CHAUTAUQUA LAKE – Chautauqua County’s Executive says, whether crews cut or kill the weeds in Chautauqua Lake, harmful algal blooms will likely persist.
George Borrello said, because the lake is eutrophic, it is high in nutrients, and man-made runoff flows into the body of water. The weed issue is, then, exacerbated.
“We are going to continue to focus on treating the disease that Chautauqua Lake has, that’s the high nutrient flow, instead of trying to just manage the symptoms,” said Borrello. “It is a 13,000-acre lake. Yes, there may be some spots that become unusable at times, but there is plenty of Chautauqua Lake to enjoy.”
In March, the county unveiled a new lake weed control strategy.
“For the first time in history, we have people working together solely for the betterment of Chautauqua Lake,” said Borrello. “I am proud to have been the quarterback of that situation but it was not me alone. It was all the stakeholders willing to sit down, sign the memorandum of agreement, and truly get something done.”
The agreement, which includes 24 tenets, allows agencies and municipalities around the lake to work together to tackle the weed problem head on without fear of lawsuit.
“When you truly sit down with people and analyze what it is they are concerned about, what I found was there was a lot more we agreed on than we disagreed on,” explained Borrello. “We just tried to really highlight those things we agreed on.”
Last month, two beaches in the county were closed due to harmful algal blooms.
The blooms are created when blue-green algae release toxins which can be harmful to human and animal health. They are likely to pop up in areas near the shore rather than open water areas.
Heath officials advise residents to use caution when entering the water where an active bloom is present. Young children and pets are especially at rick of getting sick by the blooms.