Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors
Thursday, May 14, 2020
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Rob Yates, Bruce Erickson, Paul Wendel, Jr., Mike Latone, David Shepherd, and Pierre Chagnon.
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; Tory Irgang – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF); Jay Young – The Post-Journal
Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine – South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District; Debbie Moore & Rebecca Nystrom – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA); Dr. Jim Cirbus & Tom Erlandson – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP); John Jablonski & Whitney Gleason – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC); Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County; Pat McLaughlin – Town of Ellicott; Steve Hayes – Town of Ellery; John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution; Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony; Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Allegany Region; and Brian Dahlberg – Village of Bemus Point.
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 5:09 PM.
II. Approval of 4/9/2020 Minutes:
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes from the 4/9/2020 Board Work Session. The motion was seconded by M. Latone and was approved unanimously.
III. Projects Update
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance has continued to advance active projects as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. R. Perry indicated that each of the active projects listed below have experienced or are experiencing varying degrees of delay due to the ongoing closures and other public health and safety measures. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance will continue to work with the grantees, project teams, and NYS funding partners to advance projects as safely and efficiently as possible as conditions develop.
- 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)
- Time extension request approved by NYSDEC to utilize surplus funding to address erosion issues at additional nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek (Phase II); coordination among County, Alliance, Engineer, and Owners in progress.
- Ball Creek, Goose Creek, Bemus Creek, and Prendergast Creek: All work complete; grants close-out in progress (Grants End 4/30/20)
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement Phase IV Design & Construction (amenities building) LWRP grant
- Construction nearing completion (ca. Summer 2020)
- 2018-2020 Invasive Species Early Detection – Volunteer Task Force
- Alliance joined WNYPRISM-led Water Chestnut Working Group, first meeting held 1/23/20
- Contact RTPI or Taylor West if interested in participating in 2020 programs.
- New for 2020: Water chestnut removal pilot program by Audubon Community Nature Center
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Engineer design by Barton & Loguidice underway; next milestone 75% Design ca. May 2020
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Engineer design by EcoStrategies underway; next milestone Draft Final Design ca. Summer 2020
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway (expected delivery Summer 2020)
- 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
K. Rine indicated that she wishes the Village of Celoron Mayor and the Village DPW staff would be recognized by the Alliance for their hard work redoing the boat launch at Lucille Ball Memorial Park.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Village has done a great job with the park improvements and thanked K. Rine for emphasizing this.
IV. 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grants Update
V. Horrigan indicated that all of the Foundation grant agreements have been executed.
V. Horrigan indicated there has been an incredible amount of collaboration and unity of effort between the Town of Busti and Town of Chautauqua with the recently completed Vukote Canal Clean-up Project. V. Horrigan indicated there has also been a tremendous amount of collaboration between the Town of North Harmony, Town of Chautauqua, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, and Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District to plan the Hadley Bay Clean-up Project. V. Horrigan asked the Alliance Board to approve repurposing $5,000 of surplus funding from the Town of Chautauqua Mobitrac Grant award to help fund these two efforts. V. Horrigan indicated there was surplus funding because the Town of Chautauqua was able to secure a Mobitrac for under the amount asked for in the grant.
D. Shepherd made a motion to repurpose $5,000 of surplus funding from the Town of Chautauqua Consolidated Foundation Grant award to support the near-shore and shoreline clean-up efforts pursued in Vukote and Hadley Bay. T. McCague seconded the motion made by D. Shepherd.
P. Chagnon indicated these collaborative efforts are terrific.
P. Chagnon called for a vote on the motion made by D. Shepherd. The motion carried unanimously.
V. 2020 Alliance County 2% Grant Update
V. Horrigan indicated the County 2% allocation of $90,000 to the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) was approved at the April Alliance Board Meeting. V. Horrigan indicated that the terms and conditions of this grant would include Chautauqua County MOA compliance and GPS installation on harvesting and Mobitrac support equipment. V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance has received the CLA’s signed grant agreement, which was signed after the deadline of 5/11/20. V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance received the signed grant agreement late because the CLA Board wanted to meet and discuss the grant prior to signing it. V. Horrigan asked the Board if they would accept the signed grant agreement late.
M. Jabot made a motion to accept the CLA signed grant agreement late. D. Shepherd seconded the motion made by M. Jabot. B. Erickson asked that he be recused from this vote indicating that it is a conflict of interest. P. Chagnon accepted B. Erickson’s recusal.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance recently applied for grant funding through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) to purchase 6 GPS units for use on the CLA’s harvesting and Mobitrac support equipment and 3 GPS units for use on Mobitracs. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance would have access to the data generated from these units in order to create informational maps about harvesting, shoreline, and near-shore clean-up activities. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance intends to hear back from CRCF in the near future regarding the status of the grant application.
