State Can Do More To Tell People An Herbicide Application Is Coming
The application of herbicides on Chautauqua Lake came and went this year with hardly anyone knowing.
Notices were posted on the Ellicott, Bemus Point and Lakewood websites, signs were posted near the lake and notices sent to the required area property owners. Other than that, though, the Solitude Lake Management boats slipped into and out of the water like any other boater who visits Chautauqua Lake in the early summer.
While it’s been our opinion for quite some time that herbicide treatments should be part of the toolkit on Chautauqua Lake precisely because they are safe if applied correctly and within DEC-approved quantities. We do think some additional public notice is warranted.
The state DEC sends news releases on any number of matters each week. This week alone, the DEC has felt the need to alert us here in Jamestown that a boat ramp was completed in Verona in Oneida County, that DEC forest rangers are responding to Canadian wildfires and that DEC officers responded to a number of incidents statewide — though none within hour’s drive of Chautauqua County. The DEC even made sure to send out a notice about the 10th annual Invasive Species Awareness Week that began Monday, but there was no need for the Buffalo office of the DEC to send out notice that herbicides were being used on Chautauqua Lake.
It’s important to note the lack of large-scale public notice isn’t illegal. No one did anything wrong. Local towns and villages followed the procedure prescribed by law.
And that’s just the point.
The law, in our view, is inadequate. There should be a public notice requirement for municipalities that are applying herbicides that goes beyond simply posting the materials on a website or in the town or village hall. And the DEC would do well, before the application occurs, to send out a news release to local media.