As one of the most fished lakes in New York — and a recreational hub for Chautauquans — Chautauqua Lake has seen its fair share of use. But when blue and green sludge-like goop coated the lake’s surface at the tail-end of each season for the past few years, officials prohibited Chautauquans from swimming and setting sail.
Chautauqua Lake is lucky to live in a region that recognizes its value. According to Dave McCoy, the Chautauqua County Watershed coordinator, Chautauqua County is the only county in the state to use two-thirds of its occupancy tax for tourism and one-third specifically to protect lakes and waterways.
For several years, Chautauqua County, the Institution, local civic and tourist development boards, and various lake conservation groups and coalitions have been struggling against the rising tide of weeds, pollution and the seemingly inexorable death march of Chautauqua Lake.
After 39 years of teaching kindergarten and college students, Dave Anderson was ready to grab his tackle box, hang a “Gone Fishin’” sign on his door and spend some quality time on the creek.
Products and lifestyles that claim to be all-natural or organic have exploded in popularity, stretching from the healthiest foods to the softest clothing and the most earthy way to build a house. The claim that living “au naturel” is all-around healthier and less destructive than using manufactured goods and practices has been applied to virtually every facet of American modern life.
At 12:15 p.m. in the Garden Room of the Athenaeum Hotel, the 2014 BTG Life Member Luncheon will honor Addie Mae Smith Wilkes and the building she donated to her favorite Chautauqua club.
The Chautauqua Lake Association is a nonprofit that works 13 weeks a year to maintain the health and productivity of the lake. Monday night, members convened for the organization’s annual meeting.
The declining health of Chautauqua Lake has received more attention recently, as government reports detail the deterioration of the lake quality and physical manifestations of the lake’s ill state continue to appear more frequently.
For Chautauquans, a leading cause for concern is the blue-green algae infestations at the Institution’s four beaches; public health concerns about the algae have caused Chautauqua’s recreation officials to close the beaches for periods of time in early August for the past several years. [w/ SLIDESHOW]
The Chautauquan Daily reported earlier this month on the discovery in Chautauqua Lake of the highly aggressive, invasive water chestnut plant. It is different than the Chinese restaurant item and is regarded as dangerously insidious. County-led flotillas have been organized on weekends to identify and uproot the invader before it spreads further.
The past three weeks have been good to the Chautauqua Lake Association, and that is good news for Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Lake and Chautauqua Institution.
The Chautauquan Daily reported in late June that the CLA had insufficient funding to keep lake weeds under control this summer. Since then, the association has secured two cash infusions which should help significantly.
First, the CLA has raised $20,000 to secure release from Chautauqua County of an emergency $80,000 grant.
The CLA also got an extra $50,000 from New York State, doubling its 2012 allotment. Altogether, the lake association has received $150,000 in additional funding this month, allowing almost full deployment of its weed cutters and shoreline crews.