Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, October 13, 2022
4:30 p.m. at the BWB Building, 201 West 3rd St. Jamestown, NY 14701 & via Zoom
Directors Present: Bruce Erickson (Zoom), Don Emhardt, Ellen Barnes, Jan Bowman, Martin Proctor, David Shepherd, Jim Andrews, Mike LaTone
Directors Absent: Paul (P.J.) Wendel, Jr.
Staff in Attendance: Randall Perry – Alliance Executive Director, Taylor West – Alliance Project Manager, and Jay Young– Alliance Communications Coordinator.
I. Call to Order
D. Emhardt called the Board Meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:34 PM. A quorum of 8 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present at the start of the meeting.
II. Approval of the 9/8/22 Board Meeting Minutes
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes from the 9/8/22 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by E. Barnes and was approved unanimously.
III. Alliance Committees
a.) Audit Committee
R. Perry indicated that the Alliance audit is currently underway by Saxton Kocur and Associates, LLP.
R. Perry summarized the current makeup of the Alliance Audit Committee and noted where changes in board status or membership status warranted attention by the Board.
R. Perry asked the Board to consider updating the committee to include from the Board, Bruce Erickson, Ellen Barnes, and Jim Andrews, and from the membership at-large, Pierre Chagnon (if willing to serve) and one additional individual to be determined.
B. Erickson and J. Andrews indicated that they would be willing to continue to serve on the committee.
E. Barnes indicated she would be willing to join the committee.
B. Erickson indicated that the Alliance could reach out to the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) and the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) about filling the at-large seat.
D. Emhardt indicated he would serve on the committee if needed.
M. Proctor made a motion to appoint D. Emhardt, E. Barnes, J. Andrews, and B. Erickson to the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by J. Bowman and was passed unanimously.
B. Erickson volunteered to serve as chair of the committee.
M. LaTone made a motion to accept P. Chagnon as an at-large member of the committee if he agrees to do so. The motion was seconded by E. Barnes and was passed unanimously.
b.) Data Analysis & Research Committee
D. Shepherd indicated that the committee has not met.
J. Bowman asked who is responsible for the technical scoring of the Alliance’s Consolidated Local Funding Applications.
R. Perry indicated that the technical scoring is performed by a group of volunteers from all three of the Alliance’s committees. R. Perry indicated that each committee was sent a request for volunteers, that there can be up to ten scorers from each committee, and that five total volunteers scored applications in 2022.
c.) Lake Management Committee
M. LaTone indicated that there has been a large amount of public attention drawn to shoreline conditions in the South Basin. M. LaTone indicated that increased shoreline service is needed at other areas around the lake as well, and that increased maintenance requires more funding. M. LaTone indicated that discussions are ongoing about the purchase of another Mobitrac that would primarily service the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and nearby areas in Celoron. M. LaTone indicated that the addition of a Mobitrac would require more support, and indicated he is in contact with the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) on the issue.
M. LaTone indicated that in order to place a weed boom in Burtis Bay, the cost could be approximately $1 million, and that such a project would require significant maintenance and permitting if indeed it were feasible. M. LaTone indicated he has questions about the feasibility of the idea. M. LaTone indicated that increased maintenance requires increased funding.
J. Bowman asked if the conditions in Burtis Bay are significantly different than in years past.
M. LaTone indicated that conditions are not significantly different. M. LaTone indicated that there is a demand for increased maintenance from marinas in Celoron.
M. LaTone indicated that this is the third year that North Carolina State University has performed lakewide plant surveys, and indicated he was hopeful that data from the 2022 surveys would be available in December.
D. Shepherd indicated that annual conditions in Burtis Bay were known by the developers of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel prior to its construction.
B. Erickson indicated that he had spoken to M. LaTone on some of these maintenance issues. B. Erickson outlined the support service that is needed in order for Mobitracs to operate efficiently.
M. LaTone indicated that conversations have taken place with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff about the possibility of a dredging project in the South Basin.
E. Barnes asked if the Army Corps of Engineers has any role in potential dredging, or if federal funding would be available.
M. LaTone indicated that the Army Corps seemed more focused on harmful algal bloom mitigation, and indicated that conversations with DEC had also addressed potential federal funding.
J. Bowman indicated that infill of biomass in the South Basin is an annual problem.
M. LaTone indicated that Bowling Green State University’s work on the lake is expected to be winding down, and that the Chautauqua Lake Partnership is looking at another institution to perform a similar program moving forward.
R. Perry indicated that a Lake Management Committee meeting is currently scheduled for November 2, and indicated that the Alliance does have NC State’s Survey data available from last year as well as 2022 biovolume survey data from the Chautauqua Lake Aquatic Data mapping program.
d.) Watershed Management Committee
R. Perry indicated that the Watershed Management Committee currently does not have a chairperson, and indicated that it may be appropriate to schedule a meeting when information is available on New York State Consolidated Funding Applications around the start of 2023.
