Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors – Public Meeting
Thursday, September 10, 2020
4:30 p.m. via ZOOM
Directors Present: Pierre Chagnon, Ted McCague, Mike Jabot, Bruce Erickson, Mike Latone, and Rob Yates
Absent: Jim Andrews, Paul (PJ) Wendel, and David Shepherd
Staff in Attendance: Vince Horrigan – Alliance Interim Executive Director, Randall Perry – Alliance Project Manager, and Taylor West – Alliance Communications Coordinator.
Others in Attendance: Liz Moran and Michelle McGinnis – EcoLogic LLC, Jim Rhea and Mike Werth – Anchor QEA; Tory Irgang and Lisa Lynde – Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF); Linda Swanson – Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation; Cassandra Pinkoski – Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD); Jim Wehrfritz,
Member Representatives in Attendance: Doug Conroe & Debbie Moore – Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA); John Jablonski III, Whitney Gleason, Jeanne Wiebenga, Craig Seger & Rebecca Nystrom – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), Bill Ward & Dave McCoy – County of Chautauqua, Dr. Jim Cirbus & Frank Nicotra – Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP); Steve Hayes – Town of Ellery; and Ellen Barnes – Village of Lakewood
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. A quorum of 6 out of 9 Alliance Board Members were present.
II. Approval of 8/13/2020 Minutes
B. Erickson made a motion to accept the minutes from the 8/13/2020 Public Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by T. McCague and was approved unanimously.
III. Presentation of Updated Alliance Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) Scoring Tool by EcoLogic LLC / Anchor QEA
L. Moran of EcoLogic LLC gave a presentation unveiling the updated Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) Tool. L. Moran reviewed the update process and presented the updated MCA scoring tool to the group. The updated MCA tool was made available to Alliance members following the conclusion of this meeting.
- J. Wehrfritz asked if the previous scores were compared to the yearly funding allocations and asked if there was general agreement among the scoring groups.
- L. Moran indicated that the EcoLogic/Anchor team looked at the overall technical scores and their alignment with the funding allocations.
- J. Wehrfritz asked about the consistency between the three scoring groups.
- M. Werth indicated that Anchor QEA and EcoLogic scored the applications separately and then compared their scores at the end. M .Werth indicated that there were areas of consistency between the scoring groups and other areas where there were differences between the scoring groups. M. Werth indicated that some of the inconsistencies helped the EcoLogic/AnchorQEA team clarify sections of the criteria.
- R. Perry indicated that the Alliance shared all available usage statistics with the Anchor/EcoLogic Team. R. Perry indicated that the funding decisions were the primary performance measures that were used rather than the performance measures of the projects themselves. R. Perry indicated that scorers were not brought together to update their scores because the process is designed to be independent.
- J. Wehrfritz recommended that the scoring groups meet after they have independently scored the applications.
- B. Erickson indicated that he was surprised at how similar the scoring groups ranked the projects last year.
- J. Rhea indicated that the scoring overall was pretty tight across the scoring groups.
- J. Jablonski asked how the MCA Tool scores prevention versus remediation projects.
- L. Moran indicated that the climate resilience criteria helps open the door to prevention related projects such as land acquisition.
- J. Rhea indicated that the criteria would have to be applied in a creative way towards prevention projects.
- J. Wehrfritz asked if the tool compared the efficiency of the proposed project to project alternatives that may be more efficient.
- L. Moran indicated that there are criteria in the tool that take into account nutrient and sediment reduction.
- W. Gleason asked if the funding allocations are proportionate to the flow chart in the presentation.
- P. Chagnon indicated that funding allocation is dependent in-part on the number of funding proposals received for each project category.
- J. Wehrfritz asked if the funding allocation follows the 5-Year Strategy.
- P. Chagnon indicated that the funding allocations are dependent in-part on the number of proposals that the Alliance receives for each category.
- J. Wehrfritz asked about the classification of scientific evidence.
- L. Moran indicated that scientific evidence is classified as a document that has been produced/investigated by a regulatory agency, academic institution, etc.
P. Chagnon called for a motion to accept the modifications as proposed to the MCA Tool by Anchor QEA and EcoLogic LLC.
B. Erickson made a motion to accept the modifications as proposed.
R Yates seconded the motion made by B. Erickson.
