order to educate the public about the program’s benefits.
D. Shepherd indicated that he did not observe buffer plantings at McCrea Point Park, which is promoting geese locomotion between the water and the park and asked if there was a good way to assist the City of Jamestown with a potential buffer project.
M. Jabot indicated that C. Markham and W. Gleason would love to do this, but indicated that this project would need to be funded before it is executed.
V. Horrigan indicated that the CWC could submit a funding request as part of the 2020-2021 Consolidated Local Funding Grant Program to support this project idea.
B. Erickson indicated that he had to purchase a $20 launch permit when he went to Lake George and suggested that it may be a good to pursue this on Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan indicated that this information has been forwarded to D. McCord to potentially incorporate into the Lake District initiative.
P. Wendel indicated that he supports some form of a lake use fee.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the August 13, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:45 PM.