Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, June 11, 2020
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Paul Wendel, David Shepherd, and Pierre Chagnon
Absent: Jim Andrews, Rob Yates, Mike Latone
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 4:35 PM.
II. Approval of 5/14/2020 Minutes
T. McCague made a motion to accept the minutes from the 5/14/2020 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by B. Erickson and was approved unanimously.
III. Alliance Committees Update
1.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
B. Erickson gave a summary of the June 9th Lake Management Committee meeting. B. Erickson indicated that it would have been nice if the Scientific Review and Advisory Committee had a chance to provide the Alliance Board with a list of pros and cons of the aquatic herbicide ProcellaCOR EC.
B. Erickson indicated that the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) started their harvesting season early in response to the aggressive early season curly-leaf pondweed growth. B. Erickson indicated that the Mobitracs were working near the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel stacking the collected debris at the Celoron Boat Launch.
V. Horrigan indicated that he spoke with the Village of Lakewood Department of Public Works Supervisor T. Pilling who indicated that the Village would be willing to help with debris removal.
D. Shepherd asked about the locations of the topped out macrophytes.
B. Erickson indicated that the curly-leaf pondweed is topped out near Quigley Park, the narrows, Burtis Bay, Arnold’s Bay, and Greenhurst.
D. Shepherd asked B. Erickson about the CLA’s policy on harvesting curly-leaf pondweed.
B. Erickson indicated that harvesting curly-leaf pondweed before it dies can be an impactful management tool. B. Erickson indicated that it is not feasible to clear cut these large stands of curly-leaf pondweed growth, which is why the CLA harvests navigation channels.
M. Jabot indicated that this would be a good topic for the DAR Committee to look at and emphasized the importance of presenting data in a responsible way.
B. Erickson indicated that this year’s early season curly-leaf pondweed growth supports the importance of a spring macrophyte survey.
M. Jabot indicated that both harvesting and macrophyte survey data could potentially provide a baseline dataset for the DAR Committee.
P. Wendel indicated that data collection is critical, but emphasized the importance of analyzing the winter weather conditions to gage potential spring lake management needs.
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA and CLP both agree that the lower lake levels this spring may have been a factor in the proliferation of curly-leaf pondweed.
V. Horrigan indicated that D. McCoy closely monitors the gages. V. Horrigan indicated that if the lake level rule curves were potentially changed to allow a higher lake level, then this may increase the risk of lakeshore flooding and potentially property damage.
P. Wendel indicated that the County has contacted the NYS DEC about the lake levels in Chautauqua Lake and is hoping have further dialogue with the Department in the future.
V. Horrigan indicated that he and D. McCoy will discuss this topic and may attempt to setup a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and the NYS DEC in the future.
V. Horrigan complimented the Town of Chautauqua and Chautauqua Lake Association on their early season spring near-shore and shoreline cleanup work
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).
3.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has a plan in place to transition the Scientific Review and Advisory Committee into the Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee. V. Horrigan indicated that M. Jabot will chair the Committee. V. Horrigan indicated that M. Jabot drafted a DAR Committee Whitepaper and asked M. Jabot to review the document with the Board.
M. Jabot indicated that this is a unique opportunity and a good time to look at existing datasets. M. Jabot indicated that it is important to know what each dataset allows us to say and do and indicated that it is also important to know the limitations of each dataset. M. Jabot also indicated that it is important that we use the data as a constructive tool and not a weapon.
B. Erickson indicated that CLA staff are working with Cummins Engine to develop an app that would allow CLA operators to scan a bar code that would allow them to digitally track harvesting data.
P. Chagnon indicated the importance of populating the Committee with a few individuals who hold Six Sigma credentials as the Committee will be analyzing a lot of data in their future endeavors.
B. Erickson indicated that the February underwater videos displayed variable plant conditions depending on the location of the video.
T. McCague indicated that he is excited about this new Committee and emphasized that the membership of this Committee should be comprised of data-oriented individuals who do not have a specific agenda. T. McCague asked M. Jabot about the Committee’s plans to manage all of the data.
M. Jabot indicated that ideally researchers, contractors, consultants, etc. could come to the Alliance for the data. M. Jabot indicated that these data would be final processed outputs and not raw or draft data.
D. Shepherd expressed his concerns about how the current members of the Scientific Review and Advisory Committee will feel about this transition.
P. Chagnon indicated that he is going to speak to the members of the Committee personally.
D. Shepherd made a motion to approve the transition of the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee into the Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee. This motion was seconded by T. McCague.
P. Wendel indicated that the data needs to be used as a tool and not a weapon.
M. Jabot indicated that the future members of this Committee will follow a specific set of rules, which would include a clause about sharing only Board-approved work products to individuals outside of the Committee.
P. Chagnon called the motion made by D. Shepherd to a Board vote, which carried unanimously.
IV. MCA Scoring Tool Update Proposal
V. Horrigan indicated that the Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) tool is part of the Alliance’s 5-Year Strategy. V. Horrigan indicated that it is time to update the tool citing our foundation funding partner’s strong encouragement for the update and increased involvement by municipalities, new lake and watershed management data, and new lake and watershed management technology-initiatives. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance contacted EcoLogic LLC to ask them about potentially updating the MCA tool. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is in the process of writing a grant to the Foundations, which would assist with funding the MCA tool update. V. Horrigan indicated that the Foundations have expressed their support for this initiative.
R. Perry reviewed the key points of the grant application with the Board and detailed the process of creating the initial version of the MCA tool. R. Perry indicated that there are a variety of data that have been published since the creation of the 5-Year Strategy and MCA tool, which could assist with the MCA tool update.
P. Chagnon indicated that he is encouraged by the Foundation’s support of this initiative and asked the Board if they support the submission of this grant application.
