Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Work Session
Thursday, October 10, 2019
4:00 p.m. at BWB Building, 201 West 3rd St, Suite 115, Jamestown, NY
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Dave Shepherd, Ted McCague, George Borrello, Bruce Erickson, and Pierre Chagnon.
Absent: Mike Latone and Rob Yates
Staff in Attendance: Vince Horrigan – Alliance Interim Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager, and Taylor West – Alliance Communications Coordinator.
I. Call to Order:
P. Chagnon called the Board work session meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 3:57 PM.
II. Approval of 08/19/19 Minutes:
T. McCague made a motion to accept the minutes of the 8/19/19 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by B. Erickson and approved unanimously.
III. Approval of 09/12/19 Minutes:
J. Andrews made a motion to accept the minutes of the 09/12/19 Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and approved unanimously.
IV. Consideration of recommendation to fill Board vacancy created by the resignation of Mary Laumer (Mike Jabot, CWC Board member, nominated by CWC).
B. Erickson made a motion to fill the Board vacancy created by the resignation of Mary Laumer with CWC Board member Mike Jabot. The motion was seconded by D. Shepherd and approved unanimously.
V. Approval of extending CWC “Starve the Algae, Save the Lake” program 2019 grant deadline to March 31, 2020
R. Perry gave a brief project update stating based on conversations he had with CWC executive director John Jablonski, this program is about 40% complete, but due to staffing concerns at the CWC, program progress has slowed in recent months. The program was granted $64,000 through last year’s RFA.
D. Shepherd asked if the budget represented staff time only.
R. Perry indicated that while he didn’t have the exact numbers with him, he recalled the “Starve the Algae, Save the Lake” program was a mix of labor and direct expenses (e.g., mailers, flyers, etc.). R. Perry also indicated that he recalled the Tributary Conservation program was largely labor expenses.
T. McCague stated these are very worthy projects.
D. Shepherd stated the other option is to contract the work out if the CWC does not have the staff capacity to complete the project on time.
G. Borrello asked if we would be backing them up (their time table) farther by awarding them more funding in 2020.
G. Borrello also stated staffing issues are a problem everywhere, including at the County level, but the CWC should start to find a way to overcome those issues.
B. Erickson asked if we should present them with the option of partial funding or a funding percentage.
G. Borrello stated we are held accountable to other organizations when we give extensions like this and this potentially sets a precedent going forward.
D. Shepherd made a motion to approve the extension of the CWC “Starve the Algae, Save the Lake” 2019 grant deadline to March 31, 2020, but suggested V. Horrigan meet with the CWC. The motion was seconded by G. Borrello and was approved unanimously.
VI. Approval of extending CWC “Chautauqua Lake Tributary Conservation & Enhancement” program 2019 grant to September 30, 2020
R. Perry gave an update stating the CWC indicated that it is about 10% complete with their 2019 “Tributary Conservation & Enhancement” program, also citing staffing challenges. This program was granted $26,400 through last year’s RFA.
B. Erickson made the motion to approve the extension, but stated this project needs to get done. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and was approved unanimously.
VII. Update from Interim Alliance Executive Director
V. Horrigan stated he is feeling good about what he is going to report to the Board next month. V. Horrigan stated after meeting with various foundations, they expressed their satisfaction with Alliance efforts.
VIII. Update on 2019-2020 Membership Drive
T. West gave the Board a brief update on the 2019-2020 Membership Drive. He stated the Alliance solicited membership from 30 local organizations on 09/25/2019 and has received 7 signed membership applications as of 10/10/2019. Once signed membership forms were received, those organizations were invoiced for their membership dues.
IX. Alliance RFA Application Review
V. Horrigan gave a presentation to the Board, which summarized all 18 grant application requests. He stated the Alliance received 6 more applications in 2019 versus 2018 which totaled $1,779,293 versus $1,102,579 in 2018. V. Horrigan presented the Board with a spreadsheet that summarizes the proposed projects, provides their technical ranking (% of maximum possible score), and a draft recommended funding level. V. Horrigan stated a Board decision was required no later than October 21, 2019 in order to present their recommendations to the foundations in a timely fashion.
