Last Mile Campaign
With only one mile of natural, undeveloped shoreline left around Chautauqua Lake, the CWC has embarked on a Last Mile Campaign to conserve as many of those remaining sites as possible.
Why? Because natural shorelines:
- create buffer zones that help prevent the shore from eroding
- help to filter out pollutants before they can enter the lake
- provide habitat for wildlife and shore land vegetation, and
- help to filter nutrients (such as phosphorus) and reduce sedimentation – both of which contribute to algae blooms and weed growth in the lake!
- help to preserve the scenic beauty of the lake, which also helps protect property values and the region’s tourism industry
In other words, we need to save these sites because they are of vital importance to the water quality, ecological health and scenic beauty of Chautauqua Lake!
The Campaign first kicked off in the summer of 2008 with a focus on a 30-acre wetland site along and around Goose Creek in Ashville, with 460 feet of lake shoreline and 3,300 linear feet of creek shoreline! It is the third largest wetland on the lake, providing flood protection as well as habitat for Kingfishers, Heron, Mallards, Wood Duck, Canada Geese, waterfowl, beavers, mink, turtles, amphibians and Pied-billed Grebe (a state-listed threatened species). In early 2011, the CWC was able to conserve this site, which is now called the Loomis Goose Creek Wetland Preserve.
In February 2012, the CWC conserved the 3.5- acre Wells Bay Lakeshore Forest located in North Harmony, just north of Stow. This site contains rare remnant moist forest and is interlaced with springs, watercourses and small wetlands. With 210 feet of lake shoreline, it is also one of the last remaining boating and swimming sites on the lake that has not been blocked for public use by docks, buoys or moorings. The Wells Bay Lakeshore Forest also provides an excellent habitat for many water-dependent species including salamanders, frogs, snakes and a variety of birds.
In November 2013, the CWC acquired the 0.7-acre Whitney Point site that adjoined our Prendergast Creek Wetland Preserve in the Town of Chautauqua. The Point had been maintained as a mowed campsite for decades, but CWC's acquisition of it will allow its natural vegetation to retake the property as beneficial wildlife habitat. This site is an excellent habitat for water-dependent species including turtles, frogs, snakes and waterfowl, and it bolsters conservation of the most boilogically diverse aquatic habitat on Chautauqua Lake! Conserving Whitney Point has also expanded our Prendergast Creek Wetland Preserve to a total of 7 acres with more than 820' of lakeshore!
In January 2014, CWC secured the 11.9-acre Whitney Bay site, which has approximately 6 acres of waterfront red maple wetland, 3 acres of a mixture of shrub swamp and wet meadow, and 3 acres of old field upland along Route 394. The aquatic plant community in the lake in front of this site has the most ecologically diverse plant community in the entire lake! It also provides important habitat for panfish, gamefish and a variety of waterfowl and other wildlife. CWC is currently partnering with the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation to permanently conserve this site.