Herbicide Treatment Concludes On Chautauqua Lake

P-J photo by Jordan Patterson

The Chautauqua Lake Partnership and SOLitude Lake Management concluded its herbicide application in Chautauqua Lake on Tuesday.

“It went well,” said Jim Cirbus, of the CLP.

The herbicides targeted invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed on 90 acres in the towns of Busti, North Harmony and Ellery. There are six areas being impacted along the shoreline of Midway Park, Sunset/Warner Bay and Bemus Bay in the town of Ellery, the town of Busti and shorelines of Bly Bay and Sunrise Cove in the town of North Harmony.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation approved herbicide application to 191 acres of the lake. The CLP initially applied for permits that included 989 acres of the lake. The herbicides approved to be used in the lake were Aquathol, Navigate and Renovate.

Due to lack of funding and opposition to the herbicide application, only 90 acres were treated.

Cirbus said he was disappointed that more acres weren’t treated but called the treatment “another step forward.”

Simultaneously, the CLP asked the Chautauqua County Legislature for $300,000 to fund the remaining costs of herbicide use.

The CLP previously requested $500,000 from the County Legislature in April. The lake organization turned back to the municipalities involved in the lake project to ask for funding.

Those municipalities had varying opinions on who should pay for the application. The town of Busti matched a donation of $17,000, totaling $34,000 for herbicide treatment. The CLP told the village of Celoron that with the DEC approved acreage within village limits the cost would not be worth the money.

The town of Ellicott did not foot the bill for the funding estimated to be in the range of $40,000-$50,000.

“To my knowledge nobody has come forward with any funding,” said Mike Erlandson, Ellicott town clerk.

In the village of Lakewood, the board did not approve the use of herbicides. The village board left the door open for herbicide use in the future.

Initial plans were to apply herbicides in early-to-mid-May at the latest. DEC approval of permits on May 15 forced CLP officials to change that initial timeline, though the colder and wet spring may mean the delay won’t have much impact on the effectiveness of the three herbicides being used. But confusion over the initially DEC approved permits caused the delay for the application to take place earlier this week. After permits were approved, they were then rescinded and were then later approved again.

In a news release, the CLP said the treatment was supervised by the DEC with additional “support from the Chautauqua County Sheriff and Emergency Services Department and the Department of Health.”

“There were no obvious problems,” Cirbus said of the Monday and Tuesday treatments.

Sampling of the treated acres will conclude over the summer months.

Cirbus was optimistic that “more extensive herbicide treatment” would be pursued next year.

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