P. Chagnon called for a roll call vote on the motion.
Motion Carried: 6 ayes (McCague, Yates, Jabot, Erickson, Latone, & Chagnon), 0 nays.
P. Chagnon thanked the EcoLogic/Anchor QEA team for their work on the MCA Tool update.
IV. Projects Update
- 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)
- Survey & design work by Bergmann is underway at nearby section of Dutch Hollow Creek (Phase II); design/permitting ca. Summer/Fall 2020 and construction ca. Summer 2021
- Ball Creek, Goose Creek, Bemus Creek, and Prendergast Creek: All work complete; final payments received by County; final reporting/close-out in progress
- Dutch Hollow Creek & West Dutch Hollow Creek:
- 2017 Celoron Park Improvement Phase IV Design & Construction, Amenities Building (NYSDOS LWRP)
- Construction complete; Final Grant Close-out in progress;L. Olson (General Contractor) & LaBella (Architect/Engineer)
- 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/
- 2018 Lakewood Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit (NYSEFC GIGP)
- Engineer design by Barton & Loguidice nearing completion; next milestones 100% Design, Bidding, and Construction ca. Fall 2020 to Spring 2021 (tentative)
- 2018 Busti Precision Swales Stabilization (NYSDEC WQIP)
- Invitation for Construction Bids issued 8/27/20; Bids Due to Town 9/18/20; Construction planned ca. Fall to Winter 2020 (tentative)
- 2018 Skimming Capital Equipment (NYSDEC WQIP)
- County bid awarded to Alpha Boats; order fulfillment underway with significant COVID-19 delays (tentative delivery ca. TBD)
- 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
- J. Wehrfritz asked if the water chestnut in the Chautauqua Lake outlet was managed via hand pulling techniques.
- R. Perry indicated that they are managing these water chestnut occurrences through hand pulling techniques at this time.
- J. Wehrfritz asked about the effectiveness of hand pulling to prevent future propagation.
- R. Perry indicated that hand pulling generally occurs prior to the plant producing nutlets, which would take place in late summer. R. Perry indicated that most of the plants had largely intact nutlets, but indicated that the initial water chestnut detections occurred around 2015 meaning that there is likely still a seed bank present.
V. Alliance Committees Update
1.) Alliance Lake Management Committee Update
a.) Harvesting; Mobitrac; Near-shore Cleanup
T. West indicated that according to the Chautauqua Lake Association’s work reports, they have removed 11,110,000 pounds (5,555 tons) through their lake maintenance program, not including Joint-Operations. T. West indicated that the Mobitrac CLA Joint-Operations team has removed 1,240,000 pounds (620 tons) of floating debris from Chautauqua Lake during their 10 weeks of operation this season, which does not include the work that has been performed by the roaming Mobitrac in Vukote and Shore Acres Canals, Bemus Bay, and at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. T. West indicated that both operations combined have removed a total of approximately 12,350,000 pounds of macrophytes and debris through 13 weeks of operation.
V. Horrigan indicated that he attended a Near-shore Coordination Meeting with the CLA, Town of Chautauqua, and Alliance on 9/10/2020. V. Horrigan indicated that there is a strong desire based on the increased weed activity over the past 3 weeks to continue lake maintenance until September 25, 2020. V. Horrigan asked the Board if they would consider a motion to modify the Town of Chautauqua’s 2020 Alliance Grant to repurpose $4,972.00 remaining from the original award for extended season operations. V. Horrigan indicated that this funding would be used to continue joint-operations with CLA until September 25, 2020.
T. McCague made a motion to modify the Town of Chautauqua’s 2020 Alliance Grant to repurpose $4,972.00 of unspent funds for extended season operations.
The motion was seconded by M. Latone.
M. Latone asked if the extended season operations would utilize GPS tracking and report their weekly harvested tonnages.
V. Horrigan indicated that these operations would report their work to the Alliance and would be tracked using the Alliance GPS units. V. Horrigan indicated that these operations would take place in the north basin of Chautauqua Lake.
The motion carried with unanimous support.
b.) GPS Tracking Data Update
T. West gave an update on the Alliance GPS Tracking Program indicating that the units were installed in July 2020 on four (4) harvesters and three (3) Mobitracs. T. West indicated that Alliance staff collect the GPS data weekly, enter the data into GIS, and then map the data and cross reference it with work reports from harvesting and Mobitrac operations.
