Mayville says no to DEC permit to spray for weeds

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Frank Nicotra, standing, discusses the option of having Mayville apply for a permit for herbicides. The village board decided against seeking a permit.

MAYVILLE — Village officials are not giving the Chautauqua Lake Partnership permission to apply for a permit on their behalf to spray for weeds.

During the Mayville Village Board meeting, Frank Nicotra with the CLP was in attendance and said their organization was applying for permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation for a number of municipalities on Chautauqua Lake to treat for milfoil.

“We have helped around the entire lake with nutrient monitoring, we’ve helped for treatment with invasive weeds, we’ve done a number of things, hopefully to make lake water conditions as good as they can possibly be,” he said Tuesday. “We are currently in the process of trying to establish the herbicide permitting for this spring. Unfortunately timing-wise, we have to get permission to request in this week.”

Nicotra said if the village does apply and is granted a permit, they are not required to use the treatment. By not applying, he said, means the village can’t consider such an option. He also said there is no cost to apply.

Nicotra said North Carolina State University has done a study which shows weeds are getting worse in a 100-acre section in the lake by Mayville. He said the village could, if it chooses, spray for a 20 acre section, as a test.

Trustee Bill Ward was the most outspoken against applying for a permit. “I’m going tell you right now, if you’re asking for us to apply for a permit by tomorrow, it’s a hard pass,” he said.

Ward especially did not want to apply without hearing from Chautauqua Institution, which gets its drinking water from the lake. Mayville uses wells as its source of water.

Mayor Rick Syper said he invited officials from Chautauqua Institution to Tuesday’s village board meeting, but no one from there was in attendance.

Nicotra did not attend this month’s Chautauqua Town Board meeting and the town board did not discuss the CLP applying for a permit on their behalf.

Both Chautauqua Institution and a Chautauqua town water district get their water from the lake. “We’ve always voted against herbicides because of our water districts,” said Chautauqua Councilman Tom Carlson, who was in attendance at the village board meeting.

Trustee Dan Roush said he would prefer to hear from neighboring municipalities and the Institution before applying for the permit.

Trustee Mark Perry noted that weeds have been a problem in the lake since the late 1800s and early 1900s. “What we’re doing isn’t working,” he said.

While not necessarily endorsing herbicides, Perry said the village needs to be open to different solutions. “I’ve worked with the Lake Association for years and it’s a great repopulator of the weeds,” he said.

Ward noted there’s a lot of groups working on the lake, looking for solutions. “We have perhaps, the most science ever, working on the lake,” he said, citing the Jefferson Project, which helped improve Lake George.

After the meeting, Syper said because there was no clear consensus from the village board, he said they will not have the CLP apply for a permit on their behalf. “There’s just too many questions,” he said.

The next day, Chautauqua Supervisor Don Emhardt said he is glad the village isn’t seeking a permit, noting they oppose it in the town. “It sounds like he (Nicotra) is trying to do an end run around the town,” he said.


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