Lake Groups: Herbicide Treatments Successful

According to just about everyone involved with last week’s herbicide applications on Chautauqua Lake, they were a success in more ways than one.

Sunny weather and moderate wind speeds cooperated with SOLitude Lake Management’s plan to treat the 400-plus acres of lake waters funded by various organizations and permitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“You just work until you can’t work anymore,” said Glenn Sullivan, Chautauqua Lake project manager from SOLitude, as he described the work his crews put in last week in order to minimize the impact on those who use the lake. “It was a long process. We want to get it done as quickly as we can.”

SOLitude crews worked 13-hour shifts May 15-17 in order to treat Lakewood, Celoron, North Harmony, Ellicott and Ellery lake waters with herbicides Aquathol K and Navigate. Last year, Sullivan worked to develop the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, a document that supported June 2018 applications. This year, about four times as many acres were treated with chemicals, something Sullivan said 99% of people he encountered on the lake last week were thankful for.

“That’s what we typically see during this kind of work,” Sullivan said. “People were overwhelmingly supportive.”

Mechanically, both herbicides were released below the surface of the water, even though they aren’t the same state of matter. Aquathol K, intended to kill invasive curly-leaf pondweed, was injected as a liquid agent. Sullivan said it’s dispersed below the surface to best avoid problems associated with wind drift.

Navigate, intended to kill invasive Eurasian watermilfoil, is solid and granular. The chemical is stuck to a clay pellet that sinks and disintegrates to disperse the herbicide. GPS on SOLitude boats ensured crews were using the appropriate chemicals in permitted areas.

Sullivan labeled this year’s treatments as “a more broad-based effort,” due to what he called better cooperation with the DEC and increased input from municipal governments.

“I think the job went extremely well this year,” he said.

Follow-up sampling is planned for Memorial Day. Crews will be investigating whether treated waters are fit for drinking once the summer season commences. Lake water must have less than 50 parts per billion of either herbicide to be potable.

Chautauqua County has also contracted Princeton Hydro to conduct third-party monitoring of the treatments. The company has already begun this and will continue to analyze waters in order to understand the effects these herbicides have, whether they’re desired or not.

“I’m glad the county was able to work with SOLitude Lake Management and fund the independent monitoring with Princeton Hydro,” County Executive George Borrello said.

He added that the two entities have worked together on other lakes before, and Sullivan agreed that having extra monitoring work in conjunction with treatments is a “best practices” style of lake management.

“I think (treatments) went really well,” said Dave McCoy, county watershed coordinator. “I hope it pays dividends for a great summer on Chautauqua Lake.”

Town leaders echoed that sentiment and expressed that so much extra work was needed this year so that lake maintenance processes could become more streamlined and efficient for the future. North Harmony Town Supervisor Robert Yates said there were “no hitches” with the applications themselves and that governments worked together for the lake’s interest more than ever before.

He also added that nine additional acres were treated in Bly Bay thanks to residents’ donations.

Lakewood Deputy Mayor Ted McCague said he was very pleased to have 100% of permitted village waters treated this year. He thanked local foundations, the town of Busti, county government and Chautauqua Lake Partnership for assistance in funding the applications.

McCague also expressed satisfaction that treatments occurred before Memorial Day this year. He said he thinks the process of getting waters treated will be more efficient in future years.

“I think (treatments) went great,” added Randy Holcomb, Lakewood trustee. “It was done without much issue.”

Follow Eric Zavinski at twitter.com/EZavinski

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