Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, May 9, 2019
4:30 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Jay Bailey, George Borrello, Pierre Chagnon, Bruce Erickson, Ted McCague & Dave Wesp.
Absent: Linda Barber & Dave Shepherd.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. June Diethrick & Tory Irgang – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Linda Swanson – Sheldon Foundation. Eric Zavinski – Post-Journal. Interested citizens: Doug Champ, Sam Hazen, Vince Horrigan, Mike & Peggy Newell.
Member Representatives in Attendance: Scott Schrecengost – Village of Celoron, Mary Laumer, Craig Seger & John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Doug Conroe, Debbie Moore & Chris Flanders – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Karen Rine – South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, and Jim Cirbus, Jim Wehrfritz & Craig Butler– Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), Chautauqua County – Dave McCoy, Cassie Pinkoski – Soil & Water, Town of North Harmony – Louise Ortman, Town of Busti – Jesse Robbins.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Jane Conroe
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:38 pm, after the conclusion of the annual May Member Meeting. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (7 of 9) present. P. Chagnon advised that those new directors voted on today at the annual May Member Meeting (Mary Laumer, Rob Yates & Mike LaTone) held just prior to the regular board meeting will be seated in June after they have a chance to complete their conflict of interest paperwork and review introductory documents packet provided by P. Chagnon.
II. Election of Officers:
P. Chagnon advised that current officers are as follows: Chair – Pierre Chagnon, Vice-Chair – Ted McCague, Secretary – Dave Shepherd and Treasurer – Dave Wesp. This will be D. Wesp’s last meeting as a director due to retirement but the other three officers have ongoing terms on the Alliance board. P. Chagnon advised that he, T. McCague, and D. Shepherd have agreed to hold their officer positions and nominated Jim Andrews as the new Treasurer and that he offers this slate up for consideration. B. Erickson made a motion to approve the officers as described by P. Chagnon, seconded by D. Wesp. The motion passed unanimously.
III. Approval of Minutes:
D. Wesp made a motion to accept the minutes of the 4/23/19 Board work session, seconded by G. Borrello. The motion to approve the work session minutes was approved unanimously.
IV. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
R. Perry gave an update on the status of the eleven state funded Alliance/Member projects:
County Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Round 12 grants (six in total) (2015):
- NYSDEC Quarterly progress reports and MWBE reports submitted in April
- NYS partial reimbursements paid to County by NYSDEC
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Construction complete at Dutch Hollow Creek Main Stem (2018) – now tracking vegetative establishment and project performance.
- Construction substantially complete at West Dutch Hollow Creek (2018) – working with property owner to retire final punch-list items.
- Time extension request approved by NYSDEC to utilize surplus funding to address erosion issues at additional nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek; coordination among County/Alliance/Owners in progress.
- Ball Creek: Bank/grade stabilization complete (2017); Site preparation for additional riparian native plant establishment in progress; Site preparation and planting-related work to continue in 2019.
- 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.
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through) (2015):
- Final reimbursement received by County. Grant closeout appears to be complete.
- NOTE: Though the state grant is closed out, this program entitled “Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Invasive Species Early Detection Volunteer Taskforce” will continue in 2019. The Alliance board of directors recommended this project for funding approval November 8, 2018 for total costs of $7,550 and resolved to accept foundation source funding for this purpose at their meeting on February 14, 2019.
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study DEC/EFC EPG Grant (2016):
- Grant closeout is now complete.
Celoron Breakwall and Boardwalk LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Final reimbursement and grant close-out underway
Celoron Park Improvement (Amenities Building) LWRP grant (2017):
- Design Phase completed by Village and LaBella
- Target construction bidding ca. May-June 2019
Mayville / Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study NYS DEC/EFC EPG Grant (2017):
- Draft Report and Draft Concept-level Designs & Estimates for six (6) potential projects selected by Village & Town is under review. Public meeting to review Draft products was held 5/2/19.
- Final Public Project Meeting to review FINAL report/designs scheduled for 5/22/19 at 4 PM (location TBD).
Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit NYS EFC GIGP Grant (2018):
- Project Team efforts underway (roughly monthly meetings)
- Coordinating Village fulfillment of EFC Project Checklist; Section I of Checklist appears to be Complete ca. 4/30/19; next step is execution of Grant Agreement between Village and EFC.
- Request for Proposals to select project engineer anticipated for Summer 2019
Busti Precision Swales Stabilization NYS DEC WQIP Grant (2018):
- NYS-Town contract setup is underway
- Project Team efforts underway
- Request for Proposals to select project engineer anticipated for Summer 2019
Skimming Capital Equipment NYS DEC WQIP Grant (2018):
- NYS-County contract setup is underway
- Invitation for Bids is complete and waiting for State Contract establishment to release
V. Report from Science Committee: No Report.
VI. Status Update on Plan of Action for Burtis Bay Cleanup:
E. Brickley gave an update on Burtis Bay clean-up efforts. The Alliance facilitated a site assessment meeting with multiple organizations at the end of March once ice off occurred. Over the next weeks, multiple stakeholders met as well as participated in conference calls to finalize an approach and scope of work together to coordinate the needed clean up.
Based on a final 4/23/19 site meeting between CLA & the Alliance, the following summary of work was developed and agreed to by all to address the cleanup: The area of concern is roughly defined as an approximately 2,950 linear feet section of shoreline from the southern end of the Ellicott Town Park to the northernmost point of Burtis Bay at the Ellicott Shores Apartment, just north of the lakeshore terminus of Duquesne Street in the Village of Celoron. Because the proposed approach is a hybrid waterside and landside effort with multiple partners (partners & roles listed below), the area of concern was subdivided into three (3) work areas.
- CLA: primary service provider for the majority of the site with a water side approach
- County of Chautauqua: in-kind contribution of excavator(s), truck(s), and operator(s)/driver(s) to work from shoreline; possible disposal at County landfill of dewatered spoils later in 2019; coordinate Warner Dam operations with NYSDEC and Jamestown BPU; project implementation oversight; project funder (1 of 3)
- Town of Ellicott: staging/dewatering area at Town Park; hold material on site as necessary; load and transport dewatered spoils to County Landfill or alternative location later in 2019
- Village of Celoron: equipment/labor to assist County; general logistical support to County workers at County/Celoron work area; landowner coordination for access beyond Duquesne Street ROW; site cleanup/restoration (topsoil/grass) in work area
- Alliance: in-kind Alliance staff assistance (1 FTE) to operate CLA equipment throughout waterside services & CLA service contract holder; project funder (2 of 3) sourced from Sheldon Foundation
- NYSDEC: upon acceptance of proposed plan of work, allowed rule curve exception for Warner Dam operation to decrease flow over/through dam to increase pool level of Chautauqua Lake
- Jamestown BPU: implement modified dam operations allowed by NYSDEC and requested by County
- Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF): project funder (3 of 3) via the Alliance. E. Brickley noted that the County landside efforts were completed April 29 & 30 and CLA started their waterside approach as of May 1 and that work is ongoing. As the material is cleared, there tends to be another wave of material built back up by the next day or two, with the areas at the end of Duquesne and Livingston being the worst. CLA has been making multiple passes since the beginning of May and have made good progress as reducing the amounts that have been building back up after already being serviced. CLA efforts remain ongoing but they will complete their services prior to any pending herbicide treatments. R. Yates has been working with the town on removing the materials from the park once sufficient dewatering has occurred and his voluntary efforts have been greatly appreciated. E. Brickley commented on the fact that conditions have been challenging and it has been great to see all the different players working together to assist, and thanked all those involved in the efforts.
VII. Status Update of County Pursuit of a Consensus Strategy for Aquatic Plant Management:
G. Borrello gave an update to those in attendance and advised that he feels there has been unprecedented cooperation going on around the lake and Burtis Bay and the MOA for the plant management consensus have been great examples recently. In the past, he believes there was funding sitting on the sidelines due to contentious perceptions and that positive collaboration by all the stakeholders has helped bring in more funding and that we are stepping up for each other on multiple fronts. He expressed his thanks to all who have been working so hard in this direction.
