CLA Holds Annual Meeting

LAKEWOOD – For the Chautauqua Lake Association, a clean lake is everyone’s business and the mission continues to focus on effective lake maintenance.

The annual meeting of the CLA on Monday night brought members and guests together at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club to hear about the 2014 season and work that remains. Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-I-Jamestown, state Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I-Olean, and Jacqueline Chiarot, representing U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-C-I-Corning, were also in attendance.

Doug Conroe, president of the CLA, said crews began working on the lake three weeks ago. Crews are stationed at the northern and southern basins as well as the middle of the lake. As of June 26, 1,070 tons of weed, – 107 large truck loads – have been removed from the lake. The overall water quality is in great shape despite recent rains muddying clarity. Conroe said plant growth is a little behind schedule.

“The south basin is seeing little problems, and that’s usually where the issues begin,” Conroe said. “Both basins were generally at 68 degrees when I took algae samples (Monday). We’re finding there is a significant lack of invasive species, and that’s partly because the herbivores are knocking them down pretty well.”

During the program, Young announced the securing of $100,000 for the CLA in legislation that passed at the end of session. She said the association does an outstanding job attacking weed growth.

“It’s so important for our quality of life here, our tourism industry and our economic development,” she said. “We’ve got people working together not only to solve the short-term issues of weed growth, but also long-term issues regarding lake health.”

Lake management services play a critical role in maintaining the health and utilization of the lake for everyone, Goodell said. He added that the CLA is leading the effort to control algae by sponsoring studies to address the issues.

“What’s particularly important about the CLA is that it provides a public-private partnership that includes funding from New York state, the county, many towns around the lake, private foundations as well as over $170,000 in private donations,” Goodell said. “Without that partnership, the CLA would not be nearly as effective. The partnership is also key to the public funding because it demonstrates how important a healthy lake is for everyone in Chautauqua County.”

During the program, a member for 30-plus years was honored upon announcing his retirement. Paul Swanson was hired in 1982 and served in various management roles. He concluded his career as general manager for the CLA. Swanson would overhaul each piece of equipment every winter. Young and Goodell honored Swanson’s dedicated work.

“Whenever I asked him to help with something, he always stepped forward in difficult situations, such as the carp die-off,” Young said. “He deserves a gold medal during that time because he worked his heart out. He’s worked cooperatively with the county for the Welfare to Work program. He’s taken out crews and he’s mobilized volunteers to help with the cleanup. It just shows what an outstanding citizen he is.”

“Paul (Swanson) did a phenomenal job as general manager,” Goodell said. “The Assembly agreed that Swanson has played a major role in helping improve Chautauqua Lake for everyone in Chautauqua County.”

By Jimmy McCarthy (jmmccarthy@post-journal.com) , Post-Journal