Feb 19, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Cazenovia Town Board took steps at its latest monthly meeting to prepare the way for potential use of chemical treatment and weed harvesting of Cazenovia Lake this year in its continuing battle against milfoil weeds.
The board’s actions are part of its “overall integrated long-term control strategy” against invasive species in the lake that go beyond just chemical treatments to include multiple control techniques — a strategy that town board members hope will show great promise by the end of this year’s treatment period.
“I think we’re doing the right thing,” said Councilor Tom Driscoll. “There must be an integrated approach.”
Eurasian milfoil, an invasive plant that grows in dense stands that often reach the water’s surface and create floating mats of vegetation that hinder swimming and boating, has been spreading through Cazenovia Lake for years. It has been battled by the town through the use of the chemical herbicide Renovate (triclopyr) in 2009, 2010 and 2012. No chemical treatment was applied to the lake last year due to the cost and the shortened timetable to submit permit applications to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The results of a 2013 Cazenovia Lake aquatic plant survey, released in January, showed that milfoil more than doubled in the number of locations where it was found from 2012 to 2013, and one-third of all the milfoil in the lake were medium to dense in abundance. These results, coming after a year of no chemical treatment, contributed to the town board’s decision to address the issue of lake health and treatment during 2014 in a new way.
Instead of fighting the invasive weeds only with chemicals, the board decided to take a more “holistic approach” to the work that will include weed harvesting, benthic mats, possible biological solutions (introducing animals such as moths and weevils into the lake to eat the milfoil) and a continued focus on rainwater run-off mitigation in addition to use of Renovate, said Town Supervisor Bill Zupan.
The board’s actions at its Feb. 10 meeting started the approval process for chemical treatment of up to 269 acres of the lake, first by adopting a positive declaration for the State Environmental Quality Review of the proposed Renovate treatments. The positive declaration means that the board has determined that chemical treatment “may have a significant impact on the environment,” and that the town will prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for the treatments.
“We’ve done this every year,” said Town Attorney John Langey of the SEQR.
The board then approved a proposal to adopt a draft scoping document, which “frames the issues we will focus on in the environmental impact statement,” Langey said.
The resolution states that the scoping document will describe the potential action to be taken — in this case, chemical herbicide treatment of the lake — the potential significant adverse impacts, the environmental analyses of existing conditions and potential impacts and reasonable alternatives to be considered.
The board has approved this scoping document in past years as well, but the addition of the section on alternatives was new this year in response to the town’s new integrated approach to invasive species treatment, said Councilor Liz Moran.
“Previously, we’d just say, ‘No, that’s not a good idea’ [for alternative treatments]. I think going through this process will be helpful to all of us,” Moran said.
“Yes, we’re not either/or anymore,” agreed Councilor Pat Race.
In addition to the chemical treatment and SEQR issues, Zupan announced that the town received bids from two companies for the town’s potential purchase of an aquatic weed harvester and shore conveyor to use for milfoil treatment. The town received the bids that day, Feb. 10, but Zupan felt there was not enough time for the board to review the bids and vote on whether to approve a bid award that evening, so the board agreed to schedule a special meeting for 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 17, to award the bid.
Driscoll, the board’s liaison to the Cazenovia Lake Association, said that during the most recent CLA meeting he informed the association members of the town board’s intention to take an integrated approach to fighting milfoil and not to rely solely on herbicide treatments as was done in years past. He said the feedback was “some positive, some negative.”
Driscoll also informed the board that since he is generally reluctant to purchase large pieces of equipment for the town — such as the proposed weed harvester — and also concerned about timely delivery of purchased items, he contacted Madison County Planning Board Director Scott Ingmire and came up with a “Plan B.”
Driscoll said Ingmire agreed to allow the town to use the county’s weed harvester for three weeks during the summer at a cost of $31 per hour. Driscoll said he estimated this plan would cost the town about $3,800 to do the weed harvesting work, rather than the approximately $40,000 it would cost to purchase a weed harvester.
“I don’t mean to be skeptical but … at least we have a back-up plan now,” he said. “Scott is willing to help us with this; I think we’ve got a partner.”
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Approved a request from the Cazenovia Rowing Club to use a portion of Gypsy Bay Park for the 2014 season with conditions. This is the same approval the board gives the club every year, Zupan said.
—Appointed David Webster to fill the unexpired Board of Assessment Review term of Nancy Dady, ending Dec. 31, 2015.
—Heard from Councilor Kristi Andersen that there is a vacancy on the Cazenovia Advisory Conservation Commission and any town residents interested in applying to fill the seat are encouraged to do so. Applicants can contact the town office at 655-9213.
—Heard from Andersen and Langey that they have been working on a town noise ordinance and special events permit for large gatherings and they hope to have the draft language to the board soon for consideration.
—Authorized the town supervisor to execute an undertaking instead of a surety bond with the New York State Department of Transportation for when the town must undertake work in DOT rights-of-way. The town authorizes this action every year, Zupan said.
—Approved the use of Ridge Road, Glenwood Road and Preston Road in the town for the annual July 4 Foot Race this year.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.