Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors
Thursday, November 14, 2019
4:30 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Dave Shepherd, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Mike Latone and Pierre Chagnon.
Absent: Rob Yates, Bruce Erickson, George Borrello
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, Dave Spann, Giff Lawrence, Craig Butler, Doug Champ, Howard Akin, Lisa Lynde & Tory Irgang – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF), Don Hutchings, Mary Hutchings, Mike Newell, Peggy Newell, Greg Fish, Bob Moon, Sr.
Member Representatives in Attendance: Karen Rine – South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District, Debbie Moore & Paul O. Stage – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Dr. Jim Cirbus & JoDee Johnson – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), Jeanne Wiebenga, Dennis Collins, Becky Nystrom, Carol Markham, Jane Conroe, & John Jablonski – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County, John Shedd – Chautauqua Institution, Marla Connelly – New York State Office Of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP)
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:30 PM.
II. Approval of 10/10/19 Minutes:
T. McCague made a motion to accept the minutes of the 10/10/19 Board Work Session. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and was approved unanimously.
III. Projects Update:
- 2015 County Round 12 Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grants – Streambank Stabilizations:
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- Construction complete at Dutch Hollow Creek Main Stem (2018) – tracking project performance
- Construction substantially complete at West Dutch Hollow Creek (2018) –final punch-list work completed Sep 2019; final billing/documentation in progress.
- Time extension request approved by NYSDEC to utilize surplus funding to address erosion issues at additional nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek; coordination among NYS/ County/ Alliance/ Owners in progress
- Ball Creek: Bank/grade stabilization complete (2017); Additional riparian native plant establishment in progress; Native grass/wildflower seeding completed by CWC and SWCD in May 2019; additional riparian native plantings by Alliance/CWC planned for ca. Nov 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
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement Phase IV Design & Construction (amenities building) LWRP grant
- Construction underway; target completion ca. early 2020
- 2017 Mayville-Chautauqua Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (NYS DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant)
- Final Engineering Report accepted by NYSEFC on 11/4/19
- Final printing/invoicing/reporting and grant close-out underway
- 2018 Invasive Species Early Detection – Volunteer Task Force
- 2019 program is complete (8 events) – partnership among Alliance, RTPI, and Evergreen Outfitters.
- Water Chestnut found/removed in Chautauqua Lake Outlet in August 2019
- Contact RTPI or Taylor West if interested in participating in 2020 Volunteer Invasive Plant Paddles.
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Engineer Kickoff Meeting planned for next week
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Engineer selected pending final contract execution; Engineer Kickoff Meeting to follow
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway (expected delivery ca. May 2020)
- List of Alliance-partnered NYS grants that have been closed out:
- 2015 NYS Invasive Species Management Grant (C. Young Senate Initiative), closed ca. April 2019
- 2016 Lakewood-Busti Stormwater Mgmt. Engineering Study (DEC/EFC EPG), closed ca. January 2019
- 2013 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase I Grant, closed ca. September 2018
- 2016 Celoron Breakwall & Boardwalk LWRP Phase II-III Grant, closed ca. August 2019
IV. Update from Lake Management Committee
M. Latone gave an update about the new Lake Management Committee and provided the Board with a summary of their objectives. M. Latone indicated the committee will review the successes and areas for improvement of Chautauqua Lake maintenance efforts over the past year, fiscal resources, form two sub-committees (MOA and MMS), and find common ground among the CLP, CLA, and CWC. M. Latone indicated the MMS Subcommittee will be chaired by Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator Dave McCoy, and the MOA Subcommittee will be chaired by Deputy County Executive for Economic Development Mark Geise.
V. Horrigan reminded the group to sign-up for the subcommittees using the sign-up sheets on the back table after the conclusion of the meeting.
A member of the public asked if the committee membership would be made up of member representatives, citizens, or both.
V. Horrigan indicated the subcommittee membership could be made up of members of the public and/or member representatives and invited interested parties to sign up.
M. Hutchings asked if these committees will be used to assist with funding herbicides and inquired if there was a designated project manager for herbicide applications.
M. Latone indicated there is not a project manager designated for the herbicide applications in Chautauqua Lake, but indicated SOLitude has performed project management in the past.
M. Hutchings inquired about who is responsible for funding herbicide efforts in the lake.
V. Horrigan indicated that funding responsibilities have not been determined at this time.
J. Cirbus stated the CLP will make sure project management takes place, but indicated that SOLitude Lake Management has been a big part of the process and assists with project management of herbicide treatments.
A member of the public inquired about the timing of the fall aquatic plant survey.
A member of the audience indicated the survey took place in October of 2019.
J. Cirbus indicated the CLP will be the facilitators as needed but also indicated the CLP’s desires for the County and Alliance to fund Chautauqua Lake herbicide treatments as the CLP is shifting their focus towards more research, such as phosphorus sensors.
