Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Public Meeting
Saturday, July 18, 2020
11:30 a.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Paul Wendel, David Shepherd, Pierre Chagnon, and Jim Andrews
Absent: Rob Yates, Mike Latone (*Intermittent attendance due to technical issues)
Staff in Attendance: Vince Horrigan – Alliance Interim Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager, and Taylor West – Alliance Communications Coordinator.
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 11:42 AM. P. Chagnon thanked everyone for attending the 2020 Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Research Panel and the Alliance July Public Board Meeting.
II. Approval of 6/11/2020 Minutes:
B. Erickson made a motion to accept the minutes from the 6/11/2020 Board Work Session. The motion was seconded by J. Andrews and was approved unanimously.
III. Projects Update
R. Perry gave the following update to the Alliance Board:
- 2015 County Round 12 Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grants – Streambank Stabilizations:
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Phase I construction complete at Dutch Hollow Creek Main Stem (2018)
- Phase I construction complete at West Dutch Hollow Creek (2018-2019)
- Survey & design work by Bergmann is underway at nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek (Phase II); design/permitting ca. Summer/Fall 2020 and construction ca. Summer 2021
- Ball Creek, Goose Creek, Bemus Creek, and Prendergast Creek: All work complete; grants close-out in progress (Grants Ended 4/30/20)
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement Phase IV Design & Construction, Amenities Building (NYSDOS LWRP)
- Construction nearing completion, ca. Summer 2020; G.L. Olson (General Contractor) & LaBella (Architect/Engineer)
- 2018-2020 Invasive Species Early Detection – Volunteer Task Force
- Water Chestnut found in Chautauqua Lake Outlet by CWC’s Jeremy Woolson 7/1/20
- 2020 RTPI Early Detection Program Underway – To participate, please visit: https://rtpi.org/what-are-these-weeds/
- To help observe/report on your own, please sign up for iMapInvasives: www.imapinvasives.org/
- New for 2020: Water chestnut removal pilot program by Audubon Community Nature Center; for more, please visit: https://auduboncnc.org/invasive-species-management/
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Engineer design by Barton & Loguidice underway; next milestones 100% Design, Bidding, and Construction ca. Summer 2020 to Spring 2021 (tentative)
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Engineer design by EcoStrategies underway; next milestones 100% Design, Bidding, and Construction ca. Summer to Winter 2020 (tentative)
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway with significant COVID-19 delays (tentative delivery ca. Fall 2020/TBD)
- List of Alliance-partnered NYS grants that have been closed out:
- 2015 NYS Invasive Species Management Grant (C. Young Senate Initiative), closed ca. Apr 2019
- 2016 Lakewood-Busti Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (DEC/EFC EPG), closed ca. Jan 2019
- 2013 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase I Grant, closed ca. Sep 2018
- 2016 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase II-III Grant, closed ca. Aug 2019
- 2017 Mayville-Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (DEC/EFC EPG), closed ca. Feb 2020
IV. Alliance Committees Update
1.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that approximately 86 acres of Chautauqua Lake were treated for the invasive species Eurasian Watermilfoil on June 29, 2020 with the aquatic herbicide ProcellaCOR EC. V. Horrigan indicated that the treatment took place in targeted areas in the Villages of Lakewood and Bemus Point and in the Town of Busti, which were approved by the NYS DEC.
T. West updated the Alliance Board on the status of the near-shore/shoreline coordination meetings indicating that the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) is assisting the three (3) Town of Chautauqua (Town) Mobitracs by providing a weed harvester. T. West indicated that the joint-operations by the CLA and Town have removed approximately 370,000 pounds of floating aquatic vegetation and debris over the course of three (3) weeks.
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). V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has compiled a list of potential CFA project ideas if the NYS CFA were to open in the near future.
3.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
P. Chagnon indicated that V. Horrigan made an announcement at the June Alliance Board meeting indicating that the Alliance would transition the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee into a Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance is moving forward with the initiation of the DAR Committee and thanked the members of the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee for their service to the organization. P. Chagnon thanked D. Spann, Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee Chairman, for his service and leadership with the Committee. P. Chagnon introduced DAR Committee Chairman M. Jabot to the group.
M. Jabot indicated that he was thankful for the presentations that occurred during the 2020 Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Research Panel and indicated that panelists Dr. Courtney Wigdahl-Perry and Dr. George Bullerjahn are also new members of the DAR Committee. M. Jabot indicated that Steve Hayes, Karey Lawton, Dr. Tom Erlandson, Dan Josephson, Becky Nystrom, and Dr. Twan Leenders are new members of the DAR Committee. M. Jabot indicated that the DAR Committee would host an inaugural meeting in the near future.
