Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Public Meeting
Thursday, May 13, 2021
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Pierre Chagnon, Ted McCague, Bruce Erickson, David Shepherd, Paul (P.J.) Wendel Jr., Mike Jabot, and Mike Latone
Absent: Rob Yates and Jim Andrews
Staff in Attendance: Randall Perry – Alliance Executive Director and Taylor West – Alliance Project Manager.
Others in Attendance: Tory Irgang and Lisa Lynde – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF); Linda Swanson – Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation; Cassie Pinkoski – Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD); John Ford; Tom Erlandson; and Vince Horrigan
Member Representatives in Attendance: Dr. Jim Cirbus – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP); Jim Wehrfritz – Town of Ellery; Bill Ward, Emily Beers, and Dave McCoy – County of Chautauqua; Pat McLaughlin – Town of Ellicott; Louise Ortman – Town of North Harmony; Becky Nystrom, John Jablonski and Whitney Gleason – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy; John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution; Randy Holcomb – Village of Lakewood; and Rudy Mueller, Doug Conroe and Debbie Moore – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA).
I. Call to Order
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 5:15 PM. A quorum of 7 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present at the start of the meeting.
II. Approval of 4/8/2021Board Work Session Minutes
B. Erickson made a motion to accept the minutes from the 4/8/2021 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and was approved unanimously.
III. Projects Update
T. West gave the following projects update to the group.
- 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)
- Invitation for Construction Bids for Phase II issued on 4/26/21; Bids Due to County 5/24/21.
- Anticipated construction Summer 2021
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 2018-2020 Invasive Species Early Detection – Volunteer Task Force
- Water Chestnut (>100 plants) found/removed in Chautauqua Lake Outlet in July-August 2020
- Collaborative efforts among RTPI, ACNC, CWC, Alliance, and Volunteers – thank you to all who participated.
- Contact RTPI (Jonathan Townsend) and/or Alliance (Taylor West) to get involved for 2021
- To help observe/report on your own, please sign up for iMapInvasives: www.imapinvasives.org/
- Water Chestnut (>100 plants) found/removed in Chautauqua Lake Outlet in July-August 2020
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Village issued Invitation for Bids on 10/8/20; bid opening was conducted on 11/10/20
- Village awarded the construction contract to Kingsview Enterprises (Lakewood NY)
- Engineering/inspection by Barton & Loguidice; and in-kind work by Village DPW; Construction currently underway
- Milling of Chautauqua Ave. by Village DPW complete
- Kingsview Enterprises is currently working on the Summit Ave. intersection
- Village businesses on Chautauqua Ave. are open.
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Construction underway by Rock of WNY (EcoStrategies engineering/inspection & Town Highway performing in-kind work); construction planned from Fall 2020 to ca. Spring/Summer 2021
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway with significant COVID-19 delays (tentative delivery ca. May 2021)
- 2019 North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District Orchard Terrace Inflow & Infiltration Study (NYSEFC EPG)
- Study began in April 2020 by Barton & Loguidice (engineer) and was completed in the fall of 2020
- Study found several areas in need of repairs
- North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District is in the process of taking actions to make repairs
- Repairs are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2021
- 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
- 2015 County Round 12 WQIP Streambank Stabilization Projects at Ball, Bemus, Goose, and Prendergast Creeks, closed ca. Oct 2020
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement (Amenities Building) LWRP Phase IV Grant, closed ca. Mar 2021
J. Wehrfritz asked what the Alliance’s role was in the Orchard Terrace Inflow and Infiltration Study.
T. West indicated that the Alliance assisted the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District with the preparation of a grant application for the study.
J. Wehrfritz asked what the water quality benefits are of the Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit Project.
T. West indicated that the project incorporates permeable surfaces to promote infiltration and reduce runoff. T. West indicated that the project also incorporates street trees connected with a tree trench that help to filter nutrients out of the stormwater. T. West indicated that the project also provides aesthetic benefits to the main street corridor.
IV. Alliance Committees Update
a.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
R. Perry thanked P. McLaughlin for his herbicide treatment update at the Member Meeting. M. Latone indicated that SOLitude Lake Management finished their Chautauqua Lake herbicide treatments on 5/13/21. M. Latone indicated that some of the treatment signs were stolen on the date of the treatment, but were replaced with new ones. M. Latone indicated that the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) anticipates research equipment being shipped to Bowling Green State University (BGSU) soon. M. Latone indicated that BGSU is anticipating deploying sensors and beginning their sampling efforts on Chautauqua Lake around 5/25/21.
J. Wehrfritz asked M. Latone if taking a treatment sign is a violation of State law.
M. Latone indicated that the NYSDEC observed the signs the morning of the treatment. M. Latone indicated that the value of the treatment signs are over $300 and indicated that due to the value of the stolen signs, the individual(s) who took the signs could face felony charges if caught.
R. Perry indicated that the Committee met on 4/19 and had a lot of good dialogue.
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA and CLP agreed that the CLP would provide GPS coordinates of the herbicide treatments to the CLA so that the CLA does not violate label restrictions on some of the herbicides.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the CLA is harvesting in the treated locations prior to, during, and after treatments have occurred.
