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Friday, April 27, 2018

Funding for CLP herbicide treatment up in the air

MAYVILLE — County funds may not be available for the Chautauqua Lake Partnership’s request of $500,000 for herbicide treatments of the lake.
Being in the middle of a budget, legislators are saying it is not that simple.
Jim Cirbus, CLP board president, requested $500,000 when he spoke to county legislators Wednesday evening in Mayville. The funds would be used for herbicide treatments for the removal of invasive weeds in the lake. The process would be permitted and supervised by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and carried out by participating towns and villages surrounding the lake.
Cirbus said the funding is needed by early May. However, since the money was not part of the 2018 budget, an emergency payment would need to be made.
“The CLP and its many supporters want the county to give back some of this property tax revenue to Chautauqua Lake and fund partnership projects similar to the millions funded to other lake organizations over the past years,” Cirbus said Wednesday. “Specifically, your municipalities desperately need funding for 2018 herbicide treatments at this time.”
Cirbus asked several legislators, including Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point; Lisa Vanstrom, R-Jamestown; Jay Gould, R-Ashville; Legislature Chairman PJ Wendel, R-Lakewood; and David Himelein, R-Findley Lake, to sponsor the resolution.
“Now it’s the county’s turn again to ‘take the baton’ back and fund their lakeside municipalities so that together we may all successfully cross the finish line,” Cirbus said.
Vanstrom said the legislators were named because of the geographic region they represent. While she said she supports the CLP’s work, the budget situation is tough at this point.
“We’re in the middle of a budget cycle,” she said. “I do believe we need to use all the tools available to us in the lake, and herbicides are probably underused. However, we already voted on this budget and there is no money in the budget for it.”
She said the county took a hit this year due to the $3.8 million that had to be paid out for juvenile detention that came as a surprise.
“That was a shocker,” Vanstrom said.
Wendel said the timing of the request is problematic. He said the CLP is doing good work, but the funding situation is a difficult one.
“It’s not just an easy draft legislation and hand it over,” Wendel said. “There’s more to it. At this part of the cycle, it’s hard to wrap our heads around anything. Yes, I support it, but it’s a difficult time for our budget.”
The CLP, an all-volunteer nonprofit consisting of about 425 members, has updated a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement first written by the county in 1990. That was part of a Macrophyte Management Strategy, a study which concluded herbicides were acceptable for widespread use in Chautauqua Lake, Cirbus said.
“We appreciate the efforts of previous and current county legislators and executives to return herbicides to Chautauqua Lake’s weed management toolkit after their successful use for over 35 years,” Cirbus said.
The town of Ellery, acting as a lead agency, completed a State Environmental Quality Review as part of the state’s requirements. As a result, herbicide treatment is available in 11 communities, including the towns of Ellery, Ellicott, Busti and North Harmony, as well as villages of Bemus Point and Celoron.
Cirbus said nine permits for herbicide use have been submitted to the DEC. He said the CLP anticipates the permits to be issued in early May, necessitating the emergency funding by the legislature.
“Treatment contracts are being prepared, herbicides are being procured and logistics are being planned for May treatments, which are necessary for optimal weed management and also for minimized impacts,” Cirbus said.

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