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I am appealing to all LOU members in the Chautauqua Lake area who are against this to, if possible, attend this meeting and spread the word to others to show strong support for our concerned friends against further herbicide treatments.


For those of you who are not aware, there was a group of rich lakefront owners who organized and were able to talk the local town and county legislators into funding and gaining a permit to treat a small portion of Bemus Bay with two herbicides as a so called "research study". They have plans to possibly expand the treatments to lake wide. I have previously posted some more details of this in recent posts to the NY Muskies Inc. topic pinned to the top of the LOU Musky, Tiger Musky & Pike Forum. Before they gain too much steam it is important show support against more herbicides being used in the lake. If we don't, Chautauqua Lake could end up similar to Waneta and Lamoka Lakes. There will most likely be very significant and possibly irreparable damage to all vegetation, fish, bait fish and other life that relies on and resides in the lake.


I just received (and pasted below) a message from Jane Conroe, informing me of a meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature where they will discuss and (I believe) vote on further funding allocated for more herbicide treatment. Jane and others have been diligently working on bringing together other individuals and groups in support of stopping any further herbicides from being used in the lake and there will be experts and representatives from other concerned groups there who will speak in opposition. There needs to be a good showing of support at this meeting against further treatment.


I have also pasted below, a copy of the "Scientific review" Jane sent to me of the study that was prepared by SOLitude Lake Management and submitted as justification for the Bemus Bay herbicide application permit. By the way SOLitude is the same company who was paid to do the treatment. Conflict of interest? Also the same company that is applying the herbicides in Waneta and Lamoka Lakes.


Email From Jane Conroe

This morning’s paper confirms that per the county executive’s recommendation,  the county legislature will have an opportunity to vote to financially support the herbicide program in Chautauqua Lake.  This is the first opportunity the public will actually have to speak out against the unnecessary use of herbicides in our lake.  This is an all call.

Please come to the Wednesday, July 26 meeting of the County Legislature.  It takes place on the second floor of the Gerace Building in Mayville.  The public portion of the meeting begins at 6:30PM where members of the public are invited to speak about items on the agenda.  This morning’s Post Journal reports that $100,00 (of bed tax dollars) is being recommended by the county executive to be given to the Management Alliance.  Of that,  $10,000

will be given for the herbicide application in Bemus Bay which will be doubled because this is a response to a Chautauqua Region Community Foundation challenge grant of $10,000. 


Know that included with this $10,000, Vince explains that the CLA should also get more money to extend their services longer in the summer.  The CLA has not asked for these additional funds. Vince further explains,  “…a tremendous smell. There were algal blooms. It was a very bad issue.”

The application of herbicides into the lake will not reduce smell or algal blooms.


Please come and bring as many people as you can to show the county government that we DO care about Chautauqua Lake and that we are willing to protect her.  Several  NYSDEC  officials have spoken up and they are waiting for the public to show them that someone really does care.  The clamoring for the use of herbicides has not been challenged by any of us publicly, until now.  There will be people willing to speak, so for those not comfortable doing such, please still come.  The presence of people jamming the hallway to the legislative chambers is a good message that says, “We all love this lake. She, Chautauqua Lake, does not need unnecessary herbicides that kill the native vegetation and do nothing to remove the tremendous small or algal blooms.”


Further, if anyone is interested, I will send you  a copy of the  “Scientific Review of the document, “Aquatic Macrophyte Control at Bemus Bay, Chautauqua Lake        

            June, 2017 Survey Report,” prepared by SOLitude Lake Management”


which Becky Nystrom, Cassandra Brower and myself prepared for the NYSDEC at their request.

It is the proof that the lake management company being used to do this and intended future applications should not be working in our lake.   


Please come,



Scientific Review


TO: Mr. Paul McKeown, Supervisor, Regional Natural Resources, NYSDEC Region 9

FROM: Jane Conroe, Rebecca Nystrom, and Cassandra Brower

RE: Scientific Review of the document, “Aquatic Macrophyte Control at Bemus Bay, Chautauqua Lake

June, 2017 Survey Report,” prepared by SOLitude Lake Management


DATE: July 14, 2017


This letter is to inform the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation of concerns we have with data and its analysis in the document, the Aquatic Macrophyte Control at Bemus Bay, Chautauqua Lake. For purposes here, it will be called the “Survey Report.” As two of the scientific reviewers of the recently completed Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS) and a staff member of the Soil and Water Conservation District, we believe this review of the Survey Report is important to the future of Chautauqua Lake as well as the future use of the MMS.