2.) Alliance Watershed Management Committee Update
V. Horrigan indicated that the Watershed Management Committee has not met recently.
3.) Alliance Data Analysis and Research (DAR) Committee Update
M. Jabot indicated the Committee held its initial meeting on 8/10/2020 and anticipates holding another meeting in September. M. Jabot indicated that he is thankful for the members who volunteered to participate on the Committee and hopes that the work will be a benefit to the Alliance Board.
a.) The Jefferson Project at Chautauqua Lake
V. Horrigan indicated that The Jefferson Project has deployed Vertical Profilers in the north and south basin of Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated that he hopes this program can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on Chautauqua Lake.
D. Conroe asked about the deliverables and timeline associated with The Jefferson Project’s work on Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan indicated that the current contract runs through November 2020.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the data are part of a documented study plan.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance is relying on the expertise of The Jefferson Project who has 7 years of experience on Lake George to guide the preliminary research on Chautauqua Lake.
b.) HABITATS (USACE/NYSDEC)
V. Horrigan indicated that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) initiated a HAB pilot study on Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated that there was a vessel-based operation at Long Point State Park and a shore-based operation at the CLA headquarters in Lakewood.
D. Conroe indicated that the CLA is thankful to host the Army Corps and their contractor AECOM and indicated that they have developed a good working relationship with the organizations. D. Conroe indicated that this program is a pilot study to test the scalability of their new HAB mitigation/reduction technology. D. Conroe indicated that the shore-based process includes removing lake water, separating the algae from the lake water, condensing the algae, and exporting the condensed algae off site to create biofuel. D. Conroe indicated that this project not only removes algae, but also removes nutrients from the waterbody. D. Conroe indicated that AECOM and the USACE spent a week and a half at the CLA. D. Conroe indicated that this could be another great tool in the toolbox once the technology is perfected.
J. Wehrfritz inquired about the source of funding for the pilot study.
D. Conroe indicated that the Army Corps of Engineers funded the project.
J. Wehrfritz commented that it is great to see the Army Corps on Chautauqua Lake.
P. Chagnon indicated that this is likely the result of the County’s lobbying efforts in Washington. P. Chagnon indicated that it is rare accomplishment to secure Federal funding towards a project on an inland freshwater lake. P. Chagnon indicated that this project opens the door to securing future Federal funding towards the improvement of Chautauqua Lake.
J. Jablonski asked if the Army Corps looked at macroinvertebrates that were removed as bycatch with the algae.
D. Conroe replied indicating that he was unaware of any macroinvertebrate analysis as part of the pilot study.
No update given. See below for additional information.
d.) SUNY Fredonia
R. Perry indicated that BGSU, SUNY Fredonia, and The Jefferson Project are collaborating with one another.
J. Wehrfritz asked if the SUNY buoy was deployed in Chautauqua Lake in 2020.
R. Perry indicated that the SUNY buoy experienced technical issues early on and then COVID-19 hindered the 2020 deployment.
B. Nystrom asked if SUNY Fredonia was sampling Chautauqua Lake tributaries in 2020.
R. Perry replied indicating that students from SUNY Fredonia are working with the BGSU team along with others.
B. Nystrom asked about the funding source for The Jefferson Project on Chautauqua Lake.
V. Horrigan indicated that it is primarily privately funded with some fiscal support from the Alliance.
VI. Survey Updates
1.). Third-Party Monitoring (Princeton Hydro)
V. Horrigan indicated the 2020 herbicide treatments were completed in targeted areas of Chautauqua Lake. V. Horrigan indicated that Princeton Hydro is currently drafting their report, which is due to the Alliance by the November Board Meeting.
J. Wehrfritz asked if it would be available to help score Local Grant Applications.
V. Horrigan indicated that the report will not be available until November.
R. Perry indicated that the treatment occurred six (6) weeks later in 2020 compared to 2019, which is why the report won’t be available until November.
V. Horrigan indicated that the Alliance hopes to know some of the results of the 2020 Third-Party Monitor before the October Work Session Board Meeting.
