Remove public funding for herbicide in public waters

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Mark Richardson
Mark Richardson signed this petition

Dear Public Officials and Representatives,
We the undersigned support the rights of private property owners to individually or collectively pursue shoreline weed and land management projects in accordance with State, Federal, and local law.
However, we are opposed to any public funding being granted, loaned, or otherwise appropriated for herbicide use in Chautauqua Lake and other public waterways in the county for the following reasons.
-The waters of the lake are currently held in the public trust and public opinion on the use of herbicide varies widely.
-The short and long-term effects of herbicide use on the lake ecosystem and human health are poorly understood. Reports from different agencies vary significantly on the topics of efficacy, drift, the correlation with harmful algal blooms, and effects on aquatic ecosystems.
-Popular fish and game species such as muskie, bass, walleye, calico, ducks, and geese depend on healthy weed beds for spawning, nursery habitat, refuge, and feeding. Herbicide by its nature destroys these and often affects other area outside intended treatment zones.
-Angling and waterfowl hunting and their associated businesses are significant positive economic factors in our county. These activities are tied directly with the species mentioned above that rely on healthy weed beds in Chautauqua Lake and other county waters.
-There are significant direct costs associated with herbicide treatment including but not limited to: filing permits, purchasing chemicals, applying chemicals, and monitoring treatments.
-The COVID 19 outbreak and its associated states of emergency have exacerbated stresses and/or shortfalls of budgets at every level of government. Likewise, many county residents have be adversely affected physically, mentally, and financially by the CORONA virus.
In conclusion, we believe that limited public resources, regardless of the source, should be used responsibly for projects that truly serve the majority of the public and their interests. To use public funding for something as controversial and poorly understood as widespread aquatic herbicide in public water bodies is NOT in the best interest of the public at large.