History of the CWC
With a shared vision to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams and watersheds of the Chautauqua region, John Jablonski III and several other environmentally concerned citizens – Rebecca Albaugh, Albert Cala and Rebecca Nystrom (as trustees) – incorporated the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, public benefit corporation in 1990 with the legal counsel of Judith Claire and Robert Van Every.
That same year, the CWC began publishing its newsletter, The ‘Shed Sheet, holding workshops on wetlands and streams, and presenting “60 Ways to Love Your Lake.” In 1993, a seed grant from the Gebbie Foundation allowed John Jablonski III to become CWC’s first executive director, and in 1995, CWC received its first land donation from Willis Dobbins, now the 100-acre Dobbins Woods Preserve in Ashville. At the same time, CWC acquired 83 acres in Chautauqua (just north of Hartfield) to establish its second nature preserve, the Elm Flats Wetland Preserve.
Since then, CWC has established 25 nature preserves and protected 4 other environmentally-sensitive sites throughout Chautauqua County, conserving more than 1,000 acres of land county-wide and 2 miles of shoreline on Chautauqua Lake and its Outlet. CWC also holds a conservation easement on 16 acres of lakeshore forest at the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center. It has developed dozens of educational workshops, presentations and programs on land conservation and lake and watershed stewardship. It has held numerous watershed walks, waterfront and preserve cleanups, willow plantings and canoeing, paddling and skiing events.
While the CWC has accomplished much in its 25+ years of existence, and is deeply appreciative of all who have supported it over the years, the CWC will remain an active advocate for the preservation and enhancement of the watershed and waterways of the Chautauqua region.