The MMS has been reported to be a guiding document for the permit application of 2,4-D and Endothall in Bemus Bay. The MMS states on page 8-9, “Currently, NYSDEC permits the use of 2,4-D only for management of emergent plants.” It further states on page 8-10, “The use of 2,4-D is not recommended for the management of rooted macrophytes in Chautauqua Lake since its use in New York State is limited to emergent macrophytes. It may be appropriate for treating new infestations of water chestnut or other invasive species if deemed necessary.” The MMS clearly states the intended use for 2,4-D, yet this permitted action placed over 4800 pounds of 2,4-D into the water where no emergent plants were present.

When reviewing the survey methodology, the abundance/density scale that was used for the rake tosses was developed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and modified by Cornell University. This scale was developed to estimate overall plant abundance. However, the modifications done by Cornell University were apparently not used by Solitude based on the descriptive information on p. 2 of their report. The Cornell modifications changed T, Trace to “a small handful or less”; S, Sparse to “two hands full” and M, Medium to “an arm full.” When the modified scale is used, correlations of these somewhat qualitative observations correlate very well to more labor-intensive dry-weight biomass measurements. This inconsistency makes comparison to other data sets difficult, if not impossible.

Using the non-modified scale, plant density symbols were then assigned at each sample site and reported in the chart labeled, Aquatic Vegetation Survey. The scale is meant to be used to rate the Overall Aquatic Plant Abundance, which is listed in the sixth column of that chart. According to the methodology, this was also used to determine relative density of each species which is traditionally done as an estimated percentage of the entire rake. This subjective, letter-labeling of individual species density makes comparison to other rake tosses impossible, especially to the post-treatment samples that are to be taken at the same locations. It should also be pointed out that protocol for sampling is two rakes tosses and only one was done.

We have concerns regarding the classification of the two target species, Eurasian water milfoil and Curly-leaf pondweed as “dense” abundance at the same GPS point. This occurred at five points where the consultant classified the rake toss as “dense-difficult to bring into boat”, but then also classified both species as “dense” within that one rake toss. Three of those five sites also had additional plant species present. We cannot visualize how, for example, Site 23 has an Overall Plant Abundance of dense, and then milfoil is labeled as dense, along with dense for curly leaf pondweed, moderate for common waterweed, and sparse for coontail. How can one rake toss bring back a rake that was so full of milfoil that it was difficult to bring into the boat, and that same rake was also so full of pondweed that it was difficult to bring into the boat and then that rake also had a rake-full amount of common waterweed and a handful of coontail? Additionally, this use of the classification method can skew data to indicate a greater abundance of these “dense” locations on one species when they are cohabitated with other species. The lack of using percentages of the different species per rake-full creates further doubt of the accuracy of the classifications, No plant-Dense, of all of the data points placed on the individual species maps.

The calculations for percentage of aquatic macrophyte abundance in Table 1 also appear to be misleading. The percentage of sites was not divided by the total number of sample sites (205), but instead only by the total number of sites where that specific plant species was found. This can lead to misleading data portraying a greater coverage of a plant species across the whole sample area. For example, based on the data in Table 1 of the Survey Report, only 25.8% of all sites sampled in the Bay indicate medium to dense growth of Eurasian watermilfoil, an identified species of concern generating the need for herbicide application. The table figures add up to 34%. For the other species of concern, curly-leaf pondweed, only 20.9% of all sites sampled in the Bay indicate medium to dense growth. The table indicates 45%. On Page 3 of the Survey Report, the Results/Discussion state “At the time of the survey (May 24-25, 2017), Eurasian milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed were documented at 75% and 46% of the surveyed data points, respectively.” These stated percentages are correct but misleading. Milfoil was found at 75% of the 205 sites with 152 of those sites having no plants, sparse or trace amounts of plants

In analyzing the maps, the majority of the “dense” classifications for the two invasive species fall in the same location on the North side of the bay. When overlaid with the herbicide application areas, a common reference location is the small peninsula that extends from the shoreline into the bay on the north side. It would have been convenient if the map generator could have kept a consistent scale between maps. This would be another aid in the comparison to post-treatment data. It appears however, that the areas of dense recordings are only on the fringe of the actual herbicide application area. If this is true, it leads to the question of using the zones to determine the treatment vs. control areas. The zones in the MMS were delineated because of differences in their characteristics. When designing an experiment with controls, different treatments should be applied to the same subject, in this case zone, so that the differences in treatments cause the change, not the original existing conditions. This fundamental flaw in the existing testing conditions again throws doubt on the comparison to the post-treatment data.

In this process, we believe that proper identification of the entire plant community is critical. Three native species were likely misidentified in the Survey Report. Potamogeton richardsonii  likely is Potamogeton praelongus, Najas flexilis  likely is Najas guadalupensis, and Potamogeton foliosus likely is Potamogeton pusillus.

