Lake rally to be hosted at Village Casino

BEMUS POINT — The Chautauqua Lake Partnership will be hosting a Chautauqua Lake Rally at the Village Casino on Saturday from 9-11 a.m.

As part of their initiative to effectively manage the lake, the CLP will be collecting the opinions of concerned residents and anyone who wishes to attend. Coffee and pastries will be provided in the upstairs meeting space of the casino.

Jim Wehrfritz, CLP vice president, considers the meeting a learning experience for year-round and seasonal residents of the lake.

Many subjects will be discussed at the rally, including the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that returned herbicide treatment of invasive non-native weeds to Chautauqua Lake; the granting of permits to Ellery, North Harmony, Busti, Ellicott and Celoron for herbicide treatment of 191 acres; the lack of funding that led to the application of only 81 acres on the lake; and how treatment has affected residents’ use of the lake for recreation.

Plans have already begun to support herbicide treatments for 2019. How Burtis Bay and other communities are mobilizing to influence municipal, county and state governments to support and fund herbicide treatment will be discussed.

The CLP will also be elaborating on Department of Environmental Conservation-protocol weed surveys scheduled for the fall. Both weed type and density will be determined throughout 3,000 acres of the lake’s littoral zones.

A reaction to the lawsuit from the Chautauqua Institution against the town of Ellery and DEC will also be provided. Optimal weed management for 2019 will be discussed, including CLP efforts to encourage the Chautauqua Lake Association to use a $20,000 Sheldon Foundation grant to plan a joint weed management program.

“If you really want to manage the weed issue, you have to utilize both (weed harvesting and herbicide treatment),” Wehrfritz said.

Wehrfritz mentioned this rally is one of four hosted over the past couple years, including those hosted during past holiday weekends. He said 75 to 100 people attended the last rally at the casino, and he expects more to show up this time.

A question and answer session will be hosted after the presentations at the rally. Donations will be accepted and will be utilized for a total of eight projects the CLP has planned. They have worked with SUNY Buffalo Regional Institute on a lake water quality study to understand the economic impact for a weed-free lake.

“All the money we get goes to the lake,” Wehrfritz said.