VIII. Approve $10k from 2019 County Agency Allocation to Alliance to Partially Fund 3rd Party Monitoring of 2019 Herbicide Treatments:
P. Chagnon advised that as noted in last month’s work session minutes, at the request of county and due to timeline concerns (and the Alliance ability to be more flexible), the Alliance had reached out to two qualified consulting firms and is pursuing contract negotiations with Princeton Hydro to perform independent 3rd party monitoring services for the pending 2019 herbicide treatments. He commented that this 3rd party monitoring is really a first action taken under the recently signed MOA consensus strategy and that it is focused on high priority action due to some member/community concerns with this type of treatment. The total monitoring costs are planned at a cost not to exceed $45k, with $35k anticipated from the County and $10k to be covered by the Alliance. D. Wesp made a motion to approve $10k toward the cost of the monitoring, seconded by J. Bailey. The motion passed unanimously.
J. Jablonski asked about use of rake tosses and underwater cameras for the Princeton Hydro work to assist in correctly directing the treatment areas to those locations with densest plant growth. R. Perry commented that this work in independent monitoring and not meant to direct the treatment actions. J. Jablonski then asked of the 3rd party monitoring would include assessment of possible impacts in the lake’s outlet and beyond and was advised that there are test plots and sample points in the southern end of the south basin at the mouth of the outlet, but not further. J. Jablonski commented that was disappointing to hear. P. Chagnon commented that the Alliance staff had an extremely short window between the signing deadline of the MOA and the anticipated dates for 2019 herbicide and that it is a very positive step that this monitoring is happening at all this year given the timeline of events. It is anticipated that Princeton Hydro will give recommendations on adjustments to the 3rd party monitoring scope of work in future years and that their final report near the end of summer will be made public.
J. Conroe asked about being able to see the plant survey that was done last fall which should have informed the DEC decisions on where and how much to permit. E. Brickley commented she believes that was published by the Town of Ellery in a more recent technical report (required at the time of permit submission based on increased acres be requested). J. Conroe noted that traditionally the DEC permits locations were solely based on invasive plant densities but it doesn’t seem that rule of thumb was fully applied this year. G. Borrello noted that the DEC has been to Chautauqua Lake multiple times and is familiar the conditions here. D. Moore requested copies of the permits and also commented that she has not received any herbicide notification in regards to the anticipated treatments. E. Zavinski commented that he had received copies of the permits from a request to the DEC but the acres documented on the permits don’t match the total being discussed tonight so perhaps he didn’t have the most updated version of the permits.
IX. Consider Reallocation of Town of Busti pending $10k Grant from Alliance:
P. Chagnon reminded attendees that the Alliance had four $10k pending grants ($40k total) to the Towns of Ellery, Ellicott, Busti and North Harmony toward the 2019 herbicide treatments but the one caveat for the grants was an approved DEC permit in hand by June 1. The Town of Busti did not receive a permit this year and therefore reallocating these funds is considered. P. Chagnon advised that the Town of Busti Supervisor, Jesse Robbins and their town board have suggested giving their pending $10k to the Village of Celoron now that they did not receive a permit, as to maximize the amount of actually permitted acres being treated since Celoron received a permit but has a funding shortfall. Town of Busti had already approved themselves reallocation of their own earmarked money of $10k to the Village of Lakewood, who did get permitted but also had a funding shortfall. P. Chagnon noted that these pending grant dollars were sourced from Sheldon Foundation and CRCF and he had already discussed this possible change with them prior to tonight’s board meeting. G. Borrello made a motion to reallocate Town of Busti’s grant (as suggested by them) to Celoron, seconded by T. McCague. J. Andrews abstained as he is on the Town of Busti board as well. The motion passed unanimously.
P. Chagnon then offered up the floor to J. Cirbus since he had just informed the chair prior to the start of this meeting that additional funding has been secured for 2019 herbicides. J. Cirbus commented that he had just gotten off the phone and received approval from Joe Johnson at The Lenna Foundation for the remaining needed funds to cover the total costs for all permitted acres, estimated to be 395 acres at a total cost of approximately $330k. It was previously believed that based on various funding shortfalls amongst the permitted municipalities, not all acres permitted would be treated. J. Cirbus noted he believes Lenna means to pass these funds through the Alliance.