B. Erickson indicated that SOLitude has advised that there is a 4 week prohibition against handling weeds from areas treated with ProcellaCOR. B. Erickson asked what the CLA should do with weeds that are considered non-compostable.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that harvesting just prior to and just after the treatments can mess up the treatments. J. Wehrfritz indicated that it could also make it difficult to evaluate the efficacy of the treatments. J. Wehrfritz indicated that he hopes the CLA stays away from the treatment areas.
B. Erickson indicated that the CLA has historically stayed out of these areas.
M. Latone indicated that the CLP will send the CLA the treatment coordinates once the treatments have concluded.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that a CLA harvester was seen in Bemus Bay on the day of the treatment.
R. Mueller indicated that the CLA is performing spring debris cleanup and is not currently harvesting. R. Mueller indicated that the CLA would appreciated the coordinates of the treated areas.
E. Beers introduced herself indicating that she is the new public health technician for the Chautauqua County Department of Health’s water division. E. Beers indicated that the County is going out to the Chautauqua Utility District and the Chautauqua Water District Number 2 water intakes to get raw and treated water samples to ensure that the endothall is not exceeding the drinking water limits.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that the closest treatment was in Bemus Bay. J. Wehrfritz indicated that B. Boria has asked him to attend the sampling event.
J. Cirbus asked E. Beers where the County is testing the water.
E. Beers indicated that the County will be testing at the Chautauqua Utility District and the Chautauqua Water District Number 2 intakes.
J. Cirbus asked that the County test for Navigate as well and indicated that he feels homeowners are putting herbicides in the lake without licenses. J. Cirbus indicated that he feels the County should test for herbicide active ingredients on a regular basis. J. Cirbus indicated that he has supplied R. Mueller with all the permitted MMS Zones. J. Cirbus indicated that he would supply the CLA with GPS coordinates once things are finalized. J. Cirbus indicated that handling and composting weeds treated with ProcellaCOR is not prohibited. J. Cirbus indicated that treated plants can be handled and composted at a permitted composting facility. J. Cirbus indicated that Westfield is the closest permitted composting facility. J. Cirbus indicated that treated plants shouldn’t need to be harvested.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that the samples are not being taken at the intakes, but rather at the treatment plants.
R. Mueller indicated that it would be a good idea to get water samples from around the lake to know if people are applying herbicides that are not permitted for use.
J. Jablonski indicated that he would appreciate it if the Towns or the Alliance would publish exact maps of the areas that are permitted for ProcellaCOR treatments. J. Jablonski indicated that he would also appreciate it if maps of curly-leaf pondweed treatment areas were published.
R. Perry indicated that if the Towns, Villages, or the CLP wants the Alliance to put this information up online, then the Alliance would be happy to facilitate the sharing of information as long as the owners of that information are okay with the Alliance doing so.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that the municipalities are not going to be treating more than what is approved in the permits.
J. Jablonski asked if the current treatment signs show the actual treatment areas.
J. Cirbus indicated that the information is available. J. Cirbus indicated that the DEC uses the MMS zones. J. Cirbus indicated that there are not actual GPS coordinates until the treatments have concluded.
J. Jablonski asked the Towns and the Alliance to convert the zones into areas plotted on maps for the organizations to see.
D. Moore indicated that the Town of Ellery has posted Letters of Notification for 2019 and 2020, but not for 2021. D. Moore indicated that the Town of Ellery has posted a permit for 2020, but not for 2021. D. Moore indicated that she feels it is a reasonable request that the Towns put the treatment information on their websites. D. Moore indicated that she emailed SOLitude to figure out whether or not her house was within a treatment zone to see if they could put their dock in.
J. Jablonski indicated that there may still be a need to harvest native plants in treated areas after the ProcellaCOR is applied.
J. Cirbus indicated that he feels the native plants in the treatment zones may not grow at nuisance levels until approximately 4-6 weeks after the treatment and indicated at that point, the CLA could harvest them as the 4 week restriction will have concluded.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the MMS Zones were digitized.
D. McCoy indicated that the County has coordinates for the MMS zones.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that the coordinates should be provided.
R. Mueller asked if the Alliance could provide the coordinates of the MMS zones that are to be treated.
R. Perry indicated that one of the challenges with using the MMS zones is that when a portion of a zone is approved it makes it more difficult to map them. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance would be happy to do their best and indicated that they would have to put clarifiers on the map to make viewers understand that the maps could not be used for permit compliance. R. Perry indicated that T. West is talented with making maps and would be happy to take a shot at it. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance would want to make sure that the Towns and Villages are accepting of the maps that are created before they are sent out to the public in fairness to them.
J. Cirbus indicated that some of the partial zones are split by water depth. J. Cirbus indicated that he would be in favor a more inclusive approach that highlights the whole zone even if it is in an area that may only be permitted for a partial treatment.
