Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, June 15, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Linda Barber, Sally Carlson, Pierre Chagnon, Vince Horrigan, Dave Shepherd, and Dave Spann.
Absent: Ken Shearer and Dave Wesp.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director and Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Doug Champ – Jamestown Riverfront Management Council & interested citizen. June Diethrick – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Jan Bowman – JCC Environmental Sciences & Biology Professor (+ research student).
Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Jim Wehrfritz & Mike LaTone – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony and Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Jane Conroe, Twan Leenders, Becky Nystrom & Dave McCoy.
I. Call to Order:
Mr. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:01 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (7 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mrs. Carlson made a motion to accept the minutes of the 5/11/17 Board Meeting, seconded by Ms. Barber. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the nine funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- Implementation status:
- Survey and initial field assessments complete; Preliminary design in progress at Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek
- Ball Creek site preparation planning in progress with CWC (invasive species)
- Continue other preparation/coordination for 2017 schedule and tasks
- EcoStrategies subcontracts complete for Goose & Ball Creeks; final design & bid specs in preparation
- Modification requests for some projects in progress with NYSDEC
- M/WBE, EEO, and Narrative/Financial Quarterly Reports due July
- Likely upcoming public construction bids Spring/Summer 2017 for Bemus Creek (Soil & Water-led bid) and Goose/Ball Creek (likely County/Alliance-led bid)
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- Coordination among Alliance and implementing partners in progress
- Subcontracts in preparation and equipment purchase pending
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Biannual status report (2013 grant) due July
- Working to consolidate/coordinate engineering design and upcoming construction bid under single phase of construction utilizing separate LWRP grants (2013 & 2016)
- Working to establish State contract for 2016 LWRP grant for target implementation start in Fall 2017
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Local match in place (County; Busti); facilitated advance payments to Village to help with upfront costs
- Final negotiations in progress with engineering firm (top-ranked of 6 proposals)
- Near-term objective: Facilitate execution of Grant Agreement between Lakewood and EFC to secure initial $50K payment and commence engineering study (Target start: Summer 2017).
IV. Science Committee Update:
Committee Chair, Mr. Spann, gave a brief status update on the group as they have not met since before the May board meeting. As noted previously, identifying and collating a list of 3 short term priorities and 3 long term priorities have been the focus of their meetings so far and believe that the participants have now given sufficient inputs to be close to completing the priorities list. Mr. Spann noted that no other directives have been given to the committee by the board at this time, and that several committee members were in attendance today to try and gain a better understanding of their mission.
V. Meeting with Alliance Executive Committee, Foundations & County:
Mr. Chagnon advised that a roundtable meeting between representatives of local foundations, the Alliance executive committee and the county was held just this week, prior to today’s board meeting. The focus of the meeting was to discuss expectations of the Alliance now that we have established ourselves over the last two years and have created a firm footing in the community, especially as it relates to an implementation strategy for the two primary guidance documents, the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Plan. Mr. Chagnon commented that he feels the board needs to meet to discuss this topic further and advised of a mini-retreat.
VI. Update on 2017 CFA Member Applications:
Ms. Brickley gave an update on the six possible member projects that have been in development for this year’s CFA submission. It was noted that each one has multiple variables that have to fall in place and at this point it is looking like only the first three will be advanced enough for a solid submission by this year’s 7/31/17 deadline. However, Ms. Brickley commented that it is exciting to work with two more municipalities this year, the Village of Mayville and Town of Chautauqua, on a grant for a comprehensive stormwater study. The Alliance successfully partnered with the Village of Lakewood, Town of Busti, and the County through last year’s CFA’s to bring in $100k EPG grant for a very similar project which is already underway. This current year’s effort and partners will be informed by and benefit from our previous experience. Plus it makes sense to assess the most developed areas of the watershed in succession rather than in isolation so that mitigation efforts can be comprehensive over a period of years. Both studies aim to inventory and assess the current conditions and the capacity of existing stormwater infrastructure, define surface drainage areas (catchment areas), and model nutrient loads, in order to identify viable future improvement projects that would mitigate potential flooding and nutrient loads entering waterways, all of which will ultimately have a positive impact on the environmental health of Chautauqua Lake.
