Chautauqua Lake Could Use Additional Funding

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been used for several projects in Chautauqua County over the past few years.

Several projects totaling about $382,000 have been used to implement Farm Bill programs for habitat and wildlife protection; reducing ag nonpoint source loading; and terrestrial invasive species control. Another $400,000 has been used on projects in Chautauqua Creek, Slippery Rock Creek, the Dunkirk area and Canadaway Creek. While all are good projects, we wonder if Cayuga Lake provides a good example of ways to use the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to greater effect.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced last week that the Environmental Protection Agency will award $900,000 of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to the Great Lakes Institute at Hobart and Williams Smith College to fight invasive threats, including $598,960 in funding to help control and eradicate the recently discovered Hydrilla infestation in Cayuga Lake. Additionally, in June Schumer announced $400,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to apply herbicide to Cayuga Lake.

Local officials have spent years beating back the European water chestnut, most notably from the Audubon Community Nature Center’s Big Pond, and now are dealing with massive outbreaks of harmful algal blooms. Finding funding to deal with such issues has been daunting. As plans are made to improve Chautauqua Lake, perhaps local officials need to have Schumer on speed dial with a copy of the Cayuga Lake news release. Surely Chautauqua Lake is as important to Chautauqua County as Cayuga Lake is to the Ithaca region.