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Posted on: November 21, 2018

County Hopes to Allocate Funds to Address Weeds and Fish Kill in Burtis Bay

Burtis Bay 1


Floating Vegetation along Burtis Bay 

Pictured above, the floating vegetation along Burtis Bay.


MAYVILLE, N.Y.: -- At its November 28, 2018 meeting, the Chautauqua County Legislature will be voting on a resolution to allocate $25,870 from the County’s 2% Occupancy Tax Funding Reserve to help cleanup Burtis Bay on Chautauqua Lake.


Earlier this month, excessive amounts of aquatic vegetation, high water levels, and wind conditions resulted in a large deposit of aquatic vegetation and fish kill to accumulate in Burtis Bay near Celoron, N.Y. 


After local resident Mike Newell, who lives along the bay, presented this situation to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance Board of Directors, the board and county officials met with representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to determine a practical option for removing the weeds.


To address the issue, the County plans to have the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) remobilize its fleet to do a shoreline and near-shore cleanup of floating vegetation along Burtis Bay. The cleanup area would span from the ball field to the Ellicott Shores Apartments point and alongside the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. The CLA has estimated this work will cost $73,870.


“The County has taken the lead in addressing this issue before the end of the year so these weeds don’t decay and contribute to more phosphorous build up in the Chautauqua Lake,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive. “We are fighting the winter weather to get this cleanup accomplished, which is why we have submitted an emergency resolution this month to the County Legislature for its review and approval.”


“I am grateful that the county is stepping in and taking a leadership role to support this cleanup effort in Burtis Bay,” said Lisa Vanstrom, County Legislator for District 15, which includes Celoron and the Burtis Bay area.  “I will be advocating for this needed funding from the Occupancy Tax reserve funds at the upcoming legislature meeting.”


In addition to the $25,870 that would be contributed by Chautauqua County, the remainder of the cost is anticipated to be covered by funds from local foundations. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation offered to contribute $28,000 in funding and the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation offered to repurpose previous grant funds to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance to contribute $20,000 toward the project.


Once approved, all of the funds for the project would be allocated to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, which would in turn directly pay the CLA for the cleanup work in Burtis Bay. 


“I am thrilled and heartened that a community-wide response was established to the terrible situation in Burtis Bay, and that the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance was able to coordinate the effort,” said Pierre Chagnon, County Legislator (R-Bemus Point).  “We are very grateful for the prompt and professional response by the Chautauqua Lake Association to rectify the situation yet this fall."


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