County Executive Unveils Memorandum of Agreement for Chautauqua Lake Consensus Strategy

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Borrello ceremoniously signs the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy Memorandum of Agreement on behalf of Chautauqua County.

Article Contributed by
Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello recently unveiled the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy. The agreement brings together lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake, so they can more effectively work together to manage invasive aquatic plants, nuisance native vegetation, and hazardous algal blooms on the lake while being considerate of man’s uses and the environment.

“There are many agencies and stakeholders around Chautauqua Lake that are committed to improving the quality and usability of the lake,” said Borrello. “The differences of opinion regarding how this should be done have resulted in a contentious environment where little forward progress can be made. This consensus strategy will help bring everyone together as we work toward our common goals of addressing and controlling the weeds in Chautauqua Lake while protecting its ecology.”

The consensus strategy was developed through a collaboration of the County Executive’s Office, Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Development, representatives from the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), and the consulting firm, Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E). E&E, which is headquartered in Lancaster, N.Y., facilitated three meetings earlier this year, where it met with key lake stakeholders to discuss their key issues and concerns surrounding the management of weeds in Chautauqua Lake. These stakeholders included representatives from the Chautauqua Fishing Alliance, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Lake Association, Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association, Chautauqua Lake Partnership, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Town of Busti, Town of Chautauqua, Town of Ellery, Town of Ellicott, Town of North Harmony, Village of Celoron, and Village of Lakewood. Other input, which was also considered in the development of the MOA, was communicated to the county executive during informal meetings and in written form.

“Working closely with E&E, we were able to identify essential issues and concerns of the primary stakeholders associated with weed management in Chautauqua Lake,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development. “With this input, we identified key topics, as well as consensus positions for each of these themes, which are important to these stakeholders. These essentially became the 24 tenets of the strategy’s MOA, which will help guide future weed management initiatives.”

“We are very grateful for County Executive Borrello taking the initiative to develop a consensus strategy for the management of macrophytes in Chautauqua Lake,” said Pierre Chagnon, County Legislator and Chair of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. “His excellent leadership in seeking consensus and developing the strategy was essential in accomplishing this historic undertaking.”

Borrello has already signed the MOA on behalf of Chautauqua County, and the agreement is currently being circulated to the key lake groups and municipalities for their review and signatures.

“This strategy is important to the future health of Chautauqua Lake and to the economic future of Chautauqua County,” said Borrello. “I strongly encourage our major stakeholders to support and participate in this agreement.”

A copy of the MOA is available on the County Executive’s website at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/186/County-Executive.

For more information about the Chautauqua Lake Management Consensus Strategy/ Memorandum of Agreement, contact the Chautauqua County Executive’s Office at (716) 753-4211.