Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Poses Threat In 2013

Just like electricity, invasive species follow the path of least resistance.

To ensure the lake stays healthy, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development is asking for the public’s help in stopping the movement of invasive species.

To help the public learn how it can help, a public participation meeting on the Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan for Chautauqua Lake has been scheduled for April 18 from 6-8 p.m. at the Chautauqua Institution Golf Course Club House. All area residents are encouraged to attend.

“The management of Chautauqua Lake proved to be challenging in 2012 due to low water levels and excess nutrients that led to extensive aquatic plant growth and algal blooms,” said Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County watershed coordinator. “Both of (these circumstances) had significantly impacted lake recreational activities.

“The summer of 2012 also held new challenges,” continued Diers, “as water chestnut, a highly invasive aquatic plant, was identified in Chautauqua Lake, further complicating management efforts. Water chestnut was identified near both the Bemus Creek area, and the mouth of the Chadakoin River of Chautauqua Lake.”

Diers stated that invasive aquatic plants such as curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil have been present at nuisance levels in Chautauqua Lake for decades as well.

However, an invasive species of much greater concern, Hydrilla verticullata, was discovered in North Tonawanda Creek, which is less than 80 miles from Chautauqua County. Hydrilla verticullata is considered to be the most noxious invasive aquatic plant in the United States.

The SAVMP will expand upon the techniques to manage the nuisance aquatic vegetation that impairs recreational, environmental and economic resources in Chautauqua Lake.

Once completed, the plan will consider the location and type of the community’s uses, areas of excessive weed growth and where the conflicts between the community’s uses and the weeds occur. It will then identify sensitive areas and will prescribe reasonable and practical management alternatives that are implementable for the control of aquatic vegetation.

Don McCord, Department of Planning and Economic Development senior planner, said that an emergency action plan to prevent invasive species becoming established in the lake is being developed in tandem with the comprehensive and integrated SAVMP.

The plan is currently under development by the CCPED, the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission, Cedar Eden Environmental LLC, EcoLogic LLC, and Pashek Associates.

For more information, contact Diers at diersj@co.chautauqua.ny.us.