Storm Water Management: What and Why

Two storm water management grant proposal projects were approved at the 7/23/18 Village Board of Trustees’ Meeting.

Chautauqua Avenue

Two storm water management grant proposal projects were approved at the 7/23/18 Village Board of Trustees’ Meeting.  The Village will learn the fate of these grants in December. If the grants are awarded, the Village has 30 days to accept them.

The Lowe Park project involves building a filtration chamber under W. Summit St. to capture storm water. This will be fed into an open wetland stream. The Chautauqua Ave. project encompasses several innovations: permeable pavers, a storm water infiltration system, planters, and native trees. Both projects are intended to filter storm water run-off before it enters the lake.

So, what are we to make of these projects? What is storm water management? Should Lakewood have a plan for storm water management? If so, what should be its goal? Answers to these questions follow, thanks to the expertise of two of our area’s authorities: Doug Conroe, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake Association, and John Shedd, Vice President of Campus Planning and Operations at the Chautauqua Institution.

Storm water originates during rainstorms and when snow and ice melt. It can soak into the soil, be held on the surface and evaporate, or run off and end up in nearby bodies of water– like our lake. Unfortunately, storm water runoff contains much more than water. Phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants, such as road salt and silt, enter the lake. Many scientists have identified phosphorus and nitrogen as the primary reasons for increased harmful algal blooms. These chemicals also feed the weeds that already exist in the lake. Herbicides alone cannot address the weed problem, and in many cases can make it worse. According to Dr. Gregory Boyer, the director of New York’s Great Lakes Research Consortium, the problem of blue-green algae in the lake will be solved with a combination of best management practices adopted by communities bordering the lake.

A storm water management plan aims to reduce these harmful effects by retaining and processing all storm water so that it does not run into the lake. A long-range approach that includes storm water management is needed to turn the lake impairment around and improve the water quality.

Does Lakewood need a storm water management plan? Yes. Lakewood’s future is dependent on a healthy Chautauqua Lake. Storm water management is thus critical for Lakewood’s future. John Shedd advises that “a long-range approach that includes storm water management is needed to turn the lake impairment around and improve the water quality.” According to Doug Conroe, “Lakewood’s goal should be to move to a green infrastructure storm water management program to benefit both the Village and Chautauqua Lake through sound environmental stewardship.”