Concerned Citizen Calling For Chautauqua Lake Unity

Members of Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, center, and County Legislator Pierre Chagnon, right, listen to committee reports at the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance meeting. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

STOW — Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said that herbicides can be one tool to treat Chautauqua Lake’s problems, but a comprehensive plan is needed most.

This was discussed among recent projects and elections at a meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, which was concluded by a call for unity concerning the stakeholders of the lake.

Doug Champ, a former environmental review officer for the city of Jamestown, commented that the alliance could have provided more mediation to avoid the political ramifications of herbicide treatments leading to the Chautauqua Institution lawsuit against the town of Ellery and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Champ mentioned not necessarily agreeing with any or all parties involved but suggested a need for in-depth discussion and common ground.

County Executive George Borrello answered Champ’s comments by saying he intends for the county to find that common ground between residents, organizations and agencies and find out what everyone is willing to live with in regards to a sustainable lake. Borrello expressed he does not want to see the pattern of treatments leading to lawsuits that spawn complacency, therefore putting a eutrophic Chautauqua Lake in more perilous situations for future generations.

“Inaction has been the result,” Borrello said.

Borrello wants county government to lead development of a “consensus strategy” and thinks the role of the alliance will be to execute that strategy. He said that a consensus won’t necessarily be unanimous, but it will consider everyone’s perspectives.

“What I see happening now is not just passion; it’s a responsibility for all of us to be better rather than having lawsuits filed, so that we can achieve one goal or another,” Champ said. “It’s important to get the science right.”

In other news, two candidates were selected to fill board vacancies.

Chautauqua Lake Association member Bruce Erickson was selected to fulfill a board member term that lasts until May 2021, and Jay Bailey of the New York State Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation agency was selected to fulfill a term that lasts until May 2019.

“I’m happy to represent our organization,” Bailey said, “and I intend to do my best to fulfill the duties of the office.”

Updates for various water quality improvement projects were also shared.

They include bank stabilization along Dutch Hollow Creek, revitalization of the Goose Creek area and construction of the Celoron breakwall and boardwalk.

“All these projects have been very much a team effort,” said Randall Perry, project manager.