|Project||Grant Source||Partners||Total Project Costs||Grant Amount Requested|
|Lucille Ball Memorial Park – New Amenities Building||CFA – Local Waterfront Revitalization Program||Village of Celoron||$306,240||$229,680|
|Lucille Ball Memorial Park – Porous Pavement Walkway & Shoreline Vegetated Buffer||CFA – Green Infrastructure Grant Program (GIGP)||Village of Celoron||$43,884||$39,384|
|Stormwater Engineering Study||CFA – DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant (EPG)||Village of Mayville & Town of Chautauqua, County||$135,300||$100,000|
|Upgrades to Bath House at Long Point State Park||CFA – Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation – Environmental Protection Fund Municipal Grant Program||OPRHP – Allegany Region, additional TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Stormwater Engineering Study||CFA – EPG||Partners TBD (likely Town of Ellicott, Jamestown, County)||TBD||TBD|
|Samuelson Park (Burtis Bay) Low Impact Development Improvements||CFA – LWRP/Parks/WQIP/GIGP||Town of Ellicott||TBD||TBD|
VII. Review of 2017-2018 Target Member List:
Ms. Brickley advised of the upcoming third annual membership drive. The suggested member list for 2017-2018 was reviewed, which was very similar to last years, and no additions or subtractions were offered
VIII. Approval of 2017-2018 Membership Dues & Structure:
The suggested 2017-2018 Membership Dues & Structure mimics the previous years with no changes to dues amount by tier. Mr. Shepherd advised that it would be good to have a discussion each year on the dollar amount paid for dues, especially given that many of our municipal members are up against the 2% tax cap and have tight budgets. Ms. Barber commented that member dues have thus far been founded on the concept of all of us having skin in the game and participating for the greater good of the lake and watershed. It should be understood that in any given year the benefits of membership could be direct, such as grant dollars and project implementation assistance, or the more indirect overarching community benefits, which are no less important. Mr. Horrigan stated that we should not look to raise them and that he thought it has been good that we have kept the dues level year over year. Mrs. Carlson agreed that the 2% cap has been a challenge and it perhaps would be good to lower dues. Mr. Andrews agreed with the challenges faced by municipalities and tight budgets but that the lake is an important asset for them as well. Mr. Chagnon commented that most municipality members have likely already budgeted for this year’s Alliance dues. Mr. Horrigan made a motion to approve the 2017-2018 dues and structure as presented, seconded by Ms. Barber. The motion passed unanimously.
IX. Discussion of Email Distribution Policy:
X. Approval of Bereavement Policy:
Mr. Chagnon advised that he and Ms. Brickley had worked on drafting the policy together and feels it is in compliance with all applicable regulations. Ms. Brickley noted that the draft policy had been sent to the full board via email for review and comment prior to today’s meeting. Mrs. Carlson made a motion to approve the policy as written, seconded by Ms. Barber. The motion passed unanimously.
XI. Ongoing Discussion on CLP Requests:
A: Letters of Support:
Mr. Wehrfritz, the new Vice-President of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) gave a presentation in April on their renewed non-profit homeowner organization via the recent merge with the Bemus Bay Property Owners, their current focus on proposed in-lake actions in Bemus Bay (herbicide and near-shore clean-up) and made several requests of the Alliance, with the request for letters of support still pending from the June discussion, as no consensus was reached and CLP has reiterated their request. Ms. Barber stated that she believed the Alliance, as a science-based organization whose mission is linked to implementing recommendations made in our established guidance documents (Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS)), finds it difficult to support the CLP projects to the extent that they do not comply with the guidance documents. Mr. Wehrfritz commented that CLP provided letter of support templates but that the expectation was for the Alliance to edit the verbiage as they saw fit. Mrs. Rine commented that the Alliance should be about supporting all of the different lake organizations, not just some, and feels the CLP’s voice is not being heard. Mr. Shepherd stated that we all have our own perspectives but the big challenge is about what are we, the collective we, rather than individuals, going to do for the overall good of the lake. He shared that from the Foundations’ perspective, they are looking for the Alliance to establish an implementation strategy for the recommendations in the guidance documents. In the meantime, Mr. Shepherd stated he felt it is important to recognize that these homeowners do have an issue and made a motion to draft a letter of support that would contain agreeable language, seconded by Mr. Horrigan. Further discussion was had. Mr. Wehrfritz advised that there were now several herbicide permit applications pending: the original requests to use two separate chemicals for the whole bay, the emergency request pertaining to curly-leaf pondweed, and the one that went in today to the DEC which focuses on research and limited chemical application to test zones. They have pending funding requests to local foundations and would like the Alliance to send letters of support. Mrs. Nystrom commented that many established scientific facts as well as facts from the MMS were being left out of the CLP narrative, such as the fact that the MMS identifies chemicals that are recommended and ones that are not. As an example, the CLP project involves 2,4D but that this particular herbicide is not recommended for use in this lake per the MMS. Mr. Spann stated that he felt Ms. Barber’s comments were good and that any letter of support should include language linked to the MMS. Mr. Chagnon called for a vote on the motion made my Mr. Shepherd. There were six votes for and one opposed to providing letters of support and the motion carried. Mr. Chagnon suggested that Mr. Shepherd and Ms. Brickley work on drafting the letter with appropriate language.
B: Email Request for Apology:
Mr. Cirbus, on behalf of the CLP, sent an email to Ms. Brickley and Mr. Chagnon regarding concerns over the treatment of Mr. Wehrfritz at the last Alliance board meeting and requested a public apology be made. Mr. Horrigan commented that the tone, rather than the message, did not reflect the Alliance and a level of respect for all should be maintained. Mr. Chagnon read the email that was received and Mr. Wehrfritz stated that he had received a personal apology that same night and as far as he was concerned, the matter was resolved.
