CLA Signs Chautauqua County Executive’s Memorandum of Agreement

On behalf of the Chautauqua Lake Association board of directors, President Paul O. Stage signed a memorandum of agreement Friday that Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello proposed to lake-management organizations and municipalities.

“The CLA feels the MOA is a net win for the lake, and that’s been our focus all along, as it has been for our 66 years,” said Stage. “We want to thank County Executive Borrello for his leadership and efforts to bring everyone together for the good of the lake and its surrounding residents. We do believe that if everyone adheres to the concepts, and spirit, of this agreement, the lake will benefit from our collaboration.”

The CLA earlier joined 10 non-profit groups in signing a separate conservation statement. Along with signing this agreement, there is now a strong consensus on how Chautauqua Lake should be managed, based on scientific study and evidence, along with third-party evaluation.

“We are collaborating also with governments by signing the county’s MOA, and expressing our willingness to work toward improved governmental collaboration with lake groups,” said CLA Executive Director Douglas Conroe. “We will continue to operate based on what we have learned about good lake management and we welcome government’s involvement, as we always have, and will incorporate such into our operations as appropriate. It is always a delicate balance serving both political and environmental interests.”

CLA officials noted that the organization has a strong history of working with the county, and especially looks forward to independent third-party analysis of lake-management approaches and actions as a part of its being transparent in implementing CLA undertakings.

“We remain realistic, however, about funding levels playing the key role in how much and what lake-management efforts can be initiated and completed in five months of each year,” Conroe added. “We are encouraged by the county executive’s belief that the MOA will result in increased funding to address the lake’s problems, which is so important to achieving lake maintenance goals. We look forward the county’s stepping up to the plate to aggressively secure the necessary funding.”

As the CLA works to refine plans for its 2019 programs and continues to solicit funding from private donors, businesses and municipalities for the summer work ahead, the organization’s leaders are confident in its approach. But the issue becomes one of scale and extent. The whole lake’s health is the CLA’s highest concern.

“Questions remain, as this agreement came to fruition fairly rapidly,” said Conroe. “But we are confident that all parties will follow the collaborative spirit of the engagement with a constant eye on what’s best for the lake. Putting third-party evaluation into the mix and basing everyone’s efforts on the intent of the county’s Macrophyte Management Strategy are aspects of lake management the CLA has long championed, and will continue to champion.”

More at The Post-Journal here: http://www.post-journal.com/news/local-news/2019/04/association-conservancy-sign-lake-agreement/