Businesses are affected in various ways due to the increase in lake algae News, sports, jobs

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Reported increases in algae and weeds have had inconsistent effects on various boating businesses on Chauqua Lake.

Greg Swan, owner of Ready About Sailing, said algae and weed growth in Chauqua Lake has been a growing problem in recent years. “The worst is when blue-green algae form.” he said.

Swann said the level of blue-green algae in the lake is about average this year compared to other years. However, according to the data they have seen, the lake’s algae is increasing and it is affecting the business, he warned.

“When the water is green and smelly, it’s not very inviting.” he said. It is a hindrance to the use of the lake by boaters.

Swann said part of the problem with controlling the lake’s condition is the different approaches taken by different lake conservation groups. He cautioned those responsible for taking care of the lake to take decisions based on science.

The Chattauqua Marina experienced a successful summer of boating. The marina credits its beautiful summer weather for a strong summer yachting season. On the other hand, Ready About Sailing says the increase in algae and weeds in Chautauqua Lake is causing problems for other boating businesses. Submitted photos

According to Swann, the abundance of algae and weeds indicates that the lake is rich in nutrients.

“When we mass-apply herbicides without really relying on science, what it does is feed more algae.” he said.“Weeds are a growing problem, and it’s not getting better every year.”

One of the main reasons for solving the lake’s problems, Swan says, is the lack of a sustainable source of funding. Currently, the district has a limited source of funds that must be renewed annually, he said.

Because of unsustainable funding, Swann believes conservation and maintenance agencies cannot plan adequately each year because they compete with each other for resources and are unsure how much money will be available for the lake from year to year.

“We need a sustainable source of funding for the lake.” he said. “Part of that problem is the competing interests among groups trying to solve these problems. There is generally not enough collaboration, and this leads to underfunding of methods that could do so much good for us.

Swann said he supports the Chauqua Lake Conservation and Restoration Agency’s goal of raising revenue to implement measures to improve the lake’s water quality. He emphasized the importance of the organization using scientific tests, investigations and measurements to determine what kind of work should be done next.

One aspect of lake conservation that Swan believes is important is prevention. He said the county can’t just focus on the current state of the lake. Instead, he suggested that the district should take measures such as working in the watershed and improving the conditions upstream from the lake.

“Prevention must be considered in everything we do.” he said. “We can’t just think about this year; We need to think about the next decades and generations down the road and how we can prevent this excess material from causing weeds and algae growth. In my experience, a dollar spent on protection is worth ten in cleaning.

While Swann’s comments indicate concern for the state of the lake, Chauqua Marina owner Deborah Clementi said her business has not been affected and that other parts of the lake have benefited from various improvement projects in the past.

Clementi said this year’s boating season was successful because the weather was perfect for sailing on Chauqua Lake.

“Our business depends on the weather.” She said. “It’s been a great winter. We worked hard, but we enjoyed it.”

While they have heard reports of algae and weed growth in other areas of the lake, Clementi said the Chauqua Marina has not had any problems in the marina area.

Clementi said one of the reasons Chauqua Marina hasn’t had similar problems with the lake is the amount of work the business has done to protect the surrounding lake area and prevent runoff and erosion.

“We’re lucky we didn’t see anything near the beach.” She said. “I know it’s been widely reported. We hope that the lake organizations are doing their job and improving every year and creating a clean and healthy lake for us.

Chattauqua Marina installed a seeded basin about 15 years ago to prevent harmful materials from entering the lake when people clean or work on their boats at the marina.

Clementi explained that the business tries to do everything it can to promote a clean lake and protect wildlife.

Over the past two decades, Chauqua Marina has completed projects that Clementi believes have had a significant impact on water quality.

“We had a project 10 years ago where we rebuilt 750 feet of the waterfront with boulders and then planted 750 feet of native plants to stop erosion and runoff.” She said. “We hope to have another project next year near the creek, so the lake organizations are doing everything we can to protect the lake. We’ve done a lot in the last 15 years. It’s going to take a long time; we’re not going to clean this lake in two weeks. It’s taken years to get to where it is. We know that much.”

Clementi said lake conservation and maintenance organizations are constantly working with Chautauqua Lake on a variety of issues. She said the Chautauqua Lake Association is working to remove overgrown weeds, maintain the Chautauqua Watershed and eliminate runoff, and the region has more interest in special lake projects.

“It’s really become an issue and a lot of people are aware of it.” She said. Hopefully the more people who know, the more people with homes and businesses around the lake will take the steps they need to take to move this forward.

Clementi said the Chautauqua Marina has not publicly expressed any positive or negative comments about the Chautauqua Lake Conservation and Restoration Agency. She explained that the business hasn’t had time to fully study CLPRA’s proposals over the summer months, but is aware of the agency.

While Chattauqua Marina did not have a critical opinion, Clementi said Marina was willing to do it. “What must be done?” To improve and maintain Chautauqua Lake.

“Whatever needs to be done, we’re willing to move forward as a business and do it.” She said.

Clementi also demonstrated the Chauquaqua Marina’s commitment to improving the lake by recently helping raise funds for the Chauquaqua Reservoir Conservation Fund.


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