Aug 27, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
More than 50 members of the Cazenovia Lake Association turned out last week to hear an update on the health of Cazenovia Lake at the association’s annual meeting, including information on current lake health studies, invasive species issues, storm runoff retention programs, boater safety and the preliminary plan for chemical treatments of the lake in 2014.
“The format for tonight is straightforward — it’s just a discussion,” said CLA President Bob Greiner at the start of the 56th annual CLA meeting on Aug. 19. “The topic is lake health. This year we also turned a lot of attention and finances to boater safety.”
Town Councilor Liz Moran — who is also a CLA board member and a water quality specialist who runs an environmental consulting firm — began with a presentation about the health of Cazenovia Lake.
She said that while phosphorous is a naturally occurring element in water bodies, Cazenovia Lake seems to contain high levels, which may also be contributing to the recent blue-green algae blooms confirmed in the lake by the state department of environmental conservation. Because of this, the town is about to embark on a phosphorous study of the lake in conjunction with SUNY ESF, which will assign two graduate students to do the work.
Moran said the town is also taking a unique approach by “looking underground” at springs and wells to see how much phosphorous may be entering the lake from those sources as well. The town will soon ask willing lakefront residents to volunteer to have a monitor on their property to be used by the graduate students to draw water and study the phosphorous amounts during the two-year study.
“We’re hoping t get a good representation from around the lake on this to draw some good inferences from it,” she said.
Town Councilor Bill Zupan then gave an update on the town’s new benthic mat program, which leases benthic barrier mats to lakefront residents to help prevent plant and invasive species growth near personal docks. The program “got off to a slow start” but caught on “fairly well” with 13 property owners renting mats this year, Zupan said. The town will continue the program next year and residents who participated this year will get first option to lease mats in 2014, he said.
Zupan said the town is also looking into the option of the town moving mats around the lake bottom for program participants rather than have the mats stay in one spot all summer, which is expected to make the mats more effective by covering a broader area.
The town’s stormwater management efforts also got off to a slow start this year with remediation efforts done on only one of the nine runoff streams that enter the lake. Each stream, worked on by Madison County Soil and Water Department, gets a total remediation design system to limit the amount of silt that enters the lake, but needs the approval of any landowner whose property the stream is on, Zupan said.
In an effort to further limit runoff from roads into the lake, the town also plans this winter to switch from sand to salt road treatments during the winter months, which is hoped to make a “big difference” in the silt intake of the lake, he said.
Cazenovia Village Police Chief Michael Hayes also updated the members on the status of the lake boat patrol that switched from county sheriff’s department management to a cooperative management by the village, town and CLA.
When the sheriff’s office could no longer man the patrol, the CLA got permission from the sheriff to take possession of the boat. The village, which was the only one of the three to have its own law enforcement agency, agreed to man the patrol with village police officers and do all the related management work, the town provided support and $3,000 for operating costs and the CLA provided $5,000 and the boat and all its accoutrements. The Willow Bank Yacht Club agreed to dock the boat in one of its slips.
Hayes said the patrol is primarily for safety and educational purposes, although it is also there for enforcement when and if necessary. He said the patrols have spoken with numerous boaters, informed and education them of safety violations, but has not yet written one ticket.
Hayes said the patrols have so far been very positively received by boaters, and most people don’t know their actions are impractical or unsafe. He also encouraged anyone with suggestions, concerns or complaints to contact him.
“I have an open door policy,” he said. “So please let me know [your thoughts]. If we don’t know, we can’t fix it.”
Hayes also said he is writing a grant proposal in January to apply for state navigation funding that will, if approved, pay for the cost of the boat patrols.
Greiner then closed the meeting with an update on 2014 plans for resuming chemical treatments of the lake using Renovate weed killer. No chemical treatments were used this year, and many members of the audience voiced their concerns that the weeds seem more out of control this summer than in recent years. Greiner said the CLA plans to do its annual weed assessment and draw up a treatment plan for next year, and probably will treat an area of around 400 acres of lake — which was the size of the original Renovate treatment back in 2008-09.
Any future chemical treatments must first be approved by the state DEC and then funded by the CLA. He expects a 400-acre treatment to cost about $400,000, which will be funded by the village, town, CLA and community donations. Greiner said the CLA will keep the community abreast of future treatment plans and funding needs.
More information on the Cazenovia Lake Association can be found online at cazlake.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.