B. Erickson provided a 1-page comment list regarding agenda item IX, which was distributed to the Board.
B. Erickson provided some context regarding the Town of Chautauqua and CLA’s interactions for potential support vessels for the mobitracs. B. Erickson questioned the usefulness of the mobitrac units because of their need for support equipment. He emphasized the CLA could do all of the necessary work if properly funded and voiced his concern over the potential duplication of efforts between the mobitrac units and the CLA’s equipment. B. Erickson indicated he thought the NYS DEC had concerns with bottom disturbance associated with the mobitrac units.
P. Chagnon replied to B. Erickson stating the NYS DEC observed the mobitrac units in action this year and were not concerned with them disturbing the bottom.
G. Borrello asked what we awarded the CLA last year.
V. Horrigan responded stating they were awarded $162,050 through the RFA.
D. Shepherd asked about the relationship between Chautauqua Lake and other waterbodies when referencing the BGSU phosphorus sensors.
V. Horrigan responded indicating Chautauqua Lake is part of the whole project. The researchers from BGSU like Chautauqua Lake because it will produce more rapid results versus the sensors in Lake Erie.
D. Shepherd asked what the benefits of these sensors are.
V. Horrigan stated these sensors should show us where we should focus management efforts.
G. Borrello indicated the internal load is modeled and is often an inference as stated in the TMDL and Watershed Management Plan. These sensors will give us better estimates of the internal phosphorus load. Lake George has 100 sensors as part of the Jefferson Project, which provides real time and meaningful data year to year.
P. Chagnon stated these sensors will give us more updated data going forward.
V. Horrigan stated BGSU will supply the people for data gathering and management. One of the few things BGSU cannot fund is the purchase of these sensors.
In regard to the CLP weed survey funding request, B. Erickson stated Racine-Johnson has been performing macrophyte surveys for almost 20 years on Chautauqua Lake. B. Erickson indicated Racine-Johnson found very little macrophyte growth while conducting their spring 2019 survey. He stated the spring Racine-Johnson survey found a “scoured bottom” in Burtis Bay with little to no macrophyte growth.
G. Borrello commented that the purpose of the early season herbicide treatment is to prevent nuisance macrophytes from growing, thus indicating the herbicides appear to have worked.
B. Erickson responded stating the macrophytes that were there in the fall of 2018 were not there in the spring of 2019. B. Erickson also stated the need for all organizations to share macrophyte survey data with each other in order to make sound decisions regarding macrophyte management.
D. Shepherd asked his fellow Board members what their thoughts were on the proposed weed survey.
G. Borrello stated the weed surveys are highly valuable regardless of who they are performed by and they provide meaningful knowledge and data.
B. Erickson asked if there was a relationship between ranking and percent funding level assigned.
V. Horrigan stated there is a general relationship, but not a direct relationship.
V. Horrigan stated the goal is to bring organizations together and unify efforts.
T. McCague stated he liked the rationale that went into the presentation
G. Borrello voiced his frustrations with the CLA member card that was sent out in the mail regarding their opinions about a potential lake district.
G. Borrello suggested the Alliance set aside money for the Town of Chautauqua and CLA to use if they work together (challenge grant).
D. Shepherd agreed with the idea of a challenge grant and suggested the work could be contracted out if the two can’t work together.
D. Shepherd thought we should communicate the Alliance’s potential data gathering project that is in the works for 2020 with funding partners.
J. Andrews indicated the Alliance should consider going to the foundations (for this particular Alliance-led initiative) only after we have funded the member-led projects through the Alliance RFA process so as not to compete with member organizations for funding.
V. Horrigan suggested the Alliance fund the phosphorus buoys as there are no other costs associated with those buoys and they will provide meaningful data for lake and watershed managers.