The Survey Report states, “The goal of the management program is to reduce and prevent the further spread of exotic-invasives Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed from the existing infestations throughout the lake.” The data presented in this survey doesn’t correlate that there is a high or even medium density that could be considered an “infestation” of the target species, except in one area on the north side of the Bay. The Survey Report also states, “The foci of the survey were to document current plant conditions and sediment depths…” The sediment depths are reported however the purpose for accumulating those is not clearly stated or analyzed. Additionally, vocabulary that includes “likely contributing factors” and “higher … than expected” should not be included in the conclusion of such a report.

Thank you for this opportunity to bring these observations to your attention.



Jane Conroe, retired science educator, NYS CSLAP volunteer and Member of MMS Technical Review Committee

Rebecca Nystrom, Professor of Biology and Member of MMS Technical Review Committee

Cassandra Brower, District Technician for the Chautauqua Soil and Water Conservation District



Edited by muskiedreams
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26 minutes ago, zach said:

I didnt have 45 mins to read all that but i do know they have been using chemicals on Chautauqua since 1930s. I was also told it already was treated n this effort is too late.


Sent from my SM-G900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app







It was just a small area treated in June. That is only the beginning. If an effort against it isn't made now, it may only be a matter of time until they are putting chemicals in the entire lake. The company that is advising and doing the treatments makes more money that way.

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In the first sentence I wrote I am asking people in the area to show up at the meeting. Or I guess if they want to drive there it is up to them. I don't expect anyone to drive a long distance to go there for a 1/2 to 1 hr public portion of the meeting.


Here are names and addresses of county officials and DEC officials people can write to to let them know their opinions on the issue. Actual snail mail letters will have the most impact. Especially letters from groups, even fishing clubs or individuals from out of state who frequent the lake. If you go there or write, please do so with respect.


Chautauqua County Executive:

County Executive Vince Horrigan

Gerace Office Building

3 North Erie Street

Mayville, NY 14757


Chautauqua County Legislator:

Mr. Pierre Chagnon

Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance

201 West Third Street, Suite 115

Jamestown, NY 14701

NYSDEC Region 9 Office
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 851-7200


Regional Director
Abby Snyder

Buffalo  address above
Phone: (716) 851-7201
Fax: (716) 851-7211


Regional Permits Administrator
David Denk

Buffalo  address  above
Phone: (716) 851-7165
Fax: (716) 851-7168


Regional Natural Resources Supervisor

Paul McKeown 

182 East Union Street, Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706
(716) 372-0645
Fax: (716) 372-2113

Edited by muskiedreams
grammar and added this sentence. If you go there or write, please do so with respect.
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We have covered this here before. I warned about what was done to Lime Lake in the summer of 2002 here~


Attending meetings and making a public show of force/solidarity is all well and good but the situation demands a more proactive response. It is blatantly obvious that the herbicide company and landowners association don't play by the rules and have no respect for the law. Unfortunately they enjoy free rein while the state looks the other way in complicity. We are a society of laws and that is not the way things should be but an awful lot of money is being thrown around here with plenty of palms being greased with a wink and a nod and that is where the rubber hits the road, rules and public interest be damned. I have lived in New York my whole life and in my 50 years I have come to learn this is not the exeption where politics are involved in this state it is the unwritten rule and business as usual. This land owners association will get there way unless they are met with sufficient resistance. This chemical company is there coaching them every step of the way and they play dirty. DOCUMENT THEM. Attending meetings is fine but video their actions in the field. Get boats out there and bear witness to their actions. If the permits say such and such volume applied in such and such area on such and such dates BE THERE DOCUMENTING EVERYTHING THEY DO.


Remember my warning, they play dirty. Expect them to break the rules so make sure you record them being in violation.

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There was a strong attendance at the Chautauqua County Legislature meeting last night of people in opposition to herbicide treatment on the lake. There were some key speakers who sited compelling reasons not to allow herbicide treatment on the lake. The legislature voted unanimously to not allow public money to be used for any herbicide treatment on the lake. More work still needs to be done.


An effort is now being organized to get the County Legislature to consider passing a bill to prohibit herbicide usage in the lake or possibly any lake in the county until a comprehensive scientific study can be completed, including Federal, State and local scientists and affected groups ans associations.


There has also been a meeting planed on Thursday, Aug 10th at 6:30pm at the Chautauqua Lake Fisherman’s Association headquarters in Celoron, NY. Below is an exert from an email from Jane Conroe who has been instrumental in this effort.


Our work now begins.  We were given the task by Legislator George Borello tonight to be ready to continue educating  and spreading the correct scientific word about healthy ecosystems. The agenda for this meeting in August  will be mainly to divide up some tasks with you choosing the  one or two   you would like.   Much of our message will be educational but I think there will be minimally  science research, artwork,  and displays needed.  But mainly, think about the message, or messages.  A public relations firm (gratis for now) from Buffalo has been helping us and  will see if they feel the need to be at this meeting.  I even asked a song writer if he could inspire a message through music.

Edited by muskiedreams
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