Dredging Could Cost More Than $7 Million

ASHVILLE – Dredging Chautauqua Lake to remove sediment is a feasible solution, but could cost between $7 million and $9 million, according to EcoLogic, LLC.

A public information session concerning the Chautauqua Lake Dredging Feasibility Study was held on Thursday at the Ashville BOCES. At the session, a review of the technical feasibility, costs, environmental risks and benefits, and permitting issues associated with sediment dredging in selected areas of Chautauqua Lake was discussed.

Liz Moran, Steve Eidt and Linda Wagenet, all representatives of EcoLogic, LLC, led the discussion, with Moran opening the session.

The focus of the session was mostly on the priority areas for dredging, the costs of dredging and the different methods of dredging, as well as why one type of dredging might be practical for a single spot on the lake, but not the lake as a whole.

“The priority areas are just places where excessive sedimentation currently does impede recreational use,” said Moran. “We determined these areas through our field investigations, but also through what residents had to say on our online survey.”

Areas in the lake which were identified as priority areas include: Bemus Creek, Burtis Bay, Dutch Hollow Creek, Goose Creek and Mud Creek.

Once EcoLogic identified the mentioned areas as priority areas, it then researched to determine estimated sediment volumes from the areas, which allowed the firm to better understand what dredging techniques would work best for the area, as well as determine an estimated cost for dredging each individual area.

Following, Eidt took the floor from Moran, and discussed the costs of dredging, as well as the effectiveness of mechanical dredging as compared to hydraulic dredging.

“An issue with mechanical dredging is that it creates turbidity,” said Eidt. “It causes a lot of problems with the fisheries and microbiotic organisms. Hydraulic creates much less turbidity, but removes far more water than mechanical dredging. About 90 percent of what is taken out with hydraulic dredging is water.”

Additionally, mechanical dredging leaves an uneven lake surface, which could cause boaters to damage their boats if they were to hit a bump caused by dredging.

Following a discussion of types of dredging, Eidt broke down an estimated cost of dredging each priority area. The numbers Eidt gave were admittedly high, as a precaution, and if more than one location were to be dredged at the same time, it would reduce costs of transportation, which were estimated for each location individually.

The estimated cost of dredging each area was listed as followed: Bemus Creek, $1,384,000; Burtis Bay, $3,970,000; Dutch Hollow Creek, $525,000; Goose Creek, $1,777,000; Mud Creek, $1,321,000.

Eidt explained that the high cost of dredging Burtis Bay is a result of traces of arsenic which have been found in the bay. Since the water will need to be treated and the sediment will need to be taken to the Ellery Landfill, extra costs will be incurred.

Finally, Wagenet took the floor to help moderate questions once the lecture part of the session was completed.

To learn more about the Chautauqua Lake Dredging Project, visit www.ecologicllc.com/chautauqua-implementation.html.