Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, September 14, 2017
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Jim Andrews, Linda Barber, Pierre Chagnon, Sally Carlson, and Dave Shepherd.
Absent: Vince Horrigan, Ken Shearer, Dave Spann, and Dave Wesp.
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley – Alliance Executive Director & Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager. Randy Sweeney & June Diethrick – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Bill Stevenson & Doug Champ – Jamestown Riverfront Council. Mark Stow – Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services. Interested citizens: Robin Anderson, Mary Henderson, Caroline Bissell, Shirley LaMancuso, Sylvia Faust, Joan Smith, Bill Flandres, Regis Thompson, Chuck & Karen Helle, Jack & Barbara Sobel, Lori & David Humphreys, Melinda Wolcott.
Member Representatives in Attendance: John Jablonski, Mary Laumer, & Craig Seger– Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Cassie Brower – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, Jim Cirbus & Jennifer Gibson – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), Dave McCoy – Chautauqua County, Emily Morris – Chautauqua Institution & Marla Connelly – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region.
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Jane Conroe, Tom Erlandson, Twan Leenders.
I. Call to Order
Mr. Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:00 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (5 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Ms. Barber requested the draft minutes be amended to reflect notation of director name and reason for abstaining on motion to approve member funding in August. Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 8/10/17 Board Meeting as amended by Ms. Barber, seconded by Mrs. Carlson. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Update on Current Alliance/Member Projects:
Mr. Perry gave an update on the status of the nine funded Alliance/Member projects in process:
Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants (six in total):
- Implementation status:
- CWC published a full page WQIP projects update in their Summer 2017 ‘Shed Sheet.
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 50% design and preliminary permitting in progress (Bergmann/County/Alliance)
- Target Construction: Summer 2018
- Ball Creek & Goose Creek:
- Permitting completed by Soil & Water; Final design & bid specs completed by EcoStrategies
- Construction bid issued through County 9/7; BIDS DUE 9/28/17
- Target Construction: Fall 2017 or Spring/Summer 2018
- Ball Creek site prep/planting (invasive species management) coordinated with CWC in progress
- Bemus Creek:
- Soil & Water-led construction underway; Started at Lower section 8/31/17
- Then plan move to Bemus Upper for minor work (majority of site completed Fall 2016)
- Prendergast Creek:
- Inspection and maintenance performed by Soil & Water/Contractor Sept 2017 (majority of site completed Fall 2016);
- Construction phase portion of grant appears to be complete
- Several outstanding modification requests recently approved NYSDEC
- Outstanding County subcontracts in progress or awaiting bid results
- Invoice processing and NYS reimbursement requests ongoing
- M/WBE-related efforts in progress
Invasive Species Management Grant (Senator Young $50K local assistance grant via County pass-through):
- Coordination among Alliance and implementing partners in progress
- Final Alliance subcontracts with RTPI & Audubon signed
- Audubon work largely complete; RTPI/Alliance collaboration in progress
- Draft Alliance subcontract in progress with CLA
- Equipment purchase pending
Celoron LWRP grants (2013/2016):
- Engineering 98% design review complete; Final design review in progress; DOS/DEC approvals remain
- Target construction bid Sept/Oct 2017; Target Construction Start ca. Nov 2017
- Village-NYS contract for 2016 LWRP grant in progress
Lakewood/Busti Stormwater Management Engineering Study (DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant):
- Engineering work underway by Barton & Loguidice (Target Completion ca. May 2018)
- EFC grant agreement with Village pending final signatures; Initial payment to Village from EFC pending
From projects standpoint, Mr. Perry highlighted that it has been really interesting and educational to interact with various state agencies such as Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of State (DOS), Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), etc. in order to execute state contracts on behalf of our members and other grant reporting services. There are definite differences amongst state groups and noted for example that DOS is very hands on as far as review and approvals at various project checkpoints. Mr. Perry commented on the importance of learning how each agency operates. Mr. Perry noted that we are doing a good job of establishing robust paper trails for each project. Mr. Chagnon stated that Mr. Perry’s diligence is appreciated and will help ensure funding reimbursement from the state for our members.
Mr. Perry also gave an update on the 8/19/17 Chautauqua Lake Rally held at the Bemus Point Casino. There was excellent attendance with approximately 300 people, including NY Senator Young, NY Assemblyman Goodell, County Executive Horrigan and others. There were many vendors also participating this year and Mr. Perry gave a special thank you to Dave McCoy who led this year’s efforts as well as Rosie Strandburg from PED.