2.) CLP Summer/Fall 2020 Macrophyte Survey
M. Latone indicated that North Carolina State University (NC State) surveyed approximately 920 points around Chautauqua Lake. M. Latone indicated that the CLP anticipates receiving a draft report by 10/15/2020 and a final report by 11/2/2020. M. Latone indicated that NC State did a great job and indicated that the CLP would share the final report once it is completed.
Further discussion ensued about the survey RFP process between J. Cirbus, M. Latone, J. Wehrfritz, and V. Horrigan.
VII. At-Large Board Vacancy Nominees
P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance Executive Committee conducted Board nominee interviews with Mary Hutchings and Jeanne Wiebenga. P. Chagnon indicated that each nominee responded to questions for about 30 minutes. P. Chagnon indicated that the Executive Committee met twice following the interviews to discuss a possible recommendation to a full Board. P. Chagnon indicated that both nominees are very well qualified and thanked them for their interest in serving on the Alliance Board of Directors. P. Chagnon indicated that the Executive Committee recommended that the Alliance Board delay the Board member selection until the May 2021 Annual Meeting where the Alliance Membership can decide by election who the Board replacement should be rather than have the current Alliance Board appoint someone now. P. Chagnon indicated that M. Jabot abstained from voting on the recommendation.
P. Chagnon indicated that the Alliance Board reviewed and approved the recommendation by the Executive Committee. P. Chagnon indicated that M. Jabot abstained from voting on the motion by the Executive Committee. P. Chagnon indicated that he appreciated M. Hutchings’s and J. Wiebenga’s willingness to serve on the Alliance Board.
J. Cirbus indicated that the Alliance should utilize the “friends of the Alliance” clause in the Alliance bylaws in order to utilize talented members of the community.
P. Chagnon indicated that this topic could be put before the Board in the future for discussion.
VIII. Executive Director Announcement
P. Chagnon announced that R. Perry has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance effective November 1, 2020. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry has worked for the Alliance since 2016 as its Project Manager, working on a variety of lake and watershed projects in partnership with Alliance members from project development through funding and completion. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry served as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Fredonia teaching Geoscience and Environmental Science courses. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry was a geological consultant specializing in environmental and water resource projects prior to his employment with the Alliance. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry possesses Bachelors and Masters of Science in Earth Science from the University of Maine with a focus on Environmental Geochemistry. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry has demonstrated impressive skills coordinating members, engineers, and contractors and managing many successful Alliance projects. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry has developed skills in grant writing, grant administration, and funding management. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry has been an incredibly rock solid foundation for the Alliance through its extended period with an Interim Executive Director. P. Chagnon indicated that R. Perry and V. Horrigan will complete the leadership transition and coordinate accompanying staffing adjustments over the next several weeks. P. Chagnon thanked V. Horrigan for his great work as Interim Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance.
R. Perry indicated that he is honored and excited by this opportunity and extended his sincere thanks to V. Horrigan for his tireless service to the Alliance and County. R. Perry indicated that he appreciated learning from and working alongside V. Horrigan through this transition period. R. Perry thanked P. Chagnon for his expertise and thanked the Alliance Board for the opportunity to continue to serve the Alliance in this new role. R. Perry thanked T. West for his continued hard work on behalf of the organization. R. Perry indicated that the Alliance has initiated some very exciting and critical projects aimed at advancing the Alliance’s mission over the past year and is looking forward to continuing this momentum as a team going forward. R. Perry thanked the Alliance membership, funding partners, and other stakeholders and indicated that he is looking forward to continuing to build strong partnerships by working together towards the common goal of protecting and enhancing Chautauqua Lake and its watershed for its many uses and users now and into the future.
V. Horrigan reminded the Alliance membership that the Alliance’s Local Grant Applications are due back to the Alliance by September 24, 2020 at 4:00 PM. V. Horrigan indicated that Alliance members must renew their membership by 9/25/2020 if they intend on submitting applications as part of this local grant process.
X. Open Floor: Member Representatives and Community Members in Attendance
D. Conroe indicated that the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA is hosting one day seminar on the Chautauqua Institution’s virtual platform on October 24, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. D. Conroe indicated that three different presentations will occur during this seminar, one of which will be given by the CLA regarding HABs on Chautauqua Lake.
B. Erickson made a motion to adjourn the September 10, 2020 Board meeting. The motion was seconded by M. Latone and was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 6:02 PM.