C. Request to County to Suspend CLA Harvesting in Bemus Bay:
Mr. Horrigan advised that CLP had been in contact with the County offices earlier in the day requesting that CLA cease the harvesting work they were doing this morning in Bemus Bay. CLA had previously been advised to harvest as needed until such time as one or more of the herbicide permit applications were approved by DEC. Today’s CLP request was due to a recently amended herbicide permit that was just submitted to the DEC, also today, that called for research to be conducted in several discreet zones rather than the whole bay, which may require before and after assessments that the harvesting could impede. Mr. Horrigan commented that he would prefer to have CLA operate as normal until specifics about possible herbicide application are fully known and established, especially since there was a real need for CLA’s harvesting and near-shore operations in the bay as the weed growth has been heavy this year, but that the timing of the different players today was unfortunate. He also questioned whether the County has the authority and felt this is the type of topic that could come to the Alliance for discussion and resolution, or perhaps direct communications between the two groups could also be helpful. Ms. Barber stated that she would think it would be the role of the DEC to communicate with the municipalities named on the permits regarding any need to cease actions/management in possible treatment areas. Mr. Wehrfritz agreed but would still request that harvesting be stopped until DEC identifies the test locations.
XII. Discussion on July Meeting Date:
After discussion, the July meeting will be moved from the standard second Thursday to the following week, to be held on 7/20/17 at 4pm. Since the Stow Senior Center is not available, it will be moved to the BWB building in Jamestown, 2nd floor conference room.
XIII. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Mr. Chagnon opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Mr. Champ shared that he has lived on the lake a long time and finally an Alliance is formed based on science and that it was critical our approach be based on science, not politics or anything else. The Alliance members represent a cross section and we must take all member perspectives into consideration. He also reminded everyone that the Jamestown Riverfront Council will hold its inaugural McCrea Point Festival at the boat landing on Saturday July 8th which will include exhibits, the Chautauqua Bell, and participants from CLA, Resource Center and others.
- Mr. Jablonski commented that via the state CFA’s this year, the Water Quality Improvement Grant (WQIP) now includes land conservation to protect drinking water sources as an eligible project. The CWC may have a possible conservation site along Prendergast and they may be looking to partner with the Alliance on such a grant request. However, given the timeline currently, it would be for a CFA submission in 2018.
- Professor Jan Bowman introduced herself to those in attendance as a JCC science professor who has been doing research on Chautauqua Lake for many years. She also introduced her research student, Skylar, who had joined her in attending this Alliance meeting. Based on the current controversies over the CLP efforts for herbicide in Bemus Bay, she and some students recently went out to take some baseline plant samples in Bemus Bay on May 30th. She noted that there was plant diversity in just two rake tosses consisting of six different species in Bemus Bay: Potamogeton crispus (aka Curly-leaf Pondweed) which was most abundant, Myriophyllum spicatum (aka Eurasian Milfoil), Potamogeton pusillus (aka Lesser Pondweed), Certophyllum demersum (aka Coon’s Tail or Hornwort), Elodea canadensis, and what we believe to be Potamogeton hillii (confirmation in process). Potamogeton hillii is a rare, but not protected, plant in North America. Microscopic examination of the water in Bemus Bay resulted in a diverse number of diatoms along with the presence of two cyanobacteria, Microcystis and Anabaena. Zooplankton was abundant and diverse. The Total Phosphorus levels were elevated (above the desired 0.02 mg/L), and the research group noted several examples of poor land use practices by shoreline residents, including excessive mowing to the lakeshore. Professor Bowman also advised that her students had been doing some science literature review on the topic and found one interesting study showing that Milfoil was actually used as a tool to combat high levels of blue-green algae / cyanobacteria concluding that Milfoil releases allelopathic chemicals that inhibit Microcystis. She noted this highlighted one of her concerns which is how an herbicide application and plant die off would impact algal growth and the potential for increased Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Mr. Wehrfritz shared that CLP had just spent $10k on a weed study as required by DEC and their results showed high level of invasive species. He also stated that harvesting adds to the decomposition layer on the bottom of the lake. Professor Bowman noted that nutrient loads are not just from decomposing plant matter. Land use is a huge factor in nutrient loading and there is no silver bullet to achieve our human use objectives.
- Mr. Conroe requested that the CLP share their plant survey data publicly. The CLA invests in annual lake-wide plant surveys every year and results can be found on their website. He also advised the group that CLA has been in early operation but goes full time next week. Plant growth appears to be heavy with advanced growth this year, with high levels of Curly-leaf Pondweed, which will start to die off before peak recreation season, and that so far Milfoil doesn’t appear to be quite as dense.
Mr. Horrigan motioned to adjourn at 5:31 p.m., seconded by Ms. Barber. The motion was approved unanimously.