DEC Approves Limited Use Of Herbicides For Bemus Bay

BEMUS POINT — Beginning on Monday, three zones in Bemus Bay identified in a macrophyte management strategy report will be treated with DEC-approved herbicides.

On Saturday morning, members of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership and the public gathered at the Village Casino in Bemus Point to discuss what is in store for Bemus Bay in the near future.

The three zones, two of which are located near the top of Lakeside Drive and the other closer to the village, falls short of the six total zones the CLP had sought to treat.

“We actually tried very hard to get six zones involved with this project — the whole bay,” said Dr. Jim Cirbus, CLP president. “That was a dealbreaker for the DEC, so unfortunately we had to settle for three zones. But still, that’s 65 percent of the bay, and that’s all we’re going to get. Unfortunately, some of the people that have supported us throughout this are not going to get treatment right in front of (their) homes. But hopefully there will be more ways to manage that going forward. I apologize we couldn’t get the whole bay done, but we did the best we could.”

In his explanation of what the CLP hopes to achieve through herbicidal treatment of the Bemus Bay target zones, Jim Wehrfritz, CLP vice president, emphasized that there will be no “spraying” of weeds taking place. Two different herbicides will be used, one of which is granular and will be deposited into the target zones, while the other will be applied underwater.

Wehrfritz also explained the future expectations for weed management in Bemus Bay following treatment next week, as well as the limitations of only gaining DEC approval this late in the season rather than when curly leaf pondweed began growing.

“We’re one-and-a-half months later with this than the optimal timeline,” Wehrfritz said. “The first permit application we submitted was for herbicide treatment in early May, which would have taken care of the curly leaf pondweed at a time before it dropped its seed pods — so we don’t have optimal timing with what we’re doing.”

Wehrfritz went on to explain that the DEC has also limited herbicide application to 200 feet from the shoreline, as opposed to the 250 feet for which the CLP originally asked. Consequently, Wehrfritz admitted that at his house, the weed bed goes out as far as 500 feet.

With regard to expectations for the future, Wehrfritz and the CLP spoke about how herbicidal treatment of Bemus Bay could prove beneficial to weed management in the future.

“For (Eurasian Milfoil) in 2017, we should see the existing weeds die and go to the bottom (of the lake),” Wehrfritz said. “In 2018, (the milfoil) is not expected to return unless parts of the area get reseeded by fragments that come in from somewhere else. Milfoil propagates by fragmentation, so if you cut the top off and don’t pick it up, it could float somewhere else and start a new plant. We should (be well managed) with milfoil in 2018, but we will see.

“Curly Leaf Pondweed is a different situation,” Wehrfritz continued. “Most of it is already dead, but the remainder will be killed in 2017. In 2018 and 2019, we will need to do spot treatments because of the late treatment this year. It’s important to get the (Curly Leaf Pondweed) before it drops its seed pods, and for most of the lake, that has already occurred.”

Potential hindrances to lake use during the treatment was also addressed, such as when it will be safe to resume lake activities following herbicide application. For almost all instances, the answer to that question was that treated zones would be safe again for human use 24 hours after treatment.

Near the conclusion of the meeting, emphasis was made to ensure that the treatment of the three zones in Bemus Bay is not a one-and-done situation. If treatment of the bay is successful, the CLP plans to continue its efforts with the hopes of clearing the entire lake of Eurasian Milfoil and Curly Leaf Pondweed.

“The rest of the year is all going to depend on how our data collection project goes,” Cirbus said. “If they are positive, we will move forward. We have a lot of other things to do. … There’s a lot more going forward, and we want to extend our successful endeavors to the entire lake.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today