Erin Brickley, alliance executive director, said the group is in the process of finalizing the five-year implementation strategy for the management of the lake which should be completed and publicly presented in May.
Brickley said the strategy is a way to offer “cohesive direction” regarding the prioritization of long-term watershed projects that address the excess nutrients that then encourages the overabundance of weeds and algae as well as the short-term in-lake actions that prepare the lake for seasonal use each year. She said the strategy is based on science but also takes into consideration the concerns of the local community.
“We reached out to 43 different and relevant organizations, departments and committees and had 35 of them participate in focus groups at the very end of January, designed to coalesce local concerns and desired actions, which will be incorporated in the strategy,” Brickley said.
Brickley said she is also glad to be a part of the steering committee for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Harmful Algal Bloom initiatives in which Chautauqua Lake was one of 12 identified priority lakes to develop action plans to study and mitigate the Harmful Algal Bloom. She said the summit is scheduled for Monday, March 26.
“We should know more on how this initiative will be executed once that full day summit has been completed,” Brickley said. “However, the alliance anticipates hitting the ground running for securing funding to implement the action plan, once completed, that will help us mitigate HAB, an ongoing and increasing concern for Chautauqua Lake.”
The alliance has also partnered with a variety of entities throughout the county on many projects. The alliance has been working with the village of Celoron with the seawall removal and replacement project.
The seawall will be replaced with an eco-friendly rock riprap and rootwad revetment, and there will be an addition of a timber boardwalk and ADA compliant kayak and canoe launch along the shore at Lucille Ball Memorial Park.
Likewise, the alliance has partnered with Chautauqua county on two stream bank stabilizations in Dutch Hollow Creek subwatershed. The project will soon go out to bid and construction is anticipated during the upcoming summer. Another stream bank stabilization is scheduled for Goose Creek in Ashville this summer.
A storm water study will soon be underway, thanks to a partnership with the village of Mayville, the town of Chautauqua and Chautauqua County, which will look at the northern-most portion of the lake. The study is slated to be completed in May 2019.
“That project is more recent and we will be assisting the village in procuring a qualified engineer firm this spring,” Brickley said. “That study will build a pipeline of projects for the northern portion of Chautauqua Lake, benchmarking off the experiences in Lakewood and Busti.”
Partnerships for in-lake invasive species prevention efforts partnerships are also underway, thanks to a grant awarded by state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean. Brickley said prevention and early detection of invasive species are the “only truly viable routes” to mitigating the impacts of them.
“We are trying to build a base for a formal monitoring program that can work in unison with Chautauqua Lake Associations’ clean, drain and dry boat stewardship program at local boat launches,” she said.
The annual Lake Rally planning is now in the works, Brickley said. Details are still to be determined, but she said the rally is an important event that allows lake and watershed groups to share what they have been working on over the past year.
“The concept that nothing is being done is a myth,” Brickley said.
For more information on upcoming events or initiatives with the alliance, visit www.ChautauquaAlliance.org or call 661-8918.
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