ELLERY – Public comment is now being accepted for the environmental impact statement involving the use of herbicides on Chautauqua Lake to treat invasive weeds.
The Town of Ellery and Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP) have requested permission from the state to treat invasive weeds in expansive areas of Chautauqua Lake later this year with four different types of herbicides.
According to CLP and other advocates for herbicide use, they feel it is the best way to remove a large amount of invasive weeds that have become a recurring problem on the lake during the summer months. They feel that if left untreated, the weeds will have an adverse economic impact on the lake and region, due to visitors no longer wanting to come and stay on the lake during the summer.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for viewing at the Town of Ellery website.
A public meeting to accept comments on the statement will be held on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fluvanna Fire Hall.
Written comments will also be accepted until 4 p.m. March 12.
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) has come out against the plan, stating on its Facebook page that the project – as proposed -threatens the wetland vegetation in the lake and along the shoreline at the Conservancy’s Loomis Goose Creek Preserve and along the Conservancy’s three-quarter mile-long Outlet Greenway, stretching from Fluvanna toward Jamestown.
According to CWC, Chautauqua Lake has serious nutrient and sediment problems that are fueling its excessive algae and aquatic plant conditions. The conservancy claims that by killing plants over large areas, there is the increased chance the lake’s serious harmful algae blooms (HABs) will increase. This is due to nutrients formerly absorbed by plants helping to fuel even heavier algae blooms.
The conservancy said it will be researching other threats as well and will likely comment on them before the deadline, in order to minimize potential negative impacts on fish and wildlife, human health, and other species.