U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, has secured commitment from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to unlock $54,000 in federal money to combat Eurasian milfoil and water chestnut in Chautauqua Lake.
Schumer had already secured federal funding in 2007 for the study and treatment of the milfoil invasion in Chautauqua Lake, but Schumer said Wednesday the Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to direct remaining money toward the development of Chautauqua County's Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan. Schumer's push for federal cooperation will allow for the plan to chart a clear path forward to combat Eurasian milfoil and the recently found water chestnut in Chautauqua Lake. The agreement to unleash remaining federal funds is the first of its kind for the Army Corps of Engineers. Schumer said the agreement could open new doors to additional funding to combat milfoil and water chestnut in the county.
"The federal government's commitment to help Chautauqua County officials gain access to vital funds and chart a clear path forward to combat the invasive species in Chautauqua Lake is an important step in protecting the property values, tourism, and beauty surrounding the lake," Schumer said. "The first-of-its-kind partnership between Chautauqua County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers illustrates the federal government's commitment to help the County sink the Eurasian milfoil and newly-discovered water chestnut, which threaten to repel boaters, swimmers, anglers, and tourists who come to enjoy Chautauqua Lake. I am glad to announce that the federal government's agreement to allocate $54,000 to chart a plan to eradicate and prevent the presence of these invasive species could open the floodgates to additional funding and federal cooperation down the road."
Schumer has now helped secure $127,000 in federal funding to identify the issues facing Chautauqua Lake and how best to combat them. Schumer had urged USACE to work closely with the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission and other local officials to ensure that those findings from previously funded studies are used adequately and effectively, and that the remaining aquatic plant control funds be used in the most flexible and effective manner in further fighting the Eurasian milfoil.
"USACE funding is crucial to the development and future implementation of the submerged aquatic vegetation management plant for Chautauqua Lake,'' said Jeff Diers, Chautauqua Lake watershed coordinator. "It is even more critical to receive these funds, in-light of the recent discovery of the invasive water chestnut in Chautauqua Lake."
After months of negotiations the Army Corps has finally signed an agreement that will allow the remaining funds to be used in the manner the county had hoped.
"I want to thank Senator Schumer for his tireless efforts to push this project forward. This is further evidence that with clarity of purpose and active partnership important work can be done for the people we are elected to serve. Funding like this is vital to our continued efforts to preserve and maintain Chautauqua Lake, and will allow us to become the model for all of the Northeastern U.S. on how to fight against Eurasian milfoil, the newly found water chestnut and other invasive species," said County Executive Greg Edwards.