Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors
Thursday, January 9, 2020
4:30 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Dave Shepherd, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Rob Yates, Bruce Erickson, Paul (PJ) Wendel Jr, and Pierre Chagnon.
Absent: Mike Latone
Staff in Attendance: Vince Horrigan – Alliance Interim Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager, and Taylor West – Alliance Communications Coordinator.
Others in Attendance: Linda Swanson – Sheldon Foundation, Dave Spann – Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD), Craig Butler, Doug Champ, Howard Akin, Lisa Lynde & Tory Irgang – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF), Michael Koscher, Dennis Phillips, Jim Wehrfritz, Brandon Dorman, Dan Josephson.
Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine – South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, Debbie Moore & Doug Conroe– Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Dr. Jim Cirbus– Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), Whitney Gleason, Jane Conroe, & John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Don McCord, Bill Boria, & Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County, John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution, Marla Connelly – New York State Office Of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP), Becky Nystrom & Craig Seger – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) & Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Steve Hayes – Town of Ellery, Scott Schrecengost – Village of Celoron, and Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony.
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:31 PM.
II. Approval of 12/12/19 Minutes:
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 12/12/19 Board Work Session. The motion was seconded by B. Erickson and was approved unanimously.
III. Update from Alliance Interim Executive Director
P. Chagnon indicated the Alliance advertised the Executive Director Position vacancy through the month of December and has received 5 applications for the position. P. Chagnon indicated the Alliance Board Search Committee has interviewed all 5 applicants and will begin deliberation soon in order to move towards the selection of a qualified candidate.
V. Horrigan gave attendees an update indicated the staff has been busy lately working on a variety of projects.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance held a Lake Management Committee meeting on 12/18/19, which included attendees from almost all of the municipalities, and Chautauqua Lake managing organizations.
V. Horrigan informed the group about the formation of the Alliance Watershed Management Committee, which will look at prioritizing watershed projects for grant submission.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance staff updated their website with a new tab titled Chautauqua Lake Data/Surveys, which currently houses links to the Princeton Hydro Third-Party Monitoring report and the Fall 2019 Chautauqua Lake Racine Johnson Aquatic Plant Survey. V. Horrigan indicated this tab could house future Chautauqua Lake Data and Surveys as well.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance is in the process of coordinating a meeting with the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about 2020 in-lake management.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance is expecting final funding recommendations from the Foundations in about a week. V. Horrigan informed the group that once funding is awarded, the Alliance will send out notifications quickly to the recipients and will move expediently towards executing grant agreements.
IV. Projects Update
- 2015 County Round 12 Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grants – Streambank Stabilizations:
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Construction complete at Dutch Hollow Creek Main Stem (2018) – tracking project performance
- Construction complete at West Dutch Hollow Creek (2018/2019) – final billing/documentation in progress.
- Time extension request approved by NYSDEC to utilize surplus funding to address erosion issues at additional nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek; coordination among NYS/ County/ Alliance/ Owners in progress.
- Ball Creek: Bank/grade stabilization complete (2017); Additional riparian native planting completed Dec 2019, including native grass/wildflower seeding by CWC/SWCD (May 2019) and riparian native tree planting by Alliance/CWC (Dec 2019)
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Goose Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2018) by outside contractor
- Bemus Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2016-2017) by Soil & Water
- Prendergast Creek: No significant change; construction phase complete (2016) by Soil & Water
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement Phase IV Design & Construction (amenities building) LWRP grant
- Construction nearing completion; target completion ca. Spring 2020
- 2017 Mayville-Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant)
- Grant close-out nearing completion; Final Engineering Report will be available online soon.
- 2018 Invasive Species Early Detection – Volunteer Task Force
- Water Chestnut found/removed in Chautauqua Lake Outlet in August 2019
- Alliance to join WNYPRISM-led Water Chestnut Working Group
- Contact RTPI or Taylor West if interested in participating in 2020 Volunteer Invasive Plant Paddles.
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Engineer design by Barton & Loguidice underway; public design meeting planned ca. Jan-Feb 2020
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Engineer design by EcoStrategies underway; public design meeting planned ca. Feb-Mar 2020
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway (expected delivery ca. May 2020)
- Visit to Alpha Boats planned for mid-Jan 2020
- List of Alliance-partnered NYS grants that have been closed out:
- 2015 NYS Invasive Species Management Grant (C. Young Senate Initiative), closed ca. April 2019
- 2016 Lakewood-Busti Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (DEC/EFC EPG), closed ca. January 2019
- 2013 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase I Grant, closed ca. September 2018
- 2016 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase II-III Grant, closed ca. August 2019
V. 2019 NYS CFA Grant Awards
R. Perry gave a brief update regarding the status of the 2019 NYS CFA Grant Awards indicating the Alliance partnered on 4 applications, which were submitted to the State in July, 2019. R. Perry indicated a State decision was made in December 2019, which awarded Chautauqua County and the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District (NCLSD) $30,000 for their Orchard Terrace Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Study. R. Perry indicated he is excited for S. Cummings and the NCLSD. R. Perry indicated the State chose not to fund the applications for the Bemus Creek Sediment Trap, Town of Chautauqua Salt/Sand Storage Shed, and the Chautauqua County Green Infrastructure Project at the County Complex. R. Perry indicated the Alliance staff will be following up with the State to debrief about the 3 projects that did not receive funding.