D. Conroe indicated that maps would only be meaningful to the CLA and others if they show exactly where herbicides were applied. D. Conroe indicated that M. Latone is working on getting the CLA this information. D. Conroe indicated that maps of proposed treatment areas is not meaningful. D. Conroe indicated that maps of permitted treatment areas could be distributed and then once a treatment has occurred, these areas could be updated to reflect the actual areas that were treated.
b.) Alliance Watershed Management Committee Update
R. Perry indicated that the Committee met on 5/3 and recapped work that has been performed to date and the work that is planned for the future. R. Perry indicated that the NYSCFA was announced just a few days after the meeting. R. Perry indicated that grant applications are being accepted by the State through July 30, 2021. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance is working on looking through the resource manual and a slate of potential projects in partnership with members.
D. Shepherd indicated that the news of the CFA opening is encouraging.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the Alliance is only looking at watershed projects for the NYSCFA.
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance is looking at both lake and watershed projects as long as they are a viable fit.
c.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
R. Perry indicated that the Committee has been meeting on a generally monthly basis. R. Perry indicated that the Committee has been tasked by the Alliance Board to look into functional definitions of internal loading. R. Perry indicated that the Committee is expecting to get this information back to the Board within the next couple of months. R. Perry thanked the Committee members for their work and thanked M. Jabot for his leadership.
J. Wehrfritz asked if study plan documents can be made available for the research SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Oneonta, and The Jefferson Project is conducting.
R. Perry indicated that the SUNY Fredonia and Oneonta work is being done independently from the Alliance. R. Perry indicated that if there was information that could be shared that would have to be done at the discretion of those research groups. R. Perry indicated that The Jefferson Project scoping materials would become available when and if there is a plan and budget in place for 2021 work.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the Alliance was planning on providing funding to The Jefferson Project in 2021.
P. Chagnon indicated that it is possible, but indicated that the work plan and budget are still being developed by The Jefferson Project.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the Alliance could send him The Jefferson Project’s 2020 study plan.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance could pass this request to The Jefferson Project. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance is cautious about how they treat the information shared with them by The Jefferson Project and BGSU because in many cases the data has not been peer reviewed yet.
J. Wehrfritz indicated that he is not interested in the data, but just the overall plan.
V. 2021-2022 Membership Drive Update
R. Perry thanked all current members for their support and participation in the Alliance. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance’s membership year runs from 7/1 to 6/30. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance will be planning on sending materials out to the Alliance members to update them on the prior year and also to seek their renewed membership in the Alliance.
VI. Chautauqua Lake Memorandum of Understanding
P. Wendel indicated that the County rolled out the MOU. P. Wendel indicated that the County has heard that organizations like the simplicity of the document and that it is not a binding agreement. P. Wendel indicated that everyone who signs understands that they are working together. P. Wendel indicated that several organizations have indicated their intentions of signing the document. P. Wendel indicated that one of the key pieces was to remove the tenets and replace them with a more organic approach. P. Wendel indicated that the MOA and MOU were critical in getting 2021 herbicide permits. P. Wendel indicated that the County will move forward with those who sign the document. P. Wendel indicated that he is asking everyone to work together for the betterment of Chautauqua Lake. P. Wendel indicated that the CDC put out new guidance today. P. Wendel indicated that he feels a lot of growth will be happening within Chautauqua County in the coming weeks. P. Wendel indicated that the County is hoping that the efforts being undertaken in the lake will be fruitful and will help bring people to visit Chautauqua Lake and Chautauqua County.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Executive Committee has been engaged in the interview process for the open Communications Coordinator position. P. Chagnon indicated that the Executive Committee has instructed the staff to prepare a job offer to be presented to the Board for consideration.
J. Jablonski asked if the newly elected directors are seated on the Board as of today.
P. Chagnon indicated that according to the Bylaws, directors are seated on the Board once they are qualified. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance’s interpretation of qualified is when a director signs their conflict of interest statement and completes their review of the policies and procedures that are in their orientation packet. P. Chagnon indicated that they would be seated at the next Alliance Board meeting.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the members could look at the draft public meeting minutes prior to them being reviewed and approved by the Board.
P. Chagnon indicated that he will address this with the Board at their next meeting.
VIII. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
L. Swanson suggested P. Chagnon thank the outgoing directors for their service.
P. Chagnon thanked M. Jabot and T. McCague for their excellent service to the Board of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance will truly miss them. P. Chagnon indicated that M. Jabot will still continue to assist with the DAR Committee and indicated that he hoped T. McCague would still be available for advice and assistance when called upon.
T. McCague indicated that it has been a privilege to serve under P. Chagnon’s leadership. T. McCague indicated that it was an honor to serve on such an outstanding and committed Board. T. McCague indicated that he has been honored and pleased to serve with the Alliance staff including the past Interim Executive Director. T. McCague welcomed the new and reelected members of the Board.
J. Jablonski indicated that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) has had 51 LakeScapes consultations with property owners to date. J. Jablonski indicated that there has been a lot of demand to have the CWC’s Conservation Technicians come out and work with people. J. Jablonski indicated that the CWC has completed 88 designs in the last two years. J. Jablonski invited everyone to check out the CWC’s recently published webinars.
P. Chagnon thanked J. Jablonski for his update and congratulated the CWC staff for starting off with a robust effort this year.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the May 13, 2021 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by M. Latone and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 6:06 PM.