We have a major weed problem in Chautauqua Lake and it has only gotten worse over the past few years. We have a home on the great lake which has been in the family since 1930. I have been coming here for over 60 years and have never ever seen the lake in such a deplorable condition. The week problem was so bad that a number of homeowners on the lake could not put t heir boats in front of their own homes and I am one of them. People that rent their homes around the lake are losing money, as well as the state, because of t he condition of the lake. Everyone is being affected by this problem including all different types of businesses, etc.
There are a few things that got me. One was when they were talking last summer on the news that Hoyt Lake in Buffalo had $250,000-plus allocated so they could clean up that lake. How much does this lake bring in for the state in tax money. Homeowners on the lake pay high taxes and we cannot swim or fish in front of our homes because of the weeds.
I also found out that the state cut off funding for Chautauqua Lake for the past two years, but they gave both Findley Lake and Bear Lake some funding. Chautauqua Lake Association used to have 54 workers and a number of week cutters for cleaning the lake but now have to work with only 11 workers and only a couple of harvesters. There have been a number of articles in The Post-Journal about this problem and still nothing gets done.
All the homeowners and people that use this great lake hear the same thing over and over again that they are going to do another survey. We, the people around Chautauqua Lake, would like to know how many more surveys are gong to be done and how much money will be spent and yet we still have no answers. Since 2007 there has been enough spent on surveys. I am sure that everyone knows that you cannot kill the weeds by cutting them - that is only going to let them grow more. Years ago t hey used to spray for the weeds and everyone stayed out of the lake for a week.
There has to be something we can do to clean up Lake Chautauqua. You can't safely swim in it and boating is hard because you get so tangled in weeds. The seaweed and slime trap garbage, dead fish and it's so bad ducks can walk across it. The tourists don't want to come because of the pollution and the fisherman who used to like to fish here are leaving because of too many weeds. They are sick of catching seaweed.
Unless the lake receives a healthy portion of the funding, its appeal as a pristine tourist destination would be harmed and surrounding property values could plummet. Chautauqua lake deserves a fighting chance against these relentless weeds that threaten property values, undermine tourism and create havoc among boaters and anglers.
Chautauqua Lake is the gem of Chautauqua and we need to be doing everything we can to keep it clean, safe and beautiful.
Let us get together and save this great Chautauqua Lake now before it is too late. If we do not clean this lake, we are going to be living near a big mud puddle full of weeds.
Charles Thurber is a resident of Lyndhurst, N.J. and a part-time resident of Ashville.