JAMESTOWN – The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has issued a statement of support for the lawsuit filed by the Chautauqua Institution demanding a more thorough impact study on the application of herbicides to Chautauqua Lake before herbicides can be applied to the lake in the future.
As it stated during the herbicide permitting process, conservancy board members believe the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) submitted by Ellery to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in support of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership’s herbicide application is flawed and that the application of herbicides without further study could harm the ecology of the lake.
The 2018 herbicide application is in opposition to the watershed management endorsed by the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and others.
Attorneys for Chautauqua Institution argue that the DEC didn’t adequately consider comments it received during the SEIS process and acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” by adopting an SEIS that institution officials allege wasn’t supported by evidence within the public record.
The CWC’s full statement reads:
“The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy supports this legal action by Chautauqua Institution as a formal means of establishing a process for the lake community to thoroughly consider the potential impacts and benefits of the use of herbicides on the Chautauqua Lake ecosystem, fish and wildlife and human health, and if herbicide use is found viable, how herbicides can be applied in the future in a manner that limits the potential negative impacts.
Furthermore, CWC is concerned that herbicides were applied to 80 to 90 acres of the public waters of Chautauqua Lake without requirements for objective, independent third-party scientifically valid documentation of the efficacy and impacts of the treatment on targeted plant species and beneficial native plants and other organisms.
CWC did not endorse the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as presently submitted by the Town of Ellery because we believe 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.
Over the last few years, the 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.”