IV. 2022-2023 Alliance Membership Drive Update
R. Perry indicated that three Alliance members had not yet renewed for 2022-2023. R. Perry indicated that one of them has shared with him that they will not be renewing. R. Perry indicated that he will continue to dialog with the other two.
V. 2022 Alliance Local Grants Update
R. Perry indicated that there is currently $29,024 in unallocated Alliance funds that have been designated by the board for lake maintenance. R. Perry indicated that the Audubon Community Nature Center has $464.06 remaining from a 2020 invasive species grant that it wishes to return to the Alliance.
R. Perry indicated that there is still an open request from the CLA for the remaining lake maintenance funds in order to compensate them for 2022 operations.
Discussion followed of the CLA’s operations, budget, post-season maintenance, and request for the remaining Alliance 2022 lake maintenance funds.
D. Shepherd indicated that the Alliance could ask for more financial details from CLA in order to help determine the best way to allocate the remaining funds.
D. Emhardt indicated that more detail would be helpful.
R. Perry indicated that he had been in contact with CLA staff about the financial particulars of the request for additional operational support, and indicated that updated information may be available now. R. Perry indicated that he could contact CLA with a request for more detailed budgetary information.
M. LaTone made a motion to re-allocate the unexpended and returned $464.06 in Audubon grant funds to the lake maintenance fund. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and was passed unanimously.
VI. 2022-2023 Alliance Consolidated Foundation Grant Program
a.) Overview of Applications Received and Technical Review
R. Perry briefed the board on the 17 Member grant applications that the Alliance received and their technical review.
R. Perry briefed the Board on the 2022-2023 Consolidated Local Funding Program process and submissions from members. The Alliance received 17 applications representing 11 different member organizations totaling around $2.95 Million in funding requests. The member applications included $923,509 requested for chemical macrophyte management, $755,850 requested for mechanical macrophyte management, $1,041,774 requested for capital equipment, $78,994 requested for invasive species prevention, detection, and response programs, $58,400 for macrophytes monitoring and management planning, and $95,000 requested for watershed programs.
b.) Review of Applications
J. Andrews asked if the Town of North Harmony would be able to use money from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund work proposed in its lake beautification application.
D. Emhardt indicated that most municipalities have already allocated that funding.
D. Emhardt indicated he is dissatisfied with the current invasive species boat check policies in New York State. D. Emhardt indicated that there are Western states with strict policies in place to clean and wrap boats at state lines to prevent the spread of invasives. D. Emhardt indicated that other states and regions also draw lake maintenance funds from registration stickers, and indicated that is something that should be considered.
A discussion followed of potential funding sources for lake maintenance, approaches being considered by the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency, and the feasibility of use registration stickers.
D. Emhardt indicated he would draft a letter for the Board’s consideration.
R. Perry indicated that he could send information to the Board regarding the boat inspection and registration program that is currently in place on Lake George.
J. Bowman indicated that the CWC’s Lakescapes program had another successful year of collaborating with homeowners to implement best management practices to improve water quality.
c.) Board Discussion on 2023 Recommended Project Funding
D. Emhardt indicated that the main decision that is currently in front of the Board is the amount of funding that should be requested from local foundations for 2023.
R. Perry offered details on the schedules of each particular foundation, as well as the Board’s funding request in 2022.
D. Shepherd indicated that there is a disparity between the amount of funds requested and the available money. D. Shepherd indicated that there are significant capital requests for equipment that are much higher than the funding that has been allocated in the past.
R. Perry indicated that there is past precedent for the Board interviewing applicants at this time, if they would like to consider that this year.
J. Bowman indicated that it can be tempting to become tunnel-visioned by focusing on nuisance plant growth at the expense of other concerns such as fish populations, ecology, and harmful algal blooms.
D. Shepherd indicated that The Jefferson Project is pursuing research related to harmful algal blooms.
T. West indicated that on the topic of fisheries, DEC periodically conducts creel surveys of fish populations including one conducted this year, although the data often take time to be distributed to the public.
D. Emhardt indicated that the lake is constantly infilling with sediment from tributaries, and that rock bottom is being lost.
J. Bowman indicated that based on her observations, it seems that weed lines in the South Basin have been significantly diminished.
M. LaTone indicated that despite the clamor for increased service, that approximately 1 in every 30 people contribute to CLA or CLP.
M. LaTone indicated that the introduction of zebra mussels to the lake several decades ago has significantly changed conditions.
R. Perry indicated that he had met with the new DEC Region 9 director recently at her invitation, and that she had expressed an interest in potentially meeting with the Alliance board. R. Perry indicated that there may be interest in bringing more of the DEC’s technical resources to bear on the issues facing the lake and watershed.
VIII. Time and Date of Next Board Meeting
The Board agreed to hold a second work session on October 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the BWB Building.
D. Emhardt made a motion to adjourn at 6:50 p.m. The motion was seconded by M. LaTone and carried unanimously.
The Alliance Board of Directors passed a motion to approve these 10/13/22 Meeting Minutes on 10/27/22.