All lands are part of a watershed: The water that flows across and through our lands feeds our streams, rivers and lakes. Natural landscapes protect our waters by filtering stormwater and slowing the flow of runoff through our watersheds so it can replenish ground water rather than contributing sediment and pollutants to our lakes and streams. To protect Chautauqua County’s waters, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy conserves lands that are essential to the health of the region’s watersheds and waterways. We currently own and steward 1,000 acres of nature preserves in Chautauqua County on 28 properties, all of which are open to the public for outdoor recreation. In addition to creating public nature preserves, we conserve Chautauqua’s natural landscapes by working with landowners to create conservation easements along sensitive streambanks, wetlands and shorelines.
Everyone within a watershed has an impact on water quality. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy educates Chautauqua County’s property owners, government officials and school children on ways to reduce the flow of nutrients that lead to harmful algae blooms and nuisance plant growth in our lakes. We also share information on rain gardens, buffers, native plantings and other practices that can improve the health of Chautauqua’s watersheds, landscapes and waters. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy provides public education through our award-winning newsletter, The ‘Shed Sheet, through public workshops, lectures and preserve tours, and by distributing literature on watershed stewardship.
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy actively works to improve the health of our watershed. We work with landowners, local governments and partner organizations to restore failing streambanks to reduce erosion and pollution in our waterways, identify and address sources of pollution, and carry out landscaping and shoreline improvements. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy constantly seeks projects to further our mission of preserving and enhancing the scenic beauty, ecological health and water quality of the Chautauqua region.