MAYVILLE, N.Y.:--One of the primary tenets in the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy was transparency and monitoring of aquatic plant management techniques by an independent, qualified, third party entity. To that end, Chautauqua County has provided funding to the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance for contracting with Princeton Hydro to provide monitoring of herbicide treatments that will occur in May.
Princeton Hydro, headquartered in Ringoes, N.J. was formed in 1998 with the specific mission of providing integrated ecological and engineering consulting services. They specialize in natural resource management, engineering services, environmental services, and pond and lake management.
Princeton Hydro will perform a review of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-issued herbicide permits for 2019. This will include a formal review of all permits to be incorporated into its third-party sampling and observation plan. Princeton Hydro will then develop a written compliance checklist of requirements associated with what is required to conduct the aquatic herbicide program.
Princeton Hydro is slated to conduct pre-treatment, during treatment, and post-treatment sampling and observation to objectively and independently evaluate the 2019 herbicide treatment program. Observations are expected to include visual observations and documentation of the condition of the plants using standard protocols, such as plant density, species distribution, and biomass; and water quality indicators such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and clarity. Sample sites will be located along an estimated 12 transects within four treatment zones, four potential drift zones, and four control zones (those areas not treated and not believed to be susceptible to drift).
“I am delighted the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance is able to already support a key tenet of the Memorandum of Agreement regarding the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy,” said Pierre Chagnon, Chautauqua County Legislator and Chair of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. “By developing and contracting for this independent monitoring of the herbicide treatments we will be able to report to the community clearly and concisely on the effectiveness and the effects of the treatments.”
Princeton Hydro will also observe the permittees and their contractor during treatment and evaluate permit compliance. They plan to perform targeted sampling and observations related primarily to in situ water quality indicators and laboratory-derived chemical concentrations of the active ingredients of the selected herbicides (2,4-D in Navigate and endothall in Aquathol K). Additional post-treatment laboratory samples are expected to be collected about a week following the treatment. All chemical analyses performed as part of Princeton Hydro’s work will be performed by independent third party laboratories not associated with the herbicide manufacturer.
Princeton Hydro will also perform post-treatment sampling and observations about four to six weeks after treatment that will follow the same field methodology as the pre-treatment protocol. It will prepare a final report to compile the information and summarize and interpret the field data collected in all three tasks. The report will also provide general recommendations for improving this process in 2020.
“Independent monitoring of in-lake weed management was one of the issues that virtually all of the stakeholders in the Consensus Strategy interviews agreed on,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive. “I am grateful that the county and the Alliance are able to make this happen. It will not only provide peace-of-mind to many, but it will also provide valuable data for the future.”