D. Shepherd made a motion to submit the grant application as presented to the Board. M. Jabot seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
V. Revised Third-Party Monitoring: Scope of Work and Budget
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has executed a contract with Princeton Hydro to perform third-party monitoring of the planned 2020 targeted herbicide treatment in Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated that the work will focus on the potential impacts on non-target species, which was a recommendation of the Chautauqua County MOA.
D. Shepherd indicated that the Alliance was accused of comparing apples to oranges due to variations in the macrophyte survey methodologies between the third-party monitor and Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists and asked how the Alliance could avoid this in 2020.
R. Perry indicated that for 2020, Princeton Hydro would be utilizing the Racine-Johnson plant survey method for data collection in an effort to unify survey methods. R. Perry indicated that Princeton Hydro will be focusing a lot of their time on plant response in treatment and non-treatment areas in 2020.
VI. Village of Lakewood EFC Travel Contingency
V. Horrigan indicated that some of the travel expenses for the contractor and subcontractors are not eligible for reimbursement through NYS EFC. V Horrigan indicated that the Alliance may need to set aside contingency funding if these issues can’t be resolved with NYS EFC.
R. Perry indicated that NYS EFC indicated that the US EPA will not reimburse for travel-related expenses. R. Perry indicated that travel expenses are necessary costs to get the contractor and subcontractors from their office to the project site.
R. Perry indicated that the contingency funding would come out of the Alliance’s Foundation Match Fund, which if allocated to the project, would count as local match. R. Perry indicated that this potential contingency funding would increase the Alliance’s share to $27,500, which is well below the maximum limit per grant. R. Perry indicated that a Board action is needed to allocate $7,500 from the Alliance Foundation Match Fund to the Village of Lakewood to cover non-eligible but necessary travel-related expenses associated with their NYS EFC grant.
T. McCague recused himself from voting on this Board action as he is a Village of Lakewood Board member.
B. Erickson made a motion to allocate $7,500 to the Village of Lakewood as a travel contingency to cover travel-related expenses associated with their grant. D. Shepherd seconded the motion made by B. Erickson, which passed unanimously.
VII. Alliance Website
T. West asked the Board for permission to create a “News” tab on the Alliance’s website, which would house Alliance press releases, important lake updates/ news, and other pertinent items. T. West indicated that this would make it easier for members of the public to view Alliance press rather than solely relying on the local media outlets.
B. Erickson made a motion to allow T. West to create a News tab on the Alliance’s website. This motion was seconded by T. McCague and passed unanimously.
VIII. CLAD Update
T. West presented a short slideshow presentation to the Alliance Board, which detailed the results of the 6/4/20 field validation trip. T. West indicated that the staff encountered some sonar issues on the first trip, which caused data gaps in areas of dense vegetation growth. T. West indicated that these issues were resolved by adjusting the sonar mode from general to shallow. T. West indicated that the field validation phase consists of sonar collected macrophyte, depth, and bottom hardness data, which is compared to in-situ rake-toss and underwater video data in order to validate the biovolume results. T. West indicated that the CLAD field validation phase is going well so far and indicated that the Alliance staff plans to continue the field validation throughout the summer.
IX. July 18th Public Meeting: (Chautauqua Institution Host Webinar)
V. Horrigan indicated that the Chautauqua Institution will host the Water Quality Research Panel digitally in a webinar format. V. Horrigan indicated that preregistration is preferred for planning purposes.
T. McCague asked if a time was set for the event yet.
R. Perry indicated that the event would start around 9:30 AM and would last for around 2 hours.
1.) Third-Party Monitor Proposed Budget
P. Chagnon asked the Board to consider a motion to authorize the staff to proceed with the Third-Party Monitor based on the proposed budget.
M. Jabot made a motion to authorize the staff to proceed with the Third-Party Monitor based on the proposed budget. The motion was seconded by B. Erickson and passed unanimously.
2.). 6/19/2020 Board Email Vote: Reallocation of Herbicide Funding
V. Horrigan indicated that the Village of Celoron and Town of Ellicott were awarded $26,000 in total ($13K each) for 2020 herbicide treatments with payment contingent on receiving NYSDEC permits. V. Horrigan indicated that neither municipality received a NYSDEC permit, so that $26,000 will not be paid to them.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Town of Busti indicated a total anticipated cost to treat their entire 59.2 permitted acres of $34,600.76. V. Horrigan indicated that the Town was awarded (via a grant to the Chautauqua Lake Partnership) $13,000 in Alliance funds for the treatment. V. Horrigan indicated that there is a funding gap of $21,600.76.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Village of Lakewood indicated a total anticipated cost to treat their entire 20.2 permitted acres of $17,221.63. V. Horrigan indicated that the Village was awarded (via a grant to the Chautauqua Lake Partnership) $13,000 in Alliance funds for the treatment. V. Horrigan indicated that there is a funding gap of $4,221.63.
V. Horrigan indicated that the total funding gap between Busti and Lakewood is $25,822.39.
After consulting with P.Chagnon, V. Horrigan emailed the Alliance Board to approve the reallocation of $25,822.39 from the unused Ellicott/Celoron share ($26,000). V. Horrigan indicated that if the Board approved this action, the Alliance would amend its current contracts with CLP for the Busti and Lakewood treatments by the gap amounts listed above.
Vote Carried: 5 ayes (Wendel, Erickson, Shepherd, Chagnon, Latone), 1 nay (Jabot), 2 Abstentions (McCague, Andrews), One absent (R Yates).
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the June 11, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:50 PM.
XII. Executive Session
The Board entered into executive session at 6:00 PM.
The Board exited executive session at 6:25 PM