IV. Update: Alliance RFP for 5 Year Implementation Strategy:
The overall intent of creating a 5 Year Implementation Strategy is to create a neutral way to bring everyone together and gather all relevant stakeholder perspectives, in order to document a strategic way to implement current guidance documents. This is not meant to rehash the efforts already expended on the creation of existing guidance documents but rather a balanced approach for implementation and prioritization. The Alliance Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued 8/16/17 and identified the scope of work as integrating existing Guidance Documents (Watershed Management Plan, Total Maximum Daily Load for Phosphorus, and Macrophyte Management Strategy) into a cohesive and useable Strategy that allows evaluation, prioritization, and proportional funding allocations among both in-lake management techniques and watershed-based management categories.
Mr. Perry commented that the RFP has been distributed according to the plan as summarized at the last board meeting. A variety of publications were used, plus the Alliance website and direct contact for firms known to us and our members. To avoid any misunderstandings, interested firms are advised to consult the published RFP or contact Mr. Perry with any questions. Proposals are due 9/27/17. All proposals received will be subject to the defined evaluation procedure already documented and reviewed by Alliance board and staff.
V. Science Committee Update:
Mr. Chagnon advised the group that the Science Committee had sent a list of topics to the board that they will likely discuss with the consultant during the process to establish our 5 Year Implementation Strategy which was shared via email by Mr. Spann, the committee chair.
Ms. Brickley advised that in the absence of Mr. Spann at today’s meeting that she would give those in attendance an update on the meeting held 8/11/17 between some members of the board and some members of the science committee. The first topic discussed was the committee’s role in project prioritization in general and the fact that there currently is no long list of developed member projects that create the need for analysis. The recent 2017 County 2% Reserve Funding being managed by the Alliance was also discussed. It was agreed that there were two key considerations with this funding stream and its relation to the science committee: first, does the nature of the project warrant scientific review; second, if review is warranted, how to still respond quickly given tight timelines for project completion. The discussion led to the third and final topic whereby it was suggested that science committee members possibly look to focus on a single topic within their own field of expertise and help with the initial steps of developing a project (i.e. develop conceptual scope of work and likely partners). Ms. Brickley noted that this would be of great assistance given the Alliance’s limited capacity and would allow for committee members to participate as much as they chose and lend their personal expertise to topics they are already individually passionate about.
VI. Decision Pending Member Funding Requests to Access 2017 County 2% Funds via Alliance:
Overview: Mr. Chagnon reminded those in attendance that this funding of $100k was led by Mr. Horrigan to address lake conditions and to prevent issues related to lack of funding and needed services as occurred later in the season last year (2016). It was felt that the Alliance was best positioned to prioritize this funding due to its status as a member organization, whose focus is on a science based adaptive approach to management, and who could quickly mobilize to decision time sensitive project funding requests through Alliance Board review and approval. At the time of Resolution 195-17, County legislators raised some concerns and ultimately added several restrictions on its use prior to approving the final resolution such as: only for 2017, reimbursement only, no funding for herbicides, etc. Mr. Chagnon noted that two member requests by the CLA had already been approved by the Alliance board as noted in the August meeting minutes. Since then, five more funding requests were submitted by different members for consideration, which in total exceed the funding amount available. Mr. Chagnon commented that it is exciting to get this many member requests and that Ms. Brickley has been doing an excellent job in working with our members to develop projects that fit within the funding parameters and should be commended for her tenacity in her efforts to assist and work on behalf of our members. Ms. Brickley noted that all five new submissions were complete per the Member Access SOP & Request Form and had been circulated to the full board via email for review prior to today’s meeting. Mr. Chagnon advised that we will go through each request in the order they were submitted for discussion. Then the Board will go back through the list and decision them in the order they were received.
Funding Request from Town of North Harmony (North Harmony):
On behalf of North Harmony, Mrs. Carlson advised that a Hadley Bay resident had attended the Alliance meeting last month and commented on the physical difficulty for elderly shoreline homeowners regarding near-shore clean-up efforts which sparked the idea for this project. Mrs. Carlson advised that this project, titled “Near-Shore Clean-Up for North Harmony Seniors”, was requesting up to $5,000 to assist shoreline homeowners that were over the age of 55 with manual near-shore floating plant and debris removal. As it is unknown how much need there will be, there will be an initial limit of two hours of labor per resident and that North Harmony would advertise this opportunity in their community newsletter.
Q&A: Ms. Barber asked about disposal and Mrs. Carlson advised it would be reused (on agricultural fields) if possible.
Funding Request from Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) (1 of 2):
Mrs. Gibson, on behalf of the CLP, gave a brief overview of their project entitled “Chautauqua Lake Near Shore Cleanup Project Extended July 31-September 5, 2017” which is requesting $14,570 for near shore clean-up efforts. This funding would be retroactive reimbursement on CLP efforts in Bemus Bay. Mrs. Gibson advised that Chautauqua Region Community Foundation had provided the initial funding for what was anticipated to be a two week demonstration project for near shore and shoreline clean-up in Bemus Bay, and also included a challenge grant for $10k if CLP was able to get the County to match. However, conditions called for extending the timeline which ended up being eight weeks’ worth of work. The work involved both near shore and shoreline clean-up through the beginning of September and CLP attributed 80% of total costs to near-shore efforts which is how the funding amount was calculated (funding requested for near shore work only).
