Where Is The Support For Chautauqua Lake?

Control of excess weed growth and algal blooms has been, and will continue to be, critical for recreational use and aesthetics of Chautauqua Lake, and for the economics of Chautauqua County, but temporary weed control measures like harvesting and herbicide application will never solve the problem. Weed harvesting and herbicide application may well be part of a comprehensive management plan for Chautauqua Lake and the Chautauqua Lake Watershed, but such a plan must be scientifically investigated, implemented, managed, underwritten and discussed in well publicized and open forums, with the outsourced portions competitively bid to protect our lake under the auspices of Chautauqua County — not by an independent municipality. The time is now for considered discussion of all impacts to our lake including: enhanced zoning to reduce erosion, control of chemical lawn care products, implementing “best practice” road maintenance, and establishing dedicated line item lake management funding.

We must seek reasonable balances and insightful, responsible and respectful discussion on the topic of preserving Chautauqua Lake. As a county, we must make choices, difficult choices-far more contentious than harvesting or poisoning our lake’s weeds. The question is, do we collectively have the will to protect and preserve Chautauqua Lake for ourselves, our children, and theirs?

Were an industry to approach Chautauqua County with a proposal for a business which would supply an additional 25 percent to the county’s tax revenue and employ hundreds, our politicians and residents collectively would jump through each and every hoop, and involve every town, county, state and Federal government entity to pave the way for success of that business. So, where is that support for Chautauqua Lake which contributes that percentage of our taxes?

When the tourism bubble bursts because of the deteriorating condition of Chautauqua Lake and our town and Chautauqua County property taxes increase dramatically, will we wish we had done more? Today’s millennials do not have the allegiance to Chautauqua of their predecessors. They have the money and the ability to seek out the best vacation spots and nicest second homes for their families, but pea green may not be their favorite color!

Fletcher E. Ward is a Bemus Point resident.

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