G. Borrello advised that the County was also planning on assisting with the funding gap and is looking to commit $30k toward this year’s treatment costs.
X. Update on Ad-Hoc Committee Recommendations:
P. Chagnon advised that the two ad-hoc committee recommendations (add 2 more at-large board directors as well as creation of a new committee structure) were tabled at last month’s Alliance work session. The concept of adding two more at-large director positions has gotten mixed reviews amongst members and the Alliance had been waiting on the member nominating process for the annual May Member Meeting before decisioning this part of the ad-hoc committees’ recommendation since it requires a change to the by-laws and a good number of willing candidates. Those offered were not in great enough number to have filled two more at-large positions. P. Chagnon noted no action on either recommendation has been taken yet.
XI. Discussion on Loss of NYS Funding for CLA/CLP:
P. Chagnon advised that in past years, Senator Kathy Young had been instrumental in securing state dollars to assist CLA for at least the last decade or so and that last year’s amount was $150k and that Assemblyman Andy Goodell had been successful at getting the CLP funding the last year or two for approximately $95k. P. Chagnon asked D. Conroe to describe the type of impacts on CLA this year due to the loss in state funding toward their operations. D. Conroe stated that not only is there a loss of $150k from the state but currently looking at a loss of $182k from local municipal tradition assistance and all told, after extra support of foundations and the Alliance as well as individual and business donors, that they are likely to have more than $110k shortfall in this year’s budget, just to try and match same level of services as last year. He commented that would likely result in hard choices such as reduction in the number of crews operating this summer and/or a reduction in the size of the crews. P. Chagnon asked J. Cirbus to comment on impacts to CLP. J. Cirbus commented that it certainly hurts but that the CLP has great projects going forward regardless.
P. Chagnon commented that a loss of $240k of state funding is dramatic and that the county and the foundations and the Alliance are stepping up but that this type of local push is untenable and exactly the reason he hopes the community will see the critical role of annual dedicated funding. The county legislature has an agency exploring this in the form of a possible lake district and he called for all to be involved.
XII. Open Floor / Member Updates:
P Chagnon opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- M. Laumer advised of the upcoming Chautauqua Lake conference organized and supported by numerous lake and watershed groups will be held on Saturday June 15th and encourages all to consider attending. The event is free to the public and more information and registration can be found at www.chautauqualakeconference.org. D. Champ also encouraged everyone to attend as this is the first year and he has been suggesting this type of all day educational event for years and excited to see this come to fruition. He advised there will be great presenters and vendors participating.
- CLP advised of their Rally on May 25th and July 11th fundraiser at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.
- C. Pinkoski advised that the Conewango Creek Watershed Association was leading their annual Chautauqua Lake Outlet Clean Up on May 18th and it’s a great service to our community that both Soil & Water and CLA also assist with this event. P. McLaughlin advised that the host/ gathering location is at the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association in Celoron and they are providing free lunch to all volunteers.
- Peggy Newell advised that she is a shoreline homeowner in Burtis Bay who, along with her husband and assistance from CLP, first brought this unusually detrimental conditions situation to the Alliance’s attention last year. She wished to express her thanks and gratitude to the many people involved in the Burtis Bay clean up project.
P. Chagnon wished to express his deep appreciation and thanks to the three Alliance directors who will not be serving another term, Jay Bailey, Linda Barber and Dave Wesp. Jay stepped into a vacancy end of last year and has been a very valuable participant in board discussions. Linda was instrumental in the CLMC and the formation of this Alliance. Dave has been a tireless proponent of working better together and effective cooperation amongst the various stakeholders. Your willingness to volunteer your time and energy on behalf of the lake and our community is so very appreciated.
D. Wesp motioned to adjourn at 5:52 p.m., seconded by T. McCague. The motion was approved unanimously.