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MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) — This week, an advisory group tasked with developing solutions to help manage Chautauqua Lake’s health is expected to announce plans for a new taxing district for those living along the body of water.
On Thursday, the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency is set to review recommendations to fund lake protection efforts, which includes forming a new tax for those living in the lake’s watershed. Some stakeholders say the suggested tax isn’t the way to go.
Jill Ryan, Executive Director of Freshwater Future, leads a group dedicated to helping communities across the great lakes region deal with water issues.
“We just think that there should be pause until there are clear goals,“ explained Jill Ryan, Executive Director of Freshwater Future. “Until all of the materials are pulled together from past studies, and there’s a clear long-term path.”
Even now, it is unclear what the taxes collected would specifically fund.
“There have been so many studies, over decades actually,“ stated Ryan. “Right now we’re not seeing any information that would tell us, what will the money be used for specifically.”
Currently environmental cleanup efforts, like the lake weed harvesting, is considered short term relief. Ryan says for a more permanent solution, more must be done.
“On the shoreline you can put in natural plants and not cut grass down to the shoreline,“ explained Ryan. “You can reduce use of fertilizer, both at the shoreline and up in the watershed. You can increase wetlands that are able to filter out the nutrients that are becoming a problem.”
Weeds are not the only problem on the lake either.
“There’s so much nutrients coming into the lake that we’re having these harmful algae blooms that are actually toxic,“ stated Ryan. “And so, we’re not clear that there’s any plan up for those.”
The agency is slated to review research and make a recommendation on the new taxing district and tax fund to Chautauqua County’s Legislature this Thursday January 19, at 5 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.
The public is invited to attend and provide their comment on the proposal.
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