P. Chagnon thanked M. Jabot for his service to the organization and for his kind words.
V. MCA Scoring Tool Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance will soon be entering into year four of the Alliance’s 5-Year Strategy. V. Horrigan indicated that an important component of the Alliance’s 5-Year Strategy is the Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) Tool, which helps the Alliance Board prioritize projects for funding. V. Horrigan indicated that the tool was meant to be adaptive to new information and emerging technology. V. Horrigan indicated that the local Foundations have expressed their support for the update and have agreed to fund the effort. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has retained the services of EcoLogic LLC and Anchor QEA to update the MCA tool. V. Horrigan indicated that the EcoLogic/Anchor QEA team would engage the Alliance membership in an interactive process that involves questionnaires and focus groups.
R. Perry asked the Alliance membership to contact Alliance staff if they have any questions pertaining to the MCA tool update throughout the process and encouraged member participation. R. Perry indicated that the written questionnaire would be circulated by email during the week of July 20th, which would seek stakeholder input on the criteria and weighting factors incorporated into the MCA tool. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance would like to receive the completed questionnaires approximately two weeks after they are sent out. R. Perry indicated that the project team would hold virtual focus groups shortly after the questionnaires are received, which may take place between August 4th and August 19th. R. Perry indicated that the consultant would compile the information gained through the questionnaires and focus groups in order to create a draft version of the updated MCA tool that they would present to the Alliance and interested stakeholders around the week of August 27th. R. Perry indicated that there would be an opportunity for the membership to provide input on the draft prior to the release of the final version of the tool. R. Perry indicated that the final version of the tool is expected to be unveiled to the Alliance and all interested stakeholders on September 10th at the Alliance Board meeting.
P. Chagnon thanked the EcoLogic and Anchor QEA team for their excellent work and indicated that he has a lot of confidence in the team to update the tool.
VI. 2020-2021 RFA Process Update
R. Perry indicated that the MCA Update and RFA process are happening at the same time. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance intends to release the 2020-2021 RFA on or around July 23rd. R. Perry indicated that the application template won’t change during the 2020 MCA tool update process and indicated that the updated tool would be released on or around September 10th. R. Perry indicated that applications are due on September 24, 2020, which would give members 2 weeks to adjust their applications if they feel they need to do so based on the updated MCA scoring tool. R. Perry indicated that the applications would go through a technical review process before being submitted to the Alliance Board to create a consolidated funding application to the participating Foundations. R. Perry indicated that award decisions from the Foundations are anticipated in early 2021.
V. Horrigan indicated that it is important for the Alliance membership to be active participants in the MCA tool update process and asked that members come to the Alliance staff for assistance if they have any questions.
VII. CLAD Update
T. West indicated that the Alliance staff has performed 3 field validation events, which consist of using sonar technology to collect macrophyte biovolume, bottom hardness, and bathymetry data. T. West indicated that the Alliance is performing rake-tosses and recording underwater videos in order to validate the sonar and computer generated biovolume results. T. West indicated that the Alliance uses Biobase technology to process the sonar collected biovolume data, and compares it with the rake-toss and underwater camera video results in order to validate this new technology. T. West indicated that as a result of the field validation phase, staff learned that the sonar settings needed to be adjusted in order to produce more accurate results in areas of dense vegetation. T. West indicated that once these settings were adjusted, the biovolume data generally agreed with the rake-toss and underwater camera results. T. West indicted that the Alliance staff are excited to continue the field validation phase with another survey, planned for the week of 7/20/20.
M. Jabot asked why we are seeing the biovolume growth patterns observed in the map, especially on the southwestern side.
T. West indicated that he compared the biovolume data to the bottom hardness data and saw a general trend that displayed higher biovolume results in areas of soft bottom composition and hypothesized that this could be one of the reasons why we are seeing the plants growing in the pattern observed in map.
