Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors
Thursday, February 13, 2020
4:30 p.m. at BWB Building, 201 W 3rd St, Jamestown, NY 14701
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Dave Shepherd, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Paul (PJ) Wendel, Jr, and Mike Latone (Phone).
Absent: Pierre Chagnon and Rob Yates.
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 4:31 PM.
II. Approval of 01/09/20 Minutes
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 01/09/2020 Public Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by J. Andrews and was approved unanimously.
III. Update from Alliance Interim Executive Director
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance has received the full Foundation ask of $600,000. V. Horrigan indicated all of the funding has been received except for $150,000 from the Sheldon Foundation. V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance has the appropriate amount of money to handle all of the grants.
R. Perry indicated the second Sheldon Foundation payment is expected to occur in May 2020.
R. Perry indicated award letters were prepared on January 15, 2020, and were sent out on January 17, 2020. R. Perry indicated as of February 6, 2020, the Alliance has 14 of 15 grant agreements finalized and sent out. R. Perry indicated to date the Alliance has received five (5) signed grant agreements.
V. Horrigan indicated the Town of Chautauqua has ordered their Mobitrac and will be paid once the Town has received the machine.
V. Horrigan indicated he has met twice with the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) and indicated the meetings went well. V. Horrigan informed the Alliance Board that the CLA would like the $257,000 worth of Foundation grant money broken out into two (2) parts. V. Horrigan indicated $37,000 would be for joint operational support and $220,000 would be for base operations.
V. Horrigan informed the Board that he met with D. Emhardt (Town of Chautauqua), D. Moore and D. Conroe about the details of near-shore and shoreline operations. V. Horrigan indicated the CLA will provide two (2) near-shore support vessels to assist Mobitrac operations. V. Horrigan indicated an Alliance staff member will participate in weekly near-shore coordination meetings with the CLA and Town of Chautauqua and will post the results of weekly near-shore operations on the Alliance Website.
V. Horrigan indicated he emphasized to CLA leadership that the Foundation grant is for lake-wide harvesting and near-shore clean-up.
V. Horrigan asked the Board for their support regarding his lake-wide operations plan.
D. Shepherd asked if the larger sum of money was for CLA base operations and if the smaller amount was for a special project.
V. Horrigan indicated D. Shepherd stated that correctly.
M. Latone asked what happens if the project doesn’t work and we have already given CLA the money.
V. Horrigan indicated the CLA will get paid $100,000 upon signing the grant, $100,000 in June, and the remainder of the funding could be paid in August if everything goes well.
B.Erickson indicated this has not been mentioned to the CLA Board yet and suggested one (1) CLA machine work with one (1) Town of Chautauqua Mobitrac.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance is not trying to micromanage the CLA’s and Town of Chautauqua’s operations and emphasized that the Alliance should let D. Emhardt and D. Conroe work things out.
V. Horrigan indicated high priority areas are areas of high public use such as in front of marinas and hotels.
D. Shepherd indicated he supports V. Horrigan and his efforts.
T. McCague agreed with V. Horrigan that the Alliance should not micromanage the CLA or the Town of Chautauqua operations.
IV. CWC Grant Extension Request
V. Horrigan indicated that he met with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s (CWC) Executive Director, John Jablonski, and Board Chair, Becky Nystrom, to talk about the CWC Grant Extension request. V. Horrigan indicated the CWC was unable to fulfill the conditions of the grant on time due to staffing issues, which have been resolved in the past few months. V. Horrigan indicated the CWC now has the staff capacity to see this project through to the finish by June 31, 2020. V. Horrigan recommended that the Alliance Board approve the CWC’s grant extension request.
D. Shepherd identified as conflicted as one of the CWC projects listed may impact his community lake rights and abstained from the vote.
B. Erickson made a motion to approve the CWC’s grant extension. J. Andrews seconded the motion made by B. Erickson and the motion passed unanimously.
V. 2% Occupancy Tax – Alliance CLA Allocation Review and Approval
V. Horrigan indicated there has been considerable negative press lately about the conditions in Chautauqua Lake in 2019. Discussion ensued regarding the potentially harmful impacts of negative, and at times conflicting and confrontational, press on local tourism and the economy. The County 2% Occupancy Tax funding was also discussed including its purpose of increasing tourism and boosting the economy and how this may affect the Alliance’s funding decisions. V. Horrigan indicated we need to make a plan and voice these concerns to those who are behind the negative press.
P. Wendel recommended that the Alliance wait to allocate its $90,000 in County 2% pass-through funding until we have a consensus plan among stakeholders to address these issues. A discussion followed where multiple points of view were expressed. In the end, P. Wendel indicated he will be convening a meeting in March, which would be comprised of a variety of lake stakeholders in order to bring everyone together with a common goal to improve the lake.
M. Latone indicated that he believes the Buffalo media outlets were responding to a press release that was sent to them by a member of our Science Committee.
B. Erickson indicated if there are no weeds, then there will be more harmful algal blooms (HABs).
P. Wendel indicated the HABs are a statewide issue and cautioned against making a direct linkage between a potential lack of weeds and increased HABs because we lack adequate scientific evidence at this time.
V. Horrigan indicated members of the Alliance Science Committee should not be putting out press releases (under the banner of the Alliance Science Committee) unless they are approved by the Alliance Board and represent the views of the Alliance.
V. Horrigan indicated once we get the stakeholders together, we will be in a better place and reinforced the point that we cannot risk jeopardizing this great economic driver.
