Nearly 100 persons attended CWC's Annual Meeting on August 11th 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 your 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 CWC 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. CWC will hold one or more follow-up webcasts with him on stormwater management to reduce lake pollution in upcoming months.
During the CWC 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.
Treasurer Bill Locke reported that CWC’s event revenues were seriously impacted in 2020, but due to receiving a federal PPP loan, CWC was able to keep its staff fully-employed and finish the last fiscal year with only a small deficit. He noted CWC has had a robust rebound in its grants, donations and event sponsorships in 2021 and would finish its fiscal year on September 30th in a strong financial position.
President Becky Nystrom and Executive Director John Jablonski outlined recent notable accomplishments: 112 LakeScaping consultations for lakeshore buffers and landscaping for wildlife and water quality; CWC assisting in the engineering design of the erosion control projects on Ball Creek for which N. Harmony is seeking $200,000 in State WQIP funding and CWC 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 Ave and downstream properties from flooding and flood damage.
Mr. Jablonski also reported that CWC 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 CWC's preserves since March 2020—stating, "your CWC preserves are a great refuge for people as well fish & wildlife.” He announced CWC is pursuing several land conservation projects, including at sites on Mud Creek, Goose Creek, Chautauqua Creek, Cheney Creek and more. He also announced that CWC is launching the Fish Hawks (osprey and eagles) & 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. Becky Nystrom thanked all who have generously supported this work over the past year.