VIII. 2020-2021 Membership Drive Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance sent out membership emails on June 12, 2020 and thanked those who have renewed their membership with the Alliance thus far. V. Horrigan asked members to contact T. West if they did not receive a membership email. V. Horrigan indicated that stakeholders who are interested in submitting a funding request to the Alliance as part of the 2020-2021 RFA process must renew their membership with the Alliance by September 25, 2020, in order for their request to be considered for funding.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance leadership convened a meeting with CLA, CLP, County, and State leadership in order to discuss collaboration. V. Horrigan indicated that the group felt that the lake levels could be raised in Chautauqua Lake, which may potentially impact macrophyte growth and harmful algal bloom formation. V. Horrigan indicated that Alliance and County leaders anticipate contacting the NYS DEC about this issue. V. Horrigan indicated that there was an interest in improving the herbicide permitting process and indicated that the Alliance and County leadership anticipate contacting the NYS DEC about this topic. V. Horrigan indicated that the CLA and CLP are submitting proposals to the Alliance for an independent third-party macrophyte survey contractor. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has drafted an RFP, which is out for comment among the group members. V. Horrigan thanked State, County, CLA, CLP, and the Alliance representatives for participating in this meeting.
P. Chagnon indicated that it is exciting to hear that the NYS DEC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are partnering on a collaborative harmful algal bloom (HAB) pilot study on Chautauqua Lake. P. Chagnon indicated that the pilot program would utilize innovative equipment that could skim HABs from the lake and convert the material into usable biofuel and fertilizer. P. Chagnon indicated that the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is deploying this innovative demonstration project entitled Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, And Transformation System (HABITATS) in the south basin of Chautauqua Lake later this year. P. Chagnon indicated that the pilot project uses floating skimmers on the lake to collect surface water laden with HABs. P. Chagnon indicated that the blooms are put through a treatment process, which detoxify the algae and turn them into biocrude fuel and fertilizer once they are collected from the water surface. P. Chagnon indicated that the process also includes cleaning and clarifying the collected water before safely returning it to the lake. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance is very thankful for NYS Senator C. Schumer and his staff for working so diligently to bring this exciting pilot study, only the second of its kind in the country, to our precious lake. P. Chagnon encouraged the attendees to register for a presentation regarding this pilot study, which would be held on July 28, 2020 at 6:00 PM.
P. Chagnon indicated that he regrets to inform the Board of M. Jabot’s resignation from the Alliance Board of Directors. P. Chagnon indicated that this is a great loss to the Board, but indicated that the Alliance is delighted to hear that M. Jabot has decided to continue his role as Chair of the Alliance Data Analysis and Research Committee. P. Chagnon indicated that M. Jabot has agreed to continue to serve on the Alliance Board until a qualified candidate has been chosen to fill his Board seat.
P. Chagnon called for a motion from the Board to accept M. Jabot’s resignation.
B. Erickson made a motion to accept M. Jabot’s resignation with regret. T. McCague seconded the motion made by B. Erickson.
P. Chagnon indicated that he shares Erickson’s and McCague’s reluctance to accept the resignation.
M. Jabot thanked the Alliance Board for the opportunity to work with the organization and for the privilege to continue on as the Chair of the DAR Committee.
P. Chagnon called for a Board vote on the motion to accept the resignation of M. Jabot from the Alliance Board of Directors. The motion carried unanimously.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance will notify their membership of M. Jabot’s resignation and indicated that the Alliance will accept nominations for the Alliance’s At-Large Board seat.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has submitted Dr. Jeanne Wiebenga as their nomination to potentially fill the Board vacancy.
- Will the MCA tool update include a review of the actual project performance against agreed commitments and if it will consider performance against the MCA scoring.
R. Perry indicated that a review of the usage and performance statistics is part of the consultant’s scope of work. R. Perry indicated that the consultants are looking at how the technical scoring of each project relates to the funding recommendations made by the Alliance Board.
X. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
B. Erickson asked T. West to update the Board on the installation status of the CLA harvester GPS units.
T. West indicated that the process is moving forward as all of the harvesters are wired up and ready for GPS installation. T. West indicated that the units are starting to be deployed on the lake as of 7/17/20.
P. Chagnon thanked B. Erickson for his question and thanked T. West and his family for their hard work to complete the GPS installations.
B. Erickson indicated that the process has proven to be much more difficult than initially anticipated and thanked T. West for his efforts to get the units installed.
R. Perry added that the Mobitrac GPS units have been up and running for a few weeks.
- Is there a name to the Army Corps initiative?
P. Chagnon indicated that the initiative is entitled HABITATS or Harmful Algal Bloom Interception Treatment and Transformation System.
- Will the Army Corps presentation be recorded?
P. Chagnon indicated that he does not know if the Army Corps presentation will be recorded.
M. Jabot shared a registration link with the group through the Chat Box.
P. Chagnon thanked everyone for attending the presentation and Board Meeting and thanked the Board for their participation, involvement, and patience with virtual meetings. B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the July 18, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by M. Jabot and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 12:23 PM.