ASHVILLE - A plan to control aquatic vegetation in several different sections of Chautauqua Lake is under way.
On Tuesday, an estimated 35 people attended a public meeting at the Ashville Fire Hall to discuss the Chautauqua Lake submerged aquatic vegetation management plan. About a year ago, officials from the county and various Chautauqua Lake organizations started the process of producing the plan. Cedar Eden Environmental was hired to produce the plan that will give guidance in identify lake zones and how each is used and habitat in these sections. Once completed, the plan creates an implementation strategy to manage aquatic plant life in a targeted, economical and reasonable fashion.
Mike Martin, Cedar Eden Environmental president, gave a presentation on the information that has been gathered from past studies and through lake research. Martin said his organization has collected data from past studies done on the lake through the years. He said the study of plant problems in the lake date back to 1875.
The group has also done littoral zone and bathymetric mapping of Chautauqua Lake. The littoral zone is where sunlight can reach the bottom of the lake. It is usually where the majority of aquatic plants grow because they need sunlight to grow. The littoral zone is also important habitat for fish, shorebirds and aquatic invertebrates because the plants give them refuge from predators and there is abundant food available. Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake. Bathymetric charts are designed to present accurate, measurable description and visual presentation of the submerged terrain. The group has also collected information on the lake's watersheds and the types and locations of aquatic plants.
Martin said the plan will develop an integrated zoned implementation program. There will be a treatment plan for each zone in the lake and then a select appropriate control method, with a threshold for each zone, on how to control aquatic vegetation. Each zone's control plan will be based on factors such as lake use or environmental sensitivity. The plan develops a long-term management strategy for each zone that evaluates existing and future aquatic plant conflicts and uses varying levels of management based upon defined criteria.
''The submerged aquatic vegetation management plan is an action plant meant to be implemented,'' he said.
Martin is also asking for the public's help. People can visit the company's website at www.cedareden.com/chautauqua_lake to fill out a survey and detail where they fish, swim, launch boats, observe nature and canoe or kayak in the lake. Also, there will be more public meetings in the future. The second meeting is not scheduled at this time.