V. Horrigan indicated some of the municipalities are assisting with funding. V. Horrigan indicated he will present today on how much money the Alliance requested from the foundations in their 2020 Consolidated Foundation Funding Request.
D. Shepherd asked if the purpose of the committee was to provide answers to some of the questions asked today.
V. Horrigan confirmed this is part of the intent of the committee.
D. Moore asked if the general public can participate in the lake management committee.
M. Latone indicated the subcommittees will be populated with members of the Lake Management Committee, which could include members of the public.
D. Champ asked if this committee will explain the roles of all lake organizations in the big picture of the lake.
V. Horrigan stated that is to be determined as time goes on.
V. Update from the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee
D. Spann gave an update on the status of the science committee indicating the committee will be focusing their efforts in the coming weeks to review the sampling and analysis plan from the 2019 Independent Third-Party Monitor for Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management – 2019 Herbicide Treatment Program document. D. Spann indicated the committee is excited to provide their input regarding this document. D. Spann stated the committee will review the methods, techniques, and data usability and will provide a packaged document to the Alliance. In conclusion, D. Spann indicated he hopes that the committee will be a bigger part of the Alliance going forward.
A member of the public asked if D. Spann could list the members of the committee.
D. Spann indicated the members of the committee are T. Leenders, C. Wigdahl-Perry, B. Nystrom, J. Galati, D. Spann, D. McCoy, and J. Conroe.
M. Hutchings asked D. Spann if the committee is looking at new methods of data collection or the previous methods of data collection.
D. Spann stated they are looking at both in an effort to further develop the process for 2020.
M. Hutchings asked if the committee is full.
V. Horrigan stated the committee has a couple vacancies and instructed interested parties to provide their background and resume to him.
D. Champ asked what if a conflict arises between the two committees and would projects be done or not done based on science-based conflict?
D.Spann responded indicating that depends on the situation.
D. Champ asked if D. Spann viewed the committee as part of the environmental review process for adverse impacts.
D. Spann indicated he couldn’t speak to that at this time.
B. Nystrom stated what her understanding was of the roles of the committee and indicated her hope that the committee would be able to provide more input going forward.
P. Chagnon indicated the Board asked the committee for their feedback on the 2019 Independent Third-Party Monitor for Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management – 2019 Herbicide Treatment Program document.
B. Nystrom acknowledged the opportunity to provide feedback on the sampling plan and also appreciated the opportunity to give input on the 2020 member grant requests.
P. Chagnon indicated his appreciation of V. Horrigan’s efforts to get the Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee more involved, thanked D. Spann for his leadership with this committee, and thanked the committee for their continued passion and effort.
D. Spann replied indicating the group is dedicated and cares about Chautauqua Lake and its Watershed.
VI. Presentation of 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grant Request\
V. Horrigan gave a presentation on the 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Funding Grant Request. The presentation summarized the 15 member-led projects that were submitted as part of the 2020 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Funding Grant Request. This request incorporates high-quality watershed projects, several new initiatives to increase scientific data collection, and unity of effort in lake maintenance. The overall project budget for this consolidated grant request is $600,000, which consists of fifteen (15) individual Member-led projects or programs in the lake and watershed ranging in value from $4,000 to $257,000. The consolidated grant request uses a balanced approach to achieve the results of a well-maintained Chautauqua Lake that supports our residents, our businesses, and our environment. This consolidated grant request was approved at the CLWMA Board of Directors meeting on 10/10/2019. The foundations are expected to announce their results in January 2020.
M. Hutchings asked if the mobitrac services will depend on donations.
P. Stage indicated the CLA’s services are extended to all areas of the lake, not just to donors.
V. Horrigan redirected the conversation back to the topic at hand.
V. Horrigan indicated the mobitrac services provided by the Town of Chautauqua will not be dependent on donations and will be ready to deploy to problem areas as needed. V. Horrigan indicated we have tremendous capabilities if we unify efforts in an attempt to increase effectiveness.
J. Cirbus indicated the CLP’s hope to collaborate with this request for one mobitrac unit stating the CLP has submitted a state grant request for four (4) more mobitrac units, which he hoped would be managed by D. Emhardt if CLP is awarded with the grant.
V. Horrigan indicated the Town of North Harmony shores in Stow were treated with herbicides and saw an increase in a native macrophyte called wild celery (V. Americana), but the CLA came in and harvested the nuisance native, providing relief for homeowners.
J. Cirbus indicated the intended result of an herbicide treatment is to promote native plant growth, which is what happened in the Stow treatment zone.
V. Horrigan stated we need to unify efforts and collaborate in order to provide more effective lake management.
D. Champ thanked V. Horrigan for his efforts and asked if the mobitrac units will stay at the Town of Chautauqua or if they have the ability to move to other lakes in the County that may be in need.
