Stronger Lake Management Would End Lake Groups’ Lobbying

It sounds as if some Mayville Village Board members are tired of hearing a yearly appeal from the Chautauqua Lake Partnership to use herbicides in the Mayville area of Chautauqua Lake.

We’re sure the converse is true as well, with areas in the southern area of the lake hearing pitches for mechanical harvesting despite their preferred approach to use herbicides where allowed by the state DEC.

Such lobbying is allowed under the Chautauqua Lake Memorandum of Understanding adopted in 2021 and renewed in 2023. That agreement calls for lake groups to work together, but exactly what that means is ill-defined other than an attempt to keep those who sign on to the MOU from suing each other in court.

Bill Ward, Mayville Village Board member, made an interesting point during the last Mayville Village Board meeting. Ward said he believes the CLP shouldn’t be allowed to lobby for herbicide use because they’re a member of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, and some of the organization’s members oppose herbicides. We couldn’t disagree more with Ward on that point. Local government meetings are open to any member of the public with a point to make. Boards can do what they wish with that information, but community groups have a right to be heard. Herbicide proponents and those who prefer a non-chemical approach to dealing with invasive weeds in Chautauqua Lake both have the right to approach communities around the lake to support their efforts.

Some of the lobbying, however, would go away with a stronger form of lake management that includes a yearly lake management plan – with decisions made by one person or group rather than multiple competing organizations. If the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance or a lake manager were to make decisions about the best areas to use mechanical harvesting and herbicides, then the yearly lobbying that is rubbing some local elected officials the wrong way would end.

The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance has done a good job of securing outside grant money and of bringing together around one table groups with differing, and often opposing, views of what’s best for Chautauqua Lake. But that collaborative approach often means the alliance tries to leave member agencies to their own devices.

A stronger approach to lake management – either through the alliance or a hired manager – that uses lake organizations as contract agencies to carry out a, science-driven plan would be a change for the better, in our opinion.


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