‘Hopeful’

Chautauqua Institution Signs Lake Agreement

Chautauqua Institution President Michael Hill poses on Thursday with Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, moments after Hill signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy on Chautauqua Institution’s behalf. Submitted photo

CHAUTAUQUA — Chautauqua Institution has signed on to the Memorandum of Agreement for the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy.

The agreement was introduced by Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello on March 27.

The memo seeks to bring together lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake, so they can more effectively work together to manage invasive aquatic plants and nuisance native vegetation while being considerate of the lake and its watershed’s economic, recreational and ecological significance.

Chautauqua Institution President Michael Hill signed the memo on Chautauqua Institution’s behalf.

“I proudly signed this memorandum on behalf of Chautauqua Institution because it represents the comprehensive and scientifically sound approach for Chautauqua Lake conservation that we’ve been advocating for many years,” Hill said. “We are hopeful that all other agencies and municipalities will join us in signing the MOA and supporting this incredibly important strategy.

“We thank County Executive Borrello for his resolute leadership on this crucial issue. While Chautauqua Lake faces many challenges, we’re confident that with an independently sourced, science-based comprehensive approach and the support and leadership of a consensus of stakeholders, we will save and preserve Chautauqua Lake as the source of so much of our livelihood in Chautauqua County.”

The consensus strategy was developed through a collaboration of the County Executive’s Office, Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development, representatives from the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the consulting firm Ecology and Environment.

The firm met with key lake stakeholders to discuss their most pressing issues and concerns surrounding the management of weeds and harmful algal blooms in Chautauqua Lake.

The deadline for organizations and municipalities to sign on to the memo is April 17.

As part of the information-gathering phase for the consensus strategy, Hill and Chautauqua Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations John Shedd accompanied Borrello and several other county officials and leaders on an October trip to Lake George, New York, to learn about a successful model for lake conservation. In five years, Lake George stakeholders have united behind a consensus strategy that uses sound, validated science to spur decisions, which have improved the health and water quality of a lake with challenges similar to Chautauqua Lake.

“It was an honor to share the Lake George experience with our county neighbors and leaders, with such a sense of shared urgency for saving Chautauqua Lake,” Hill said. “It was invigorating and affirming to see such disparate Lake George stakeholders creating and basing actions upon a foundation of universally accepted, sound science. I know that kind of approach can work for Chautauqua Lake. And I firmly believe that, through this consensus strategy and the collaborative efforts that it will foster, that we will create sustainable solutions to the issues affecting Chautauqua Lake.”

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