LAKEWOOD - Due to the abundance of nuisance aquatic plant growth in 2012, the Chautauqua Lake Association was in need to regain control in Chautauqua Lake.
Thanks to members, foundation support and promised additional funding from county and state agencies, the agency hired additional employees, launched additional equipment and worked overtime to manage the increasing infestation and beautify Chautauqua Lake.
No other entity, public or private, exists to perform the necessary in-lake maintenance that Chautauqua Lake requires.
"Though we are in transition right now, we understand the needs of the community and are setting goals to provide for those needs in the future. We continue to look into ways of restoring past funding levels. This includes: increasing our fundraising efforts, utilizing volunteer programs, and we are exploring a shoreline clean-up crew that could be available for hire on an hourly basis in 2013," said Heather Nolan, Chautauqua Lake Association finance manager.
More than 15.6 million pounds of nuisance vegetation and debris was removed from Chautauqua Lake during the short season, a 50 percent increase from 2011. The increased removal is attributed to emergency funding provided by New York state, Chautauqua County and continued support by local foundations and association members. The association maintained three crews for nine weeks working 10 hours a day. This was represented by six harvesters, four shoreline barges, three transporters, three conveyors and six trucks working to meet the needs of Chautauqua Lake. Volunteers from Cummins Engine donated 748 hours and the state Welfareto-Work Program provided 1,498 hours on barge and shoreline clean-up crews. This totaled 2,200 hours of volunteer time contributed to the needs of Chautauqua Lake.
Paul Swanson, Chautauqua Lake Association general manager, coordinated the Joint Neighborhood Partnership, which provided weekly weed removal for lakefront owners in several areas around the lake. Crews were available by truck on Tuesdays and Fridays to collect and remove piled debris in designated areas after residents cleaned their shorelines. The CLA hopes to expand the program in 2013.
The CLA has a new Internet address, chautauqualakeassociation.org, and the site will be receiving a re-design in 2013. Online donation and e-newsletter sign-ups will be available. The website and Facebook page have updated harvest reports, location of weed removal crews and links about fundraising activities, invasive species, state postings and the Department of Health postings for blue green algae reports.
The CLA participated in a community seminar at Chautauqua Institution called "Water Matters." The presentation was sponsored by Chautauqua Institution. Robert Johnson, an ecologist from Racine-Johnson Ecologists, exhibited live aquariums of herbivores and lake vegetation. He also displayed a variety of shoreline plants, showing how they can be used to filter out nutrients going into the lake that nourish the weeds.
Private foundations continued their support of the association in 2012. The Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation provided $40,000 toward annual lake maintenance. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation contributed $20,000 with an additional $10,000 matching grant. The Johnson Foundation and the Lenna Foundation both made a contribution of $10,000 toward annual operations, and the Holmberg Foundation donated $8,000 to continued scientific studies. The Rotary Club of Jamestown added $5,000 to the association to help with shoreline clean-up.
Douglas Conroe will serve as the 2013 CLA president. Craig Butler was elected as first vice president, and Paul O. Stage as second. The board expressed its gratitude to Chris Yates, retiring president, for the efforts he gave to CLA business in 2012.