MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission (CLMC) have taken important steps toward the development of an in-lake management plan to address nuisance aquatic plants.
According to Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator, the 2011 Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan, provides recommendations on how to address nutrient and sediment loading into the Lake, but does not provide guidance on in-lake management techniques. Diers stated that the "New York State Department of Environmental Conservations (NYSDEC) will not issue a permit for techniques to control nuisance aquatic vegetation (weeds) in Chautauqua Lake, other than mechanical harvesting and bio-controls such as the aquatic weevil, until an in-lake management plan is completed an approved."
In the Fall of 2011, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development (CCPED) and the CLMC took the initial steps toward developing an in-lake plan by drafting a request for proposals (RFP) that provided a rough outline for the scope of work necessary to complete the plan. This draft was subsequently reviewed by several NYSDEC personnel and was then reviewed and modified by CLMC member organizations, culminating in a final RFP and refined Scope of Work that was released in November of 2011.
Several proposals were received in response to the RFP and were reviewed by a broad stakeholder group comprised of eight individuals representing; the CCCPED; Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA); Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC); Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP); and a Jamestown Community College (JCC) Professor. As a result of this collaborative process, the review committee selected the services of Cedar Eden Environmental, LLC of Saranac Lake, a firm with extensive expertise in aquatic plant management.
Cedar Eden will develop a comprehensive and integrated submerged aquatic vegetation management plan (SAVMP) that will expand upon the techniques to manage the nuisance aquatic vegetation that impairs recreational, environmental, and economic resources in Chautauqua Lake." Once completed, the Plan will consider the location and type of man's uses, areas of excessive weed growth, and where the conflicts between man's uses and the weeds occur. It will then identify sensitive areas and will prescribe reasonable and practical management alternatives that are practical and implementable for the control of aquatic vegetation. Mr. Diers stated that "the SAVMP is essential to managing our lake efficiently."
Diers said,"There have been many studies conducted on the Lake," and "it is intended that Cedar Eden will provide synthesis and organization of the existing information from all previous research activities that have taken place on Chautauqua Lake over the past several decades, identify any information gaps, and complete the necessary work needed to fill those gaps in order complete the SAVMP."
The following outline provides a cursory "roadmap" of what the SAVMP will accomplish:
A. Goal Setting - Identifying problems to be addressed;
B. Inventory - Collecting baseline information to define past and existing conditions;
C. Analysis - Synthesizing the information, quantifying and comparing the current conditions to desired conditions, researching opportunities and constraints, and setting directions to achieving the goals;
D. Control Alternatives Listing all of the possible management alternatives and evaluating their strengths, weaknesses and general feasibility;
E. Integrated Treatment Selection - Prioritizing and selecting integrated management options, setting objectives, drafting the plan;
F. Implementation - Identifying potential funding sources, and developing a timeline for implementation; and
G. Monitoring & Modification - Developing mechanisms to allow for the tracking activities and adjustments/modifications to the SAV plan over time.
Mark Geise, Deputy Director of Planning & Economic Development said,"We desire to have all weed management options at our disposal, and the SAVMP is essential to fulfilling this goal. What is truly unique about this plan is that it provides thresholds that dictate what management techniques may be used in various zones. These management techniques may include, but not limited to, mechanical, biological, physical, and chemical methods"
Details regarding the Cedar Eden proposal for the SAVMP may be accessed at: www.planningchautauqua.com/watershed/index.htm, under Publications and Projects, SAV Management Plan Scope of Work Cedar Eden 2012.
As part of this initiative and a parallel project, area residents are encouraged to complete an online survey intended to identify impaired regions of Chautauqua Lake. The survey is available on the project web site at: www.EcoLogicLLC.com/Chautauqua-Implementation.html. A second survey, specific to residents in the Dutch Hollow and Goose Creek watersheds, is also located at the website provided above.
Contact Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator, if you have any questions regarding ongoing projects in Chautauqua Lake and throughout the County at email@example.com.