Lake Groups Shouldn’t Bite The Hand That’s Helping Them

Chautauqua County residents should be overjoyed that Chautauqua Lake has been included as one of 12 lakes statewide that will see the the state’s attention as part of a four-point, $65 million initiative to combat harmful algal blooms.

Chautauqua Lake is such a large driver of property taxes and tourism dollars that closing beaches and having people staying out of the water when algal blooms surface is catastrophic for important segments of the local economy. The last thing anyone needs is lakefront property owners selling their properties or people shying away from shiny new lakefront hotels.

The first thing that will happen, from February through May, is a study of Chautauqua Lake and then a plan to deal with the algal blooms. We hope existing plans and strategies are taken into consideration, but we are intrigued by the range of outside eyes that may be looking at Chautauqua Lake for the first time.

Cuomo’s initiative will bring together leading researchers from across the nation, including experts from Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Vermont, as well as the SUNY College of Environmental Science nad Forestry, the SUNY Stony Brook Center for Clean Water Technology and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. It will be interesting to see if those experts confirm what is in existing studies and strategies or if they move in entirely different directions.

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this effort, however, is a blueprint that we hope will be followed by the myriad of organizations working on Chautauqua Lake. As we saw earlier this year with the decree that none of a $100,000 emergency allocation from Chautauqua County to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance be used for herbicide treatments, infighting and disagreements among those who care about Chautauqua Lake are alive and well.

Now is not the time for politics and histrionics. New York state has offered a helping hand to help restore Chautauqua Lake to its past glory.

It would behoove the groups that will be using the state’s money not to bite that helping hand.