WASHINGTON – New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to prioritize funding to protect the lake’s water quality from toxic algal blooms by including a Chautauqua Lake Feasibility Study in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan.
In a joint press release, the senators said Chautauqua Lake and its surrounding communities suffer from continued environmental, public health, and economic damage caused by repeated harmful algal blooms, and this study would allow USACE to evaluate the excessive phosphorous runoff that causes these harmful algal blooms. Additionally, the USACE would be able to study flood risk management measures, assess ecosystem restoration efforts, and address the accelerated erosion along the lake’s tributary stream banks.
“Chautauqua Lake is a jewel of Western New York and a vital source of drinking water, recreation and economic activity for both residents and countless visitors alike, but it is threatened by harmful algal blooms that we must do more to reverse and prevent,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m calling on the Army Corps to include the Chautauqua Lake Feasibility Study in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan, to carefully examine the destructive, repeated harmful algal blooms in Chautauqua Lake that have significantly diminished water quality. To successfully battle the blooms, Chautauqua Lake is going to need the Army Corps’ expertise and support.”
The Chautauqua Lake Feasibility Study would enable the local communities to better understand changing flood risks and provide tools to help guard against future environmental degradation and property damage. The study would inform best practices concerning excessive weed and harmful algae growth, as well as mitigation for sediments deposited at the mouths of the tributaries, to further minimize flood risks harming the environmental health and economic viability of Chautauqua Lake.