J. Cirbus asked who would third-party monitor the CLA this year.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance would act as the independent third-party monitor for the CLA this year.
A discussion followed between J. Cirbus and V. Horrigan about MOA compliance and third-party monitoring of the CLA.
P. Chagnon indicated that he reached out to various organizations and consultants about the best way to third-party monitor weed harvesting activities on Chautauqua Lake. P. Chagnon indicated that based on his research, Alliance GPS monitoring of the CLA would be responsive to the tenets of the MOA.
V. Horrigan indicated that Alliance staff would manage and analyze the GPS data collected through this program.
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA fully intends to report the truckloads of material they removed from the lake through their harvesting and shoreline operations on their website.
P. Chagnon called the motion made by M. Jabot to a roll call vote.
Motion Carried: 6 ayes (McCague, Shepherd, Yates, Wendel, Jabot, Andrews), 1 nay (Latone), 1 abstention (Erickson).
V. Horrigan indicated the County has $60,000 set aside for third-party monitoring and targeted herbicide treatments (pending NYS DEC permit approval). V. Horrigan asked the Board to allocate $30,000 towards third-party monitoring and $30,000 towards a targeted herbicide treatment in Burtis Bay (pending NYS DEC permit approval).
T. McCague made a motion to accept the allocation as presented by V. Horrigan. This motion was seconded by M. Latone and passed unanimously.
VI. Alliance Committees Update
1.) Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is re-chartering the Scientific Review and Advisory Committee into the Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee. V. Horrigan indicated that more details about the re-chartered committee would be announced in the future.
2.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Towns of Ellery, Ellicott, and Busti and the Villages of Celoron, Lakewood, and Bemus Point have submitted permit applications to the NYS DEC to treat Eurasian watermilfoil with a new herbicide called ProcellaCOR EC.
M. Latone indicated that the municipalities are hoping to receive their permits from the NYS DEC in June for a late-June herbicide treatment.
3.) Alliance Watershed Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance has developed a good list of potential project ideas and will be reaching out to potential project partners to solicit their interest.
VII. Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data (CLAD) Mapping
T. West gave an update indicating that Alliance staff will begin the field validation phase of the sonar mapping technology BioBase in early June.
VIII. 2020-2021 Membership Drive
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance will be sending out membership application forms in June and hopes everyone will rejoin.
IX. Chautauqua Lake Water Quality Research Panel and Equipment Demo: July 18th Casino
R. Perry indicated that pending developments related to COVID, scientists from Bowling Green State University (BGSU), the Jefferson Project, and SUNY Fredonia are scheduled to present at the Bemus Point Casino on July 18th at 9:30 AM. R. Perry indicated that there may also be an equipment demonstration featuring lake maintenance equipment. R. Perry indicated that this is an exciting opportunity and thanked the scientists for their willingness to present at this event.
J. Cirbus indicated this is a great idea, but thought that a gathering of this kind would be unlikely to happen until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
V. Horrigan thanked J. Cirbus for his feedback.
D. Shepherd asked about the feasibility of a virtual presentation.
R. Perry indicated that he could mention this option to the presenters to solicit their feedback.
X. Announcement of 2021 RFA Process
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance will send out a request for application (RFA) in mid-July for the Alliance’s Consolidated Foundation Grant program, which would be due back to the Alliance in mid-September. V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance will expand the technical scoring to a subset of members from the Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee, Lake Management Committee, and Watershed Management Committee. V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance staff and staff from the consulting firm EcoLogic will also perform technical scoring of the applications.
M. Latone indicated the Alliance should look at the scoring rubric and not just the process.
V. Horrigan indicated that he will discuss the feasibility this with the Board.
B. Erickson indicated that he received an article from a Chautauqua Lake stakeholder that was concerning. B. Erickson indicated that letters like the one he received do not help bring people together and promote division.
Further discussion followed among M. Latone, J. Cirbus, and B. Erickson about the nature and intent of the letter he received.
P. Wendel indicated that everyone needs to start working together for the betterment of the lake. P. Wendel indicated that member organizations should not support these efforts to circulate or publish divisive information that may damage the efforts being made to bring lake stakeholders together.
M. Latone indicated that the phosphorus sensors will be deployed in Chautauqua Lake either on May 27th or May 28th.
P. Chagnon thanked M. Latone for the update.
XII. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
J. Jablonski asked if there was a written report available regarding the scientific research and monitoring that is underway, which details the types of data that are being collected and their preliminary findings.
R. Perry indicated that he will follow up with the researchers to see if there is something for dissemination.
M. Latone asked about the low lake levels in Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan indicated that the gates on the Warner Dam are now mostly closed as they are trying to raise the level of the lake up to 1308.2ft and thought the upcoming rain would help to achieve that.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the May 14, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:54 PM.