Abundance of Weeds in Chautauqua Lake
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CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — "Immediately fighting the weed growth, which is rather substantial for this time of year, so everyone’s having problems,” said Lionel McCauley.
McCauley knows all about the increase in aquatic plants in Chautauqua Lake. The Jamestown resident battled against the weeds Wednesday trying to launch his boat from Celoron.
“It can actually destroy their engines if they don’t get them shut down, if the intake has been plugged by the weeds or the residue, and that's a big repair bill," said McCauley.
The county watershed coordinator says the plant growth in June is similar to what residents would see in late July due to little snow and rain this past winter. The hardest hit areas are near the north and south ends of the lake where the water is more shallow.
People who fish and recreate on the lake are also getting tangled in the weeds.
"Makes it really annoying to fish and by the boating dock, there's about three feet of it when you jump in the water. I think it's making a lot of people get their lines stuck in the water because there's fishing line everywhere," said Mayville resident Chris Sampson.
"A friend of mine has jet skis and they were out on the lake and he had to stop two or three times on Sunday, he said, jump off the Jet Ski and pull the weeds out of the intake underneath before he could go on and he was losing power," said Orchard Park resident Paul Rabener.
The county is hoping to create an aquatic vegetation management plan to look at techniques beyond mechanical harvesting for long term solutions. Officials say they plan to be more aggressive in maintaining the lake.
"Over those years, impacts to the watershed have resulted in erosion and sediment and nutrients flowing into the lake allowing aquatic weeds to take over and over time it's only gotten worse," said Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator.
Diers notes the next few weeks will be crucial in determining lake conditions this summer.