Q&A: A citizen attendee asked what constituted near shore and was advised that based on work in Bemus Bay it was wherever there was floating plant material which ranged anywhere from 10 feet from shore out to about 180 feet.
Funding Request from Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) (2 of 2):
Mrs. Gibson also gave a brief overview of a their second project entitled “Chautauqua Lake Weed Survey 3rd Quarter 2017” which is requesting $25,000 to perform weed surveys in five near shore areas in Chautauqua Lake (excluding Bemus Bay). The areas/bays being considered are Burtis Bay, I-86 Bridge to Stow, Hadley Bay, Warner Bay and Sunrise Cove. Mrs. Gibson advised that the locations being considered were suggested during their own CLP rally in Bemus which included break-out sessions with community representatives who identified areas of observable concern. If funded, this data would feed into an effort to perform a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) down the road, which the DEC has advised would be required prior to additional herbicide permit approvals in Chautauqua Lake.
Q&A: Mr. Shepherd asked who would perform the weed surveys and was advised that CLP has already worked with the consulting firm, SOLitude, for a Bemus Bay weed survey earlier this summer. Ms. Barber asked what the overall goal would be and if it would directly link to herbicide efforts as this is one of the restrictions placed on this County funding. She was advised the goal was to use the data to update the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS). The data would then inform appropriate management actions in these five areas of the lake which could be no action, harvesting, herbicides, etc. Mrs. Carlson asked how they calculated the budget and was advised that costs were informed by experience with SOLitude survey costs in Bemus Bay earlier in the summer. Ms. Barber asked if municipalities had been consulted yet and their support requested and was advised that this was the case for Burtis Bay and Ellery but that many citizens are concerned and CLP is looking to partner with elected officials. Mr. Shepherd commented that this is County funding and wondered if CLP would bid this work out or continue to work with SOLitude, and the consensus was that they wouldn’t be under the same procurement requirements as the County would be in the same scenario. Mrs. Conroe asked how these surveys would not duplicate the annual surveys that Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) contracts with Bob Johnson from Cornell to perform and was advised that these surveys would have far more sampling points in smaller identified bays than what is being done annually by the CLA and felt resulting reports would be completed faster. Mr. Leenders asked about the timing of these weed surveys if funded as its late in the year and wouldn’t be necessarily representative what was growing next summer during management activities and was advised that CLP was set to hire their consultant to perform the surveys the first two weeks of October. Mrs. Brower commented that the method used for the survey work in Bemus Bay was possibly not necessarily the most comprehensive and was advised that the DEC also took their own weed survey samples pre and post herbicide treatment in Bemus Bay and did not question the work done by SOLitude. A citizen attendee asked if the company who did and would be doing the surveys for CLP had any financial interest in the results or in other words, was it the same company doing both the survey work as well as the herbicide application that was done this summer. Mr. Erlandson advised this was the case for Bemus Bay but that SOLitude is a reputable company that does work all over the state and there was no reason to question their integrity and it was also noted that it was separate divisions within the company doing the two actions. Mr. Chagnon commented that given all the discussion, you can see how weed survey work could be complex.
Funding Request from Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (JBPU):
Mr. Champ and Mr. Leenders from Jamestown Riverfront Council advised that they would speak on behalf of JBPU as they were unable to attend today’s meeting and gave a brief overview of their project entitled “Chautauqua Lake Outlet/ Chadakoin Debris Removal Project” which requests up to $24,000 in funding to remove downed trees and debris between McCrea Park and Warner Dam. Dead and dying trees create strainers that catch debris, create stagnant water and can be safety hazards for recreational small water craft and kayakers. Mr. Champ gave the description of the outlet as the “bowels of the lake” and how the reduced flow and increased sedimentation are having a deleterious effect on the lower basin – especially in low lake level conditions as we have experienced last year and this year. Reduced flow results in increased sedimentation, reduced movement of floating vegetation through the system, and more still water that favors the development of HAB’s.
Q&A: Mr. Jablonski asked about this project removing important habitat. Mr. Leenders advised that he had been doing scientific work in this area of the outlet for a number of years now and that these debris strainers do provide some habitat but increasing flow would also allow movement for small flora and fauna to establish in other locations and that as far as larger fauna needs, this area is mainly an important corridor rather than permanent habitat. A citizen asked if this would widen this part of the outlet and was advised not but it would allow for baseline data to be collected on width and depth of this segment which could inform future efforts.
