State, Chautauqua Co. stepping up fight against algae blooms

Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 23:21:51-05

New York needs to do more to protect lakes from harmful algae blooms. That's what Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday. Speaking in Syracuse, he proposed a $65 million plan to study, treat, and prevent the blooms.

“I argue that it's an investment because we are talking about a precious commodity. We are literally talking about the quality of drinking water,” said Cuomo.

The governor's proposal targets 12 lakes, including Chautauqua Lake.

Mike Kingsley knows a thing or two about Chautauqua Lake. His Mayville business, Evergreen Outfitters, depends on it. 

“Every year, for the past 5 years, it's been somewhere on the lake and it's been thick,” said Kingsley.

When blooms are on the lake, he loses business. 

“I don't know how many people aren't coming because Chautauqua Lake has a health hazard,” added Kingsley.

“The land around Chautauqua Lake comprises about 1% of the land mass of Chautauqua County, but it makes up about 26% of the property taxes in Chautauqua Co,” said County Executive Elect George Borrello.

This summertime problem is difficult to think about on the shortest day of the year, but that's exactly what the Chautauqua County Legislature is doing. This week, legislators voted to establish an agency that will look at creating a new lake district. The hope is it will help the legislature address more lake related issues, including algae blooms.

“Will it be completely algae free? No. but if we can reduce the number of algae blooms that pop up and the severity of them then I think it will be a victory,” said Borrello.

That's welcome news for Kingsley.

“Hopefully we can see some action,” said Kingsley.