On Saturday, Oct. 20, several Chautauqua Lake area lake and watershed officials attended the Western New York Annual Regional Workshop of the New York State Federation of Lake Associations at Moonwinks Restaurant in Cuba, to get an update on activities on regional water bodies. County watershed coordinator Jeffrey Diers, Chautauqua Lake Association's first vice president Douglas Conroe, CWC conservationist Jane Conroe, CWC Board president Linda Barber, CWC Board director Samantha Vanstrom, and CWC executive director John Jablonski III and NYSFOLA board of directors attended.
Lake scientist Robert Johnson reported on Hydrilla eradication efforts in Cayuga Lake and Cayuga Lake Inlet. This very troublesome plant was first identified in Cayuga Inlet in the city of Ithaca, last summer. It may grow at a rapid pace of up to 1 foot per day and in waters up to 27-feet deep. Control efforts in Cayuga Inlet began late last summer and were ramped up full scale through the summer of 2012. Aquathol K and fluridone were utilized in eradication efforts. Fluridone was continuously injected into the inlet through the summer in an attempt to kill all Hydrilla plants. Only one living Hydrilla plant was found at the mouth of the inlet in the lake at the end of the summer. The cost of this 2012 control program was $400,000. Although the chemical treatments appeared to be successful for 2012, monitoring will need to take place to search for additional plants for several years. For an informative fact sheet on Hydrilla and more information on the outbreak at the Cayuga Inlet, go to: ccetompkins.org/environment/invasive-species/hydrilla.
Donald Zelazny, Great Lakes coordinator of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, reported that Hydrilla was also discovered this summer at multiple locations in the Tonawanda Creek-Barge Canal System in Tonawanda. There is a serious concern that boaters or birds could transport living fragments of this plant species from one of these bodies of water to lakes in Chautauqua County.
Hydrilla is shown congesting the Cayuga Lake Inlet in August 2011.
Photo by Robert L. Johnson
Greg Sargis from The Nature Conservancy reported on a Great Lakes grant-funded program to monitor waters near boat launches across western and central New York for new outbreaks of invasive aquatic species. It was noted that big head and snake head carp, as well as Hydrilla, are also spreading north and east toward Western New York in the Ohio River system.
Miranda Reid, Conesus Lake Watershed manager, reported on the Conesus Lake Watershed Council's Invasive Species Management Plan and watershed programs. She noted that six towns, two villages and Livingston County (which comprise the lake's watershed) fund a watershed manager in the county planning department and a full-time watershed inspector in the county health department. One of the primary goals of their program is to prevent the spread of new invasive species into Conesus Lake. They have launched an aggressive public education campaign, giving presentations to numerous sportsmen's clubs and community groups. They are in the process of training voluntary boat launch stewards to monitor boats being launched at Conesus Lake.
The need to establish and maintain rigorous aquatic plant monitoring programs and the need to be prepared to act quickly to identify and control new outbreaks of exotic invasive plant species was highlighted throughout the day. Controlling plants such as Hydrilla, once established at multiple sites, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and become cost-prohibitive. Chautauqua County is currently developing a submerged aquatic vegetation plan, which is anticipated to prescribe treatments to eradicate new infestations of invasive plants such as Hydrilla and water chestnut. It is scheduled for completion next spring.
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a private nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands and watersheds of the Chautauqua region. To sign up for e-news updates, find out more information on watershed care or support CWC's conservation activities, visit www.chautauquawatershed.org or call 664-2166.