T. McCague indicated a member of the public shared an article with the Village of Lakewood’s Board at Monday’s Board meeting regarding a negative article about Chautauqua Lake in a national musky fishing magazine.
M. Jabot asked that D. Spann come sit with Alliance Board members at a Board Work Session meeting in order to talk about the Science Committee’s future messaging to the media and community members.
D. Shepherd asked if the Alliance Board and Staff could set up a baseline reporting format for technical/scientific products brought to the Board.
M. Jabot indicated there is a need to make a common data collection and reporting protocol in order to compare all the lake reports regardless of which contractor collected the data.
P. Wendel agreed, indicating it is only fitting that these reports have a common reporting protocol.
P. Wendel indicated these challenges that we are facing are nothing new. P. Wendel indicated we are trying to understand and predict Mother Nature, but in reality we do not know what will happen from year to year.
T. McCague inquired about how to get in front of this negative press.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance sent out a positive press release about unity of effort a couple days ago and are awaiting its posting.
D. Shepherd indicated positive press needs to be sent out frequently, so it is constantly out in the public eye.
P. Wendel indicated he will discuss this positive messaging campaign with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (CCVB).
M. Jabot indicated we need an agreement from our members about unity of effort, which includes positive messaging.
P. Wendel indicated one bad piece of information could be very detrimental and indicated we need to have consistent positive messaging going forward.
VI. DEC Herbicide Update for 2020
V. Horrigan indicated he met with the NYS DEC on February 3, 2020, where they talked about potential 2020 herbicide use in Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated if herbicides are permitted in 2020, they will not be used north of Long Point State Park. V. Horrigan indicated the NYS DEC will require a spring survey prior to issuance of final herbicide permits. V. Horrigan indicated this was a very positive meeting.
D. Shepherd asked if the Alliance had a standard macrophyte survey protocol.
V. Horrigan indicated the NYS DEC accepts macrophyte surveys from SOLitude Lake Management, Princeton Hydro, and Racine Johnson Aquatic Ecologists.
M. Latone indicated the NYS DEC provides protocols for the consultant to follow and does not believe the consultant would put their name on a product that is incorrect or false.
D. Shepherd indicated certain members of the Alliance Science Committee wrote letters about the protocols that they deem are appropriate.
M. Latone indicated we have been hearing similar concerns from the same people every year for the past few years. M. Latone indicated these consultants are trained professionals that are using methods that are accepted by the NYS DEC.
V. Horrigan indicated the NYS DEC makes the final decisions, not the Alliance.
M. Jabot indicated it would be nice if the NYS DEC could play an active role or offer more oversight regarding macrophyte surveys.
V. Horrigan indicated the NYS DEC will have eyes on the water in 2020 to verify that invasives are present in the proposed treatment zones.
D. Shepherd asked if permits are issued for treatments, can the Alliance serve as a notification service.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance could post the notification on their website.
P. Wendel indicated he could include a notification in the County Executive’s Monday Morning Memo.
VII. Third-Party Monitor Scope of Work
R. Perry indicated he attended four Science Committee meetings since November 2019 and passed out a summary table to the Board that summarized the Science Committee’s recommendations for the 2020 Third Party Monitoring Program. R. Perry indicated the Science Committee also shared a four-page document with Alliance Staff, which detailed their recommendations regarding the Third-Party Monitor Scope of Work. R. Perry indicated there was good dialogue about algae at the meetings, but for 2020, algae will not be included in the Third-Party Monitor’s Scope of Work. R. Perry emphasized this document reflects the thoughts of all committee members, not a subset of the committee membership.
M. Latone indicated he hopes the phosphorus sensors will be deployed early this year and indicated they should be providing meaningful data soon.
V. Horrigan indicated G. Bullerjahn is dedicated to answering the questions surrounding algae in Chautauqua Lake.
B. Erickson complimented the Chautauqua Lake Partnership on their efforts to try and solve Chautauqua’s complex algae issues.
M. Jabot asked if the Science Committee is comfortable with the Third-Party Monitor not observing the herbicide applicator.
R Perry indicated the Science Committee believes it is a better use of the consultant’s expertise to gather plant data versus observing the herbicide applicator.
M. Jabot indicated he agrees with the Science Committee’s recommendation.
VIII. February 6th Lake Management Committee Update
B. Erickson indicated the meeting went well, and the Lake Management Committee agreed as a whole that lake managing organizations can accomplish more if they all work together.
J. Andrews indicated the meeting went well, but thought individuals needed to leave their various agendas at the door prior to sitting down at the table in the spirit of unity of effort and for the betterment of the lake.
IX. Watershed Management Committee Meeting Update
V. Horrigan indicated R. Yates has resigned as Chair of the Watershed Committee, and a new individual is needed to Chair the Committee. V. Horrigan indicated the Watershed Committee will be focused on potential NYS CFA projects.
X. Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data (CLAD) Mapping Update
T. West gave a brief update to the Board indicating he would like to purchase an appropriate sonar unit and the BioBase subscription by early March in order to start fabricating a portable mounting system for the sonar unit in time for ice out.
XI. Science Committee Tasks: Eutrophication
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance Staff drafted a eutrophication tasking letter for the Science Committee and asked the Board for their approval to send the letter to the Committee for their feedback.
The Board members indicated they support V. Horrigan sending this document to the Science Committee.
V. Horrigan indicated the targeted arrival date for the Skimmers is late June.
V. Horrigan indicated the Amenities Building in Celoron is coming along, reaching substantial completion within a few weeks.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the February 13, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by J. Andrews and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 6:00 PM.