Funding Request from Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC):
Mr. Jablonski, on behalf of the CWC, gave a brief overview of their project entitled “David and Margaret Naetzker Preserve Improvement, Ecological Restoration and Sediment Control” which is requesting $14,000 for hydroseed efforts along a steep slope of the preserve’s access road to prevent further erosion. The access road is narrow and initial conversation with Soil & Water was that their equipment was too large for this scenario but CWC did receive a quote for the work from a private company with alternative equipment. Mr. Chagnon advised that he had spoken to Mr. Spann on this topic just to double check and after further discussion Mr. Spann feels Soil & Water will be able to make appropriate modifications to their equipment and complete this erosion control hydroseed effort at Naetzker preserve under existing funding allocated to Soil & Water for such work. Therefore, this funding request was withdrawn.
Board Funding Actions:
- North Harmony: Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Chagnon noted that this meets the legislative parameters and spirit of the county resolution and Ms. Barber noted that this was a concern raised at the prior board meeting but also at the August Lake Rally. Mr. Chagnon called for a vote and the board unanimously approved this request. Mrs. Carlson abstained due to her role as Town Supervisor for North Harmony.
- CLP Near-Shore: Mr. Chagnon noted that this meets the stipulations of the legislature and Ms. Brickley confirmed that there was no spatial duplication amongst the various near-shore projects already funded or under consideration today. Mr. Chagnon called for a vote and the board unanimously approved this request.
- CLP Weed Surveys: Mr. Chagnon and Ms. Barber advised of their concern that this project did not fall within the intentions of the legislature. Mr. Chagnon called for a vote and the board unanimously declined this request.
- JBPU Outlet Debris: Mr. Chagnon advised that at first glance this project may stretch the parameters of the funding. However, after full review he noted the following: there is precedence of County funding being used for projects up to the Warner Dam through the 2% Occupancy Lakes & Waterways Grant program, this corridor is part of Chautauqua Lake and flow out of the south basin and the current conditions (i.e. high number of debris strainers) need improvement as they create slow and dead flow spots that reduce current, especially given the increasing recreation use and high visibility of this area. Mr. Chagnon called for a vote and the board unanimously approved this request.
- CWC Hydroseeding: Withdrawn (as alternate option with no cost to CWC was identified through Soil & Water).
Full Summary – Year to Date:
|Member||Project Type||Location(s)||Project Dates||Funding Request||Status on Request||Impact on Total Available Funding ($100,000)|
|CLA||Near-Shore||Whole lake (less Bemus Bay)||8/15-8/31/17||$21,600||Approved 8/10/17||$78,400|
|CLA||Near-Shore||Whole lake (focus on south basin): Long Point operation: Midway State Park, Wahmeda, Sea Lion Drive and Sandalwood Lane. Lakewood operation: Burtis Bay (extensive need) and along the Outlet by the marinas, at Vukote and in Sherman’s Bay||9/1/17-9/15/17||$21,600||Approved 8/30/17||$56,800|
|Town of North Harmony||Near-Shore||North Harmony:Chautauqua Escapes, Woodlawn, Victoria, Wells Bay, Lakeland Road, Watson Road, Hadley Bay, Connelly Park, Quigley Park, Cheney’s Point, Long View, Neits Crest, Sunrise Cove, Ashville bay, and Goose Creek Road.||After 9/14/17||$5,000||Approved 9/14/17||$51,800|
|CLP||Near-Shore (retroactive)||Bemus Bay||7/31-9/5/17 (retroactive)||$14,570||Approved 9/14/17||$37,230|
|CLP||Weed Surveys||5 near-shore areas in Chautauqua Lake (not Bemus Bay). Bays being considered are Burtis Bay, I-86 Bridge to Stow, Hadley Bay, Warner Bay, & Sunrise Cove.||After 9/14/17||$25,000||Declined 9/14/17||n/a|
|Jamestown BPU||Debris / Downed Tree Removal||Jones & Gifford to Warner Dam||After 9/14/17||$24,000||Approved 9/14/17||$13,230|
|CWC||Hydro-seeding||Naetzker Preserve in Ashville: approximately 0.6 acres of exposed soils along access road on steep slope.||After 9/14/17||$14,000||Withdrawn (alternate solution sourced through Soil & Water)||n/a|
Note: Projects listed in the order they were received.
VII. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Mr. Chagnon opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance:
- Ms. Anderson from Mayville commented that she had moved to the area two years ago and is very impressed with the community collaboration and the quality of work that is being done regarding Chautauqua Lake and its watershed given its challenges. She also commended the Alliance on leading civil discussions on various topics.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:28 p.m.