R. Perry indicated the Alliance is excited about the new Watershed Committee to assist with 2020 CFA candidate projects.
VI. Update on the Status of Local Foundations Grant Request
V. Horrigan gave the group an update about the status of the Local Foundations Grant Request indicating to date, the Alliance has received a commitment from the Lenna Foundation for $200,000 and a commitment from the Sheldon Foundation for $300,000 towards the Alliance’s $600,000 Consolidated Foundation Funding Grant Request. V. Horrigan indicated the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) will be making their decision in the coming week. V. Horrigan indicated we have good support from the Foundations through solid project management and unity of effort and is excited for 2020. V. Horrigan thanked the Foundations for their generous support of these great local projects.
P. Chagnon extended the Board’s great appreciation to the Foundations for their generous support.
VII. Update from the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee
D. Spann gave an update on the status of the Science Committee indicating the Committee has been focusing their efforts the past few weeks on reviewing the sampling and analysis plan from the 2019 Independent Third-Party Monitor for Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management – 2019 Herbicide Treatment Program document. D. Spann indicated the committee met on 01/08/20 and is making good progress. D. Spann introduced new Science Committee member Dan Josephson to the members of the audience. D. Spann indicated the Committee is excited to provide their input regarding this document. D. Spann stated the Committee has been reviewing the methods, techniques, and data usability and will provide a packaged document to the Alliance.
P. Chagnon thanked D. Spann and the Committee for their efforts.
J. Cirbus indicted he is disappointed with the membership of the Science Committee and shared his concerns that Committee members are one sided and potentially biased against herbicides. J. Cirbus indicated he is not pleased with the lack of CLP representation on the Committee.
VIII. Update from the Lake Management Committee
V. Horrigan indicated the Lake Management Committee is Co-Chaired by M. Latone and B. Erickson.
B. Erickson indicated V. Horrigan called a meeting of the Committee on December 18, 2020, which addressed near-shore and shoreline cleanup and Mobitrac services. B. Erickson indicated skimmers should be paired with the Mobitracs in order to increase efficiency.
B. Erickson indicated the DEC has published a statement regarding the limitations/regulations surrounding Chautauqua Lake Mobitrac operations. B. Erickson indicated the DEC letter indicates Mobitracs have to be launched, loaded, and offloaded at hard surface sites around the lake (i.e., boat launches) and are not allowed to operate prior to July 1st due to fish spawning and rearing concerns.
B. Erickson indicated the CLA has agreed to work with the Town of Chautauqua Mobitracs in 2020 in order to increase efficiency and responsiveness of shoreline and near-shore clean-up operations.
J. Wehrfritz asked the Alliance who paid for the 3 Mobitracs.
V. Horrigan replied indicating the Town of Chautauqua Paid for one (1), The County of Chautauqua paid for one (1), and the Foundations may pay for one (1).
J. Wehrfritz indicated that it has been known prior to the implementation of Mobitracs that they need a support crew and vessel to optimize their efficiency, which is why either the CLA or other entities should supply support equipment.
V. Horrigan indicated that in 2020, there could potentially be support equipment for the Mobitracs due to a partnership between CLA and the Town of Chautauqua.
V. Horrigan indicated as part of the Lake Management Committee meeting on 12/18/2019, the Committee addressed 2020 herbicide treatment coordination.
V. Horrigan indicated C. Butler and R. Wahl will be the two at-large Lake Management Committee members.
- MMS Subcommittee Update
V. Horrigan gave an update about the membership of the MMS Subcommittee indicating D. McCoy, the chair of the committee has selected H. Akin, S. Hays, B. Nystrom, and G. Fish to be members of the Subcommittee.
V. Horrgian indicated D. McCoy will set a meeting date and time for the MMS Subcommittee.
- MOA Subcommittee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that after meeting with Subcommittee Chair M. Geise, they decided to wait out the current MOA and not change it prior to its expiration.
V. Horrigan indicated the County may solicit an outside contractor in October to create a new MOA for future years.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the subcommittee is looking at what tenets have been met and what tenets have not yet been implemented.
V. Horrigan replied indicating we have not done anything with that to date as this is a County Executive document administered through M. Geise.
J. Cirbus indicated the MOA was put together quickly and is a work in progress and needs to be addressed in 2020.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance is using this document to guide decision making and unity of effort.
J. Cirbus asked why Third-Party Monitoring is not performed for all in-lake maintenance programs.
V. Horrigan indicated there is limited money available and we can’t look at everything every year, but recognizes J. Cirbus’s concerns.
