The NYS Federation of Lake Associations recently held its annual conference at the White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton, New York. 208 persons attended representing over 70 lake associations from throughout the state, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation the US Environmental Protection Agency and academic institutions. Attending from the Chautauqua Lake Association were Executive Director Douglas Conroe, Manager of Finance and Community Relations Heather Nolan and Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer Jane Conroe.
Conference work sessions encompassed topics including emerging aquatic invasive species, lake ecology, lake water quality monitoring, septic system management, new state regulations and understanding algal blooms. Data generated from the Chautauqua Lake Association’s Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring Program was highlighted by state officials to demonstrate algal bloom performance.
CLA attendees participated in a day long Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Leadership Training Session which dealt with the many aspects of operating a voluntary watercraft inspection program and which included recommendations on how to train inspectors. The CLA has received a state grant to enable it to start-up a voluntary inspection program on Chautauqua Lake. Twenty-eight inspection programs exist statewide in state parks along with many other programs throughout the Adirondack Park and the Finger Lakes. The inspection program is intended to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species including plants such as water chestnut and hydrilla, fish such as big head carp and northern snakehead or critters such as the rusty crayfish and quagga mussels.
Lake association executive director Douglas Conroe commented that “The conference afforded us a wonderful opportunity to interact with other watercraft stewards, lake associations’ officers and public officials. We brought home new ideas and were able to share our experiences with others. We also had excellent conversations with lake science experts about topics that are relevant to Chautauqua Lake.”
The CLA was a founding member of the federation in 1983 and has been actively involved since then in addition to being involved with the Western New York Chapter of the federation. 2017 will be the thirtieth year that Association will have participated in the federation’s Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program that monitors lake water quality parameters. The federation’s mission is “to protect the water resources of New York State by assisting local organizations and individuals through public dialogue, education, information exchange and collaborative efforts.”