Chautauqua Lake with its 42 plus miles of shoreline represents many things to each of us. When thinking of the lake or talking with individuals around the area, you quickly begin to recognize the emotional, passionate bond that each of us attach to its blue waters. Few things posed to a lakefront landowner evoke such an animated discussion as the question, “do you have a weed problem?” The lake is an economic resource of substantial magnitude as well. Inside the “ring” of Routes 430 and 394 there is in excess of 5 Billion Dollars of assessed property valuation, generating tens of millions of dollars in property tax and sales tax revenue. It is the lifeblood of our county’s economic well-being.
From a scientific point our lake is complex beyond imagination. Affected by watershed runoff, nutrient loading, seasonal water temperatures, ice cover, tributary runoff, invasive species, cloud cover, wind, lake levels and millions of years of decayed plant growth on the lake bed floor, it is enough to make your head spin. And each of these factors changes every year – or maybe every day or month, in different degrees, contributing to shall we say “net recreational water quality”.
While the North end of the lake saw relatively pristine waters with heavy weed growth which was managed for most of the summer, the lower basin was problematic and less than desirable in water quality. When the Chautauqua Lake Association cutters came off the lake in the middle of August due to lack of funding, it did not take long for the unchecked weed growth to recover. With recreational boat use and wind, weeds quickly piled into the shore, combining with a late season algae bloom and turned large areas of the shoreline into what would best be described as……a mess.
So the 5 Billion Dollar question is “What can we do?” We, as the Chautauqua Lake Association, need more. More help. More money. As we go forward with our 2017 plans to continue lake maintenance, we are looking to build out initiatives’ around a longer service season, more shoreline cleanup, and dredging opportunities where they can be permitted.
We would ask that you consider increasing your level of support. When the opportunity arises, please voice a request to your local officials to support the Chautauqua Lake Association in substantially larger amounts. Most of all, we would like to express our thanks and humble gratitude for your past support- both individual and corporate, that of the foundations without whose support we would cease to exist, and the governmental agencies that fund and work with us on a day to day basis. Together we can work to solve the 5 billion dollar question.
Please consider an investment in our stewardship of Chautauqua Lake. Your contribution assists us in enhancing the lake and your investment keeps Chautauqua Lake the jewel of this community. I thank you for your consideration and support.
Spend some time browsing through our website. We welcome your input, both here and on our Facebook page.
Paul O. Stage, CFP
President, Chautauqua Lake Association