BEMUS POINT – The organization that’s been the driving force behind herbicide use on Chautauqua Lake says it has concerns regarding the recent Chautauqua Lake Management Consensus Strategy Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that was put forward last month by County Executive George Borrello.
The MOA is a document that was finalized and put forward by Borrello on March 27. It was unanimously approved by the Chautauqua County Legislature on the same day it was made public. The document seeks to bring together lake stakeholders so they can more effectively work together to manage invasive aquatic plants, nuisance native vegetation, and hazardous algal blooms in the lake.
Among the stakeholders that are being asked to sign off on the MOA is the Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP), which is the organization that has pushed for the use of herbicides to combat the growing nuisance of invasive weeds in Chautauqua Lake.
On Sunday the CLP posted five concerns it has with the MOA on its website.
At the top of the list, the CLP says the legally-binding MOA, with its numerous ambiguous tenets, could result in more, not fewer, lawsuits against those signatories taking lake improvement action, primarily Towns and Villages, the CLP and the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA).
The organization also said that with no scientific or regulatory basis, the MOA would prohibit herbicide treatments “north of Long Point”.
“Although this might be reconsidered for 2020, this would eliminate previously-permitted areas offshore Midway Park, Sunset Bay and Warner Bay as well as the remainder of the North Basin: offshore Maple Springs, Dewittville Bay, Hartfield Bay, offshore Mayville, Irvins Bay, offshore Magnolia, Woodlawn and Victoria and Whitney Bay,” The CLP points out.
And the CLP says, “There is no mention of the 2018 Town of Ellery $250,000 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement which, by law, guides herbicide permitting in Chautauqua Lake.”
The Partnership is encouraging its members and the general public to review all their concerns and then contact their representatives in local and county government to see if some changes can be made to the MOA.
In order to qualify for funding, Borrello had said that organizations should sign off on the MOA to show that they support the consensus. Chautauqua Institution, which last year filed a lawsuit against the use of herbicides in the lake, has already signed off on the document.
In addition, Borrello has already said that the MOA will not be altered or changed for at least the first two years it is in place. But he did say it could be changed in 2021 following a review by stakeholders and the county.
Borrello is urging all stakeholders to sign off on the MOA by April 17.