Chautauqua Lake Association to Host NYSDEC / ARMY CORPS Innovative HAB Mitigation Demonstration Project

LAKEWOOD, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is collaborating with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to implement a demonstration project that will remove algae from Chautauqua Lake. 

Chautauqua Lake is burdened with excess algae which then results in the presence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). It is anticipated that the project will result in having the availability of an additional tool for mitigating the presence HABs.  The firm AECOM has been contracted to manage the demonstration project. AECOM has also been piloting similar demonstration projects at Lake Agawam in New York and at sites in Florida.

AECOM has selected the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) facility in Lakewood to serve as the host site for the demonstration project. The facility is situated on the shoreline of the lake’s south basin. The south basin experiences the greatest prevalence of HABs.

AECOM equipment will be arriving this week with in-lake operations scheduled to commence August 24.

CLA Executive Director Douglas Conroe commented that, “We welcome having the opportunity to assist with this innovative project. It fits perfectly into our role of investigating and performing multi-faceted adaptive lake management.” 

The CLA is deeply involved with HAB programs. Its volunteers collect HAB samples for the DEC/NYSFOLA (New York State Federation of Lakes Association) HAB analysis program. Director Conroe has collaborated since 2013 with SUNY ESF’s (State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) HAB monitoring and analysis program. 

This year the CLA is also involved with SUNY ESF’s participation with the Bowling Green State University’s algal analysis program. CLA is collecting algal samples from throughout Chautauqua Lake that will be utilized by SUNY ESF in conjunction with the development of a new instrument that will provide improved algal analysis data.

The CLA also inputs the DEC NYHABS website that provides information to the public about the actual locations of known HABs on Chautauqua Lake along with providing HAB information to the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

Conroe added that, “We are excited to see this innovative method being investigated. The fact that AECOM is committed to providing an environmentally safe method is especially encouraging.  No chemicals will be placed in the lake by the project and the removed algae will be recycled for productive use. We thank the Governor for designating Chautauqua Lake as one of twelve NYS lakes to receive a special focus that will hopefully in the end provide solutions for all NYS lakes.  His designation has made this project possible. I am also honored to have served on his regional steering committee. Together we all can collaborate to find the needed solutions.”