Busti Town Board Makes Smart Move Approving Swale Project

The Busti Town Board has approved spending $5,000 on stormwater swales throughout the town.

Erin Brickley, executive director of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, told board members strategically placed stormwater swales will act as channels that will store and convey runoff while removing local pollutants. They are designed to promote infiltration where allowable by the soil. The swales should reduce rainwater velocity, allow clean groundwater infiltration and remove pollutants. Shallow gradient swales will be located at 2nd Avenue, Lakeview Avenue, East Summit Avenue and Southwestern Avenue. Steep gradient swales will be retrofitted along Fairwood Drive, Southland Avenue and Shadyside Road. The main difference between the two types of swales lies in their location. Shallow gradient swales will be placed closer to the shore of Chautauqua Lake where water velocity and soil erosion are less severe.

Town board members did the right thing by approving the swale projects. They don’t cost much to install or maintain and should do much to reduce nutrient run-off into the lake. The money should prove to be well spent, but we hope town officials realize it won’t be the last check they will be asked to write for Chautauqua Lake. The levels of impairment facing Chautauqua Lake are too far along for this $5,000 to solve the problem. Hopefully, long-term plans focused on Chautauqua Lake should make funding requests easier to evaluate and perhaps provide towns and villages in the Chautauqua Lake watershed some level of budget certainty each year about what is needed for the lake. We’re sure Busti officials, and many elected officials around the lake, are tired of last-minute emergency requests.

It’s time for a better plan.