BY Jason Emerson
The Cazenovia Town Board in December unanimously approved a resolution to undertake chemical treatment of Eurasian Watermilfoil in Cazenovia Lake this year, and this week the board started the municipal process to move the treatments forward.
In two unanimously approved resolutions, the board stated that the proposed herbicide treatment of the lake may have significant negative environmental effects (a positive declaration) and adopted the scoping document that explains how such potential adverse impacts will be addressed.
This will be the fourth time since 2010 that herbicide treatment of Cazenovia Lake will be undertaken, and these two resolutions were adopted in each previous instance, said Supervisor Bill Zupan.
“What we’re doing is just a repeat of what we’ve done every year,” he said. “It’s just moving forward, going through the steps we have to go through. We should be ready to treat in June.”
The board approved the measures during its Feb. 13 regular monthly meeting.
The board’s positive declaration as part of its environmental quality review means that it will now be required to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential negative environmental impacts of the action. The scoping document provides guidance on issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement and provides an opportunity for early participation by involved agencies and the public in review of the proposed action, according to the document.
According to the scoping document adopted by the board, the chemical treatment could adversely impact water quality, drinking water supply, aquatic plant and animal life, terrestrial vegetation, wetlands and recreational opportunities.
The EPA classifies Renovate as the lowest possible toxicity classification for an herbicide, although it can be harmful to humans and animals.
The Cazenovia Lake treatment will be done by the company SOLitude Lake Management, of Hackettstown, N.J., and will consist of the herbicide Trichlopyr, which has the brand name of Renovate. There will be approximately 250 acres treated by the chemical along the shorelines of nearly the entire lake, at an estimated cost of $300,000.
The Cazenovia Lake Association has committed to pay for a majority of the chemical treatment, with the town contributing $33,000 toward application of the chemicals, as well as between $20,000 and $40,000 for “soft costs” such as buying irrigation water for local farmers who use Chittenango Creek water (fed by the lake), expert fees and legal fees, Zupan said.
After two years without chemical herbicide treatment, the 2016 rake toss study of aquatic plant life in Cazenovia Lake, conducted by Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists, showed a significant increase in the presence of medium and dense milfoil in the past year. While the town’s weed harvesting program last year removed 2,656 tons of invasive milfoil weeds from the lake, the rapid rate of regrowth of the milfoil led the town board to decide to undertake chemical treatment again, Zupan previously said.
To read the environmental impact positive declaration and scoping documents approved by the board, and to see the proposed lake treatment map, visit the town of Cazenovia website at townofcazenovia.org under the “Caz Lake Treatment” tab.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.