Conservancy reporting herbicide application lessened at Chautauqua Lake

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is reporting that — through collaboration with area residents, lake users, fishermen, sportsmen, and local scientists — it has successfully persuaded New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to limit approval of an herbicide application in Chautauqua Lake to less than one-third of the original request for 900 acres. This DEC action reasonably balances the competing interests of lakefront residents, businesses, boaters, fishermen, and conservationists, according to CWC. Maintaining this balance is essential to protect important habitats and sensitive species that are especially vulnerable to herbicide applications.

CWC Board of Directors said, “We are proud of our CWC staff, members and partners for working together and speaking with a unified voice. Our voices helped shape a balanced solution to the challenges of managing the excessive plant growth in Chautauqua Lake. We have more work to do, and must continue to work in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders in the community.”

CWC’s Board of Directors has formally endorsed the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy. These collaborative plans provide a comprehensive framework for properly managing and protecting the life-sustaining lands and waters of Chautauqua County for the benefit of everyone. Regrettably, CWC cannot endorse the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as presently submitted by The Town of Ellery (N.Y.), because CWC believes that it contains material flaws that were identified during the public review process, yet were left unresolved in the final draft. These flaws must be addressed to ensure that future applications of herbicides do not adversely affect plants, fish, and wildlife. Thus, CWC regards this document as an important first step toward more research and better understanding, which will enable when and where herbicide treatments and other methods are appropriate. CWC believes that a healthy lake can support recreation while sustaining natural habitat essential for all life.