Chautauqua County might be tucked away in the far western corner of New York but it is home to some of the state’s most beautiful and breathtaking scenery. There to be enjoyed by visitors and year-round residents alike, parks and wildlife are found in abundance. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation is committed to preserving, enhancing, and sustaining nature’s gifts. Chautauqua Lake is, most would agree, the county’s crown jewel. Its recreational vitality and value as an economic resource depends upon its aquatic health.
To advance those aims, the Community Foundation recently awarded the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (CLWMA) a grant through the Fund for the Region to further its efforts in making water quality improvements, not only for the lake itself, but for its surrounding watershed. The Alliance’s primary function, in collaboration with other lake and watershed-related organizations, municipalities, and stakeholders, is to obtain grant monies for ongoing ecological efforts. To date, CLWMA has raised over $1.4 million dollars for stream bank stabilization projects aimed at reducing pollution from excess sediment and nutrients that encourage invasive plant growth and algal blooms.
The Community Foundation, in turn, is providing funding for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), as it seeks to educate lake landowners and businesses about ways in which they can learn to be good stewards of the lake and its shoreline. The Conservancy offers technical and construction advice; web and written information, (including press releases and brochures); and presentations to those with close proximity to the lake and surrounding areas.
The Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) also recently received support from the Fund for the Region for aquatic vegetation control. During the 2016 season they will launch three crews to harvest over-weeded areas of the lake. In addition to harvesting the CLA’s continues their efforts on monitoring, assessing, inventorying, observing, and documenting lake conditions.
Another great resource for Chautauqua County is its abundance of trees. Adding beauty and contributing to a healthy environment, various communities, like the Village of Lakewood, recognize the importance of maintaining well-managed green spaces. Populated areas are going to great lengths to insure walkways and parks are tree-lined and inviting. The Village, with financial assistance from the Community Foundation, will update its tree management plan by inventorying each of its streets, changing plantings, cataloguing species, surveying their overall health, and arranging for removal when necessary. Its groundwork will ensure a beautiful village for future generations.
What does the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation have to do with YOU? If YOU care about the environment the answer is EVERYTHING! In 2015, the Foundation’s Fund for the Region granted over $100,000 to local organizations for environmental conservancy, programs and initiatives throughout the region.