Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy holds annual meeting | News, Sports, Jobs

Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy holds annual meeting | News, Sports, Jobs


CELORON — Nearly 100 persons attended the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s annual meeting recently at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

Vince Cotrone, an award-winning Penn State urban forester, presented about the essential importance of trees in absorbing rainfall and pollutants in the landscape. Keeping forests intact in watersheds and maintaining and restoring streamside forest buffers can significantly reduce runoff reducing soil erosion and reducing lake sedimentation. Fertile soil eroded from the watershed fuels abundant aquatic plant growth. He observed that the Chautauqua Mall property is “crying out for trees,” recommending the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and local governments seek infrastructure funding to plant trees on commercial sites and provide incentives for business owners to retrofit such sites with green infrastructure. This will help to intercept the pollutants and stormwater now running off such sites and directly into lake tributaries with no storage or treatment to remove a myriad of pollutants impacting the lake. The handout summarizing information in his presentation can be found at https://rb.gy/3r25zq. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will hold one or more follow-up webcasts with him on stormwater management to reduce lake pollution in upcoming months.

During the conservancy’s business meeting, musician and County Legislator Bill Ward of Mayville was elected as to the board and Michael Jabot of Fredonia, Bill Locke of Ellery, Craig Seger of Lakewood and Deb Trefts of Chautauqua were re-elected to the board, each for three-year terms.

Locke reported that the conservancy’s event revenues were seriously impacted in 2020, but due to receiving a federal PPP loan, the conservancy was able to keep its staff fully-employed and finish the last fiscal year with only a small deficit. He noted the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has had a robust rebound in its grants, donations and event sponsorships in 2021 and would finish its fiscal year on Sept. 30 in a strong financial position.

Becky Nystrom, conservancy board presidency, and John Jablonski, executive director, outlined recent accomplishments, including 112 LakeScaping consultations for lakeshore buffers and landscaping for wildlife and water quality; assisting in the engineering design of the erosion control projects on Ball Creek for which North Harmony is seeking $200,000 in state WQIP funding and the conservancy contributing to the preliminary design of a 1,200-foot long constructed wetland above the Save-A-Lot Plaza for which Lakewood is seeking $250,000 in state WQIP funding to construct to trap nutrients and sediments and protect Fairmount Avenue and downstream properties from flooding and flood damage.

Jablonski also reported that the conservancy has 1,071 acres at 32 sites under its protection across the Chautauqua region and that more than 5,000 persons have signed in at conservancy preserves since March 2020.

“Your CWC preserves are a great refuge for people as well fish and wildlife,” Jablonski said.

He announced the conservancy is pursuing several land conservation projects, including at sites on Mud Creek, Goose Creek, Chautauqua Creek, Cheney Creek and more. He also announced that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is launching the Fish Hawks (osprey and eagles) and Steelhead Habitat Campaign to conserve habitats along Goose Creek feeding Chautauqua Lake and Chautauqua Creek feeding Lake Erie. Those who would like to make a donation in celebration of the CWC mission may donate at www.chautauquawatershed.org.

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