Rotary Club Welcomes Trio To Meeting

From left are Jim Wehrfritz, Chautauqua Lake Partnership vice president; Jennifer Gibson, Rotary Club member and Chautauqua Lake Partnership board member; and Tom Erlandson, Chautauqua Lake Partnership science advisor.

At a recent meeting, the Noon Rotary Club of Jamestown welcomed Jim Wehrfritz, Chautauqua Lake Partnership vice president; Tom Erlandson, Chautauqua Lake Partnership science advisor; and Doug Neckers, Chautauqua Lake Partnership science advisor and trustee.

Neckers started off the discussion with a reference to the continued algae problems in the western end of Lake Erie and how Chautauqua Lake could use some of the ideas that are abating the algae in Lake Erie. Neckers reminded the audience that this problem is serious business and constructive solutions are necessary. Wehrfritz introduced himself and gave a quick overview of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership. The partnership’s mission is about improving and maintaining water quality and the general enjoyment of the lake. The Chautauqua Lake Partnership was formed in 2002 and is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Chautauqua Lake Partnership officials said current approaches are not sufficient enough and new approach must be enacted.

Erlandson was next to speak. He explained that Chautauqua Lake is a 13,000-acre body of water that is 17 miles long with 42 miles of continuous shoreline. Chautauqua Lake is also comprised of the north and south basins. The lake level is maintained by natural bedrock and a dam at outlet. Chautauqua Lake flows north/west to south/east into the Chadakoin River and then to the Alleghany/Ohio river.

Wehrfritz then spoke again about the plan and Bemus Bay, in particular. The 2017 plan involved using herbicides and shoreline clean-up. The plan included a pre-treatment of weeds on May 25, actual herbicide treatment on June 26 and a treatment survey on July 20 to gauge the effectiveness of the application. According to Wehrfrtiz and others, Bemus Bay is in the best shape it has been in 10 to 15 years. Evidenced by the fact there was no weed cutting needed in Bemus Bay for most of the summer, a reduction in near weeds, an increase in native weeds and no weed-related boat problems.

According to the speakers, the Chautauqua Lake Partnership encourages an open-minded dialog among different stakeholders to stem the lakes decline and said the community needs to be open to discussing and exploring all weed management alternatives. Partnership officials said small groups of opponents shouldn’t be allowed from moving the initiative forward. It is important to understand the near and mid-term efforts as well as look at long-term (cost/benefit analysis).

CLP officials said the 2018 plan can succeed and move the health of Chautauqua Lake forward. But, they cannot do it alone. They will need support from municipalities and their leaders, including the new county executive and the County Legislature, state and county funding and local foundations and individuals.