D. Moore indicated the MOA suggests treatment zones should follow the MMS.
IX. Update from Watershed Management Committee (Call for Members)
V. Horrigan indicated it would be nice to get the municipalities, highway superintendents, and watershed organizations together to gain a better understanding of who is doing what and where.
V. Horrigan indicated this committee would help develop future projects for State grant submission and informed the group about the sign-up sheets that are on the back table.
V. Horrigan indicated R. Yates will chair this Committee, whose intent is to attempt to bring people together to develop high quality watershed projects.
R. Yates indicated he has experience with highway departments and farmers and it would be nice to get them together to promote good projects.
B. Boria indicated drinking and source water protection is important and an issue that is gaining importance with the DEC and DOH.
B. Boria asked the board to add someone who could speak to the importance of these subjects.
B. Boria added the Chautauqua County Water Quality Taskforce may be a good fit.
D. Conroe indicated it is important to involve the Town Highway Superintendents, but added that it is also important to get these Towns to adopt stormwater regulations within their municipalities.
X. Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data (CLAD) Mapping
T. West gave a presentation about the new Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data (CLAD) Mapping project, which is attached to the end of these minutes.
Members of the public asked the following questions:
- Is it possible to measure the amount of bio sediment at the bottom of the lake using this program?
- West replied indicating he will get back to us on that
- Is the 40%-60% biovolume that is considered to be desirable only for the littoral zone or for the whole lake
- West replied it is for the littoral zone
- Is this technology more accurate than a rake toss?
- West indicated this technology is not able to differentiate between species types or native versus invasive.
- Could this technology be used to determine presence or absence of macrophytes prior to an herbicide treatment
- West replied yes, this technology can be used to determine presence or absence of macrophytes
- Being that 2020 will be your first year of operation, what scale will you be executing this project at?
- West indicated due to the size limitations of the Alliance FRIB Boat, we may start out at a smaller scale and see how this technology works.
XI. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
D. McCoy indicated the 2021 round of 2% Occupancy Tax Lakes and Waterways Grant Program is now open until April 1st 2020. D. McCoy indicated this grant program funds project budgets starting at $500 up to $40,000. D. McCoy indicated that once projects are evaluated, they will be sent to the Chautauqua County Legislature for approval.
H. Akin asked if there are any Bowling Green State University data available yet from Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan indicated we only have a little data available due to a short sampling window last fall, but indicated there would be more data available in 2020 as the program keeps progressing.
J. Cirbus indicated the sensors are out of the water until ice is off the lake in the spring.
B. Erickson asked if someone at the Alliance could look at the Racine-Johnson, Solitude, and Princeton Hydro macrophyte survey data in order to compare similarities and potential patterns in the data.
B. Nystrom indicated she agrees that it can be confusing to look at all of these surveys, but implied that the Racine-Johnson surveys are easier to understand because they are part of a larger long-term monitoring dataset and have been collected using the same methods over time.
B. Erickson indicated the DEC process uses fall surveys to determine spring treatments and asked if these surveys could be compared even though they were performed by multiple contractors.
J. Wehrfritz indicated he agrees with B. Erickson that the surveys should all be looked at together, and not as separate documents.
D. Shepherd indicated the Alliance staff should bring up Bruce’s concerns about comparing/rectifying multiple macrophyte surveys at the Alliance’s future meeting with the DEC.
J. Jablonski suggested money used for herbicide treatments should be monitored by a Third-Party in order to ensure herbicides are being used appropriately and effectively in Chautauqua Lake with minimal unintended consequences.
Cross conversation then ensued between J. Jablonski, J. Wehrfritz, and D. Conroe.
D. Champ indicated the Governor recently gave his State of the State address where he mentioned HABs. D. Champ suggested Alliance staff could give a report back to the public about the State’s recommendation to deal with HABs.
P. Chagnon indicated that level of detail may not be available from the Governor’s office yet.
D. Moore requested the Alliance post/share the dates and the areas that were treated with herbicides in 2020 indicating she did not have a clear and definitive answer regarding the areas that were and were not treated.
An email was sent to D. Moore after the meeting providing that information to her.
J. Cirbus indicated there was too much “scum” in Burtis Bay to properly collect macrophyte data this fall, which is why SOLitude will be coming back in the spring of 2020.
J. Cirbus indicated the timing of the Racine Johnson fall 2019 macrophyte survey may not have been ideal due to the algal bloom and its potential impacts on macrophyte growth.
B. Erickson indicated the Alliance Board has to make decisions based on all available data.
L. Swanson gave a brief history and overview regarding the Sheldon Foundation’s role in assisting with the creation of the Alliance. L. Swanson indicated the Sheldon Foundation appreciates all of the hard work that members put into their applications and thanked the Alliance Committees, Alliance Membership, Alliance Board, and Alliance Staff for their efforts.
P. Wendel indicated he remembers having similar discussions during the creation of the Alliance and is happy to see all of the progress that has been made. P. Wendel indicated the importance of leaving biases at the door for the betterment of Chautauqua Lake and indicated he is looking forward to 2020
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the January 9th, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by J. Andrews and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:45 PM.