V. Horrigan indicated the mobitrac units are highly mobile and can easily be moved around Chautauqua Lake but is unsure about their potential use outside of Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan stated this potential Lake District is critical to fully fund valuable projects like the ones in this presentation. V. Horrigan stated the lake is too important for us to not contribute to it.
A member of the public asked who is responsible for evaluating the potential lake taxing district.
V. Horrigan indicated the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency (CLPRA) is evaluating the feasibility of a taxing district and will make a recommendation to the County Legislature when they have reached a consensus regarding the feasibility of a district. They are in the process of receiving public input regarding the district at this time.
A member of the public indicated they were happy that V. Horrigan is taking the charge.
V. Horrigan stated we need to take care of the lake.
J. Cirbus asked what if the funders do not come through with the full funding amount requested. Would everything be scaled back proportionally?
P. Chagnon indicated we are planning for success, not for failure, but we can address those concerns if/when the time comes.
L. Swanson gave an update on when the foundations will meet to discuss funding recommendations.
V. Horrigan stated everyone, including the funding partners, want unity of effort and collaboration.
T. Irgang asked what CFA grants the Alliance submitted.
R. Perry indicated he could provide CRCF with the list of CFA applications submitted on behalf of Alliance members.
J. Cirbus complimented V. Horrigan and the Alliance Board and indicated based on this funding recommendation, there would be a significant shortfall in funding necessary to treat Chautauqua Lake in 2020 with herbicides, but also indicated that there are other funding streams that could be tapped.
V. Horrigan indicated there will have to be other sources of funding that support this effort, but the amount of funding needed is dependent on the permits issued by the DEC.
J. Cirbus asked if members have access to the MCA tool and feels there may be a flaw in the formula because of the public’s perceptions surrounding the lake this year.
V. Horrigan indicated the Alliance may potentially reevaluate the tool in the future.
A member of the public asked when we will find out what areas of the lake are permitted for treatment in 2020 and inquired about the timetable for implementation.
V. Horrigan indicated we do not know when the permits will be issued as it is dependent on the DEC and their staff.
J. Cirbus asked if bed tax money was incorporated into these applications.
V. Horrigan indicated bed tax money is not part of these applications, but could be part of the final funding equation.
A member of the public asked who determines where bed tax money goes.
V. Horrigan stated the County Executive proposes the budget and the legislature makes the final determination.
P. Chagnon indicated V. Horrigan has made his recommendation regarding the Alliance’s path forward. P. Chagnon stated V. Horrigan recommends the Alliance proceed immediately to hire a full-time executive director and stated he will remain as Alliance Interim Executive Director on a part-time basis in order to continue to lead the Alliance until a new executive director is hired.
T. McCague made a motion to accept V. Horrigan’s recommendations. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and passed unanimously.
P. Chagnon indicated V. Horrigan is doing great work for us and stated the Board is happy to have him.
VII. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
D. Champ indicated he is here to introduce someone who is a user of the lake with a fisheries background and wants him to tell the audience what he observed on the lake in 2019.
B. Moon indicated he has been fishing on Chautauqua Lake for over 70 years for musky and walleye. B. Moon stated he has been around to watch the lake grow and change over the years and remembers nuisance levels of aquatic plants in the south basin in the 1940’s. B. Moon stated he observed very little aquatic plant growth in the south basin and voiced his concerns regarding potential implications on young of the year (YOY) fish populations. B. Moon indicated he observed very little baitfish activity in the south basin this year. B. Moon stated the musky weeds that grow in the spring (curly-leaf pondweed) are non-native, but were not there this spring, which impacted fishing. B. Moon indicated fish need weeds to spawn and grow in and wondered what impacts the lack of plants may have on fish populations.
M. Hutchings stated invasive weeds are not good and the good natural weeds will come back over time.
B. Nystrom gave an overview of pondweed species in Chautauqua Lake an indicated the herbicide Aquathol-K targets pondweeds.
Cross conversation then ensued among B. Nystrom, B. Moon, and members of the public.
D. Champ indicated we need to perform herbicide treatments responsibly over time.
T. Newell indicated he and his family had no issues catching fish this year and stated the reason why B. Moon is having difficulty catching fish may relate to weed lines and with the lack of weed lines, the fish were harder to find. M. Newell indicated he and his family had no issues catching perch and crappie this spring at the point in Burtis Bay.
B. Moon stated it was hard to find weeds and fish in the south basin.
J. Jablonski indicated these comments are all anecdotal and the DEC’s fisheries surveys (and other longer-term data sets) will give us some answers to these questions.
M. Newell indicated lakes in Canada have little/low macrophyte growth and fish well.
J. Jablonski introduced two new Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) staff members.
M. Latone made a motion to adjourn the November 14th, 2019 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by J. Andrews and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:55 PM.