R. Perry stated we would potentially be leveraging their data interpretation in the future.
D. Shepherd suggested the Alliance should have periodic discussions with BGSU about the data.
P. Chagnon reminded the group that the buoys were placed in Chautauqua Lake at strategic locations and there was sound reasoning behind their locations.
T. McCague stated this was a good project because it leverages a large portion of outside money.
V. Horrigan stated the Town of Chautauqua would like to transfer mobitrac operations to the CLA once everyone is on the same page and can work together.
T. McCague stated he wanted to make the group aware of the recent meetings that have been taking place between municipal leaders who are talking about hiring a lake manager.
G. Borrello stated these meetings are taking place in an apparent effort to try to get herbicide use in the north basin of the lake and advised T. McCague and others about their apparent intentions.
P. Chagnon stated Alliance staff did a great job with this presentation and the key to moving forward is collaboration and unity of effort.
G. Borrello reminded the group that we need to continue that effort and not reward bad behavior.
D. Shepherd stated at the last foundations meeting, they all talked about this collaborative effort and the need to move forward in a positive direction.
G. Borrello stated the County, Funders, and the Alliance all need to stay together.
P. Chagnon stated this is the only money we are requesting from the foundations at this time and there is still $150,000 from the County that we should commit after the funding partners look at the funding requests.
D. Shepherd asked if we should act on this tonight or not.
D. Andrews asked if the money for herbicides could be shared between towns depending on which towns secure permits.
V. Horrigan indicated we should have the ability to share the money among the towns and/or villages depending on who secures a permit.
D. Shepherd asked what the Board’s understanding was of the DEC’s herbicide policy.
G. Borrello stated the NYS DEC is not likely to permit the same areas two years in a row, and he reminded the group of the County’s great relationship with the DEC.
D. Shepherd stated that we need to have data and areas of past treatment before us to properly fund future herbicide treatments.
G. Borrello reminded the group that the DEC is cautious about what areas it permits for herbicides.
P. Chagnon stated the DEC often has their fisheries personnel on the water prior to an herbicide treatment, but in 2019 they did not.
V. Horrigan stated the more data we can have about these topics the better off we will be.
P. Chagnon stated herbicide contractors should be eager to conduct macrophyte surveys and share those results with DEC to facilitate the treatment permit review process.
D. Shepherd made a motion to accept the draft recommended funding allocation as it was presented to the Board. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and passed unanimously.
G. Borrello asked if we could add in a clause about organizations working together.
P. Chagnon stated that once we establish our funding request, then we can work to unify the Town of Chautauqua and the CLA.
D. Shepherd stated we are funding unity of effort.
J. Andrews asked if the challenge grant between CLA and CLP ever amounted to anything.
P. Chagnon stated nothing ever came of the challenge grant, and the money went towards the Burtis Bay cleanup (ca. May 2019).
V. Horrigan suggested using the proposed $257k to better align the CLA and Town of Chautauqua operations.
T. McCague asked when we send the award letter, do we put expectations in the award letter.
P. Chagnon stated that is down the road and we are not there yet.
T. McCague stated he observed the CLA shoreline crews operating near his house in the south basin multiple times this year and was confused as to the reason why CLA told people they were not operating in the south basin.
V. Horrigan stated we need the CLA and their work should continue.
G. Borrello asked why the CLA would say they were not operating in the south basin and then operate in the south basin.
P. Chagnon stated R. Yates called the CLA to assist with the eel grass along the Stow shoreline, and they came in and harvested nuisance levels of eel grass.
D. Shepherd stated he wishes to push the notion that we need a balanced approach to lake management that involves support and collaboration for next year’s applications.
G. Borrello confirmed this stating that shows that we want everyone’s functions to fit into the plan.
T. McCague made a motion to adjourn the October 10th, 2019 work session Board meeting. The motion was seconded by G. Borrello and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 5:23 PM.