Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Lake Association
On Wednesday, June 16, a new lake skimmer was delivered to the Chautauqua Lake Association’s facility in Lakewood. This is the first of two new skimmers to be received as part of Governor Cuomo’s initiative to reduce the occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on priority waterbodies throughout the state.
This grant-funded upgrade to the CLA’s fleet will be instrumental in the effectiveness of summer in-lake operations which include harvesting and near shore cleanup. The new skimmers, built by Alpha Boats Unlimited of Central New York, have special features designed specifically to address HABs and enhance the effectiveness of the CLAs lake maintenance efforts.
“This new equipment will be especially instrumental in increasing our ability to safely collect the HAB scums that appear from time to time along the lake’s shoreline,” said Douglas Conroe, CLA Executive Director. The skimmers can also be utilized to collect floating plant masses that can be found out in open water.
The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance was instrumental in filing the grant application with New York State while Chautauqua County serves as the official owner of the equipment. Due to state program requirements, all equipment must be owned by a local government. Under a long-term renewable lease agreement the CLA will be responsible for all operating costs including staffing, fueling and yearly maintenance of the new skimmers.
The CLA currently has two similar skimmers in use that are harvesters which were converted to be used as skimmers. “With the arrival of these skimmers and hopefully more in the future we will be able to return our current converted skimmers to use as harvesters. For the time being, however, we will continue their use as skimmers and thus have four skimmers in use on Chautauqua Lake in 2021,” said Conroe.
Cuomo’s action plan, which was unveiled during the 2018 State of the State, is a four- point initiative to aggressively combat HABs and protect drinking water quality. This program builds on New York’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act with investments in clean water infrastructure and water quality protection and is one of the most comprehensive HABs outreach and monitoring programs in the country.