Golfing for the Watershed!

CWC was this year’s beneficiary of the 20th Annual WKZA 106.9 Kiss-FM, Media One Radio Group Tavern Charity Golf Tournament! The tournament was held on Sunday, August 30th at Maplehurst Country Club and was sponsored by RS Motors. Twenty-seven four-man teams (108 golfers total) participated in 18 holes of scramble golf and raised $1,000 for the CWC! CWC plans to use this generous donation to help support our efforts to prevent excessive plant growth and algae blooms in our region’s lakes by working with landowners to implement pollution prevention practices and undertake other land conservation activities. Thank you to Media One and all of the players and sponsors who participated in the event in support of furthering our lake and watershed conservation programs!

In the photo above are Jamie Trusler (left), General Sales Manager at Media One Radio Group, and CWC Executive Director John Jablonski III (right).

Celebrating 30 Years of Local Conservation

By John Jablonski III, CWC Executive Director & Becky Nystrom, CWC President

Thirty years ago, a small group of lake lovers, naturalists, fishermen and other conservationists came together out of a profound concern for the ecological and economic health and future of Chautauqua Lake and other area waterways.

This small group (which included both of us) knew that a new voice was urgently needed in the midst of the ongoing degradation of Chautauqua Lake’s natural shoreline habitats and increasing evidence of harmful land use practices such as lakeshore development without erosion controls, filling of tributary floodplains, nutrient loading that fueled excessive aquatic plant growth and harmful land management practices higher in the watershed.

Our group perceived that government leadership at that time was lacking in addressing these larger issues. The focus of local leaders was only on “weed” control, and a more holistic, proactive and preventive approach was clearly needed. Aquatic plant management in Chautauqua Lake regrettably ignored the root causes of the lake’s excessive plant growth problems and only focused on in-lake harvesting and herbicides as management options. Our group had witnessed troubling changes taking place on and within the lake and recognized disturbing and undesirable trends for water quality, fisheries and the ecological health of the lake and its wildlife and human users. 

As a result, we set out to start an organization that would seek to: 1) protect our area’s most threatened sensitive and ecologically valuable watershed forests, stream banks and shoreland habitats, 2) conserve the most important fish and wildlife habitats county-wide, 3) change the careless and improper land use practices that were filling our streams and lakes with sediments, nutrients and other pollution, using a more watershed-wide paradigm, and 4) help people connect to the gifts of nature in the Chautauqua region. And in 1990, we formed the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy to accomplish these goals.

In the years since, CWC has tirelessly and passionately remained true to our shared vision and mission of preserving, healing and protecting the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands and watersheds of our region. CWC has grown from a handful of concerned citizens to an organization with over 1,000 members and supporters. In collaboration with New York State and other partners, we have (so far!) conserved over 1,126 acres of wooded wetlands, streambanks, shorelands and other natural areas to help absorb and filter rainfall and stormwater and help reduce downstream nutrient loading and sedimentation to our streams and lakes. More than 470 acres of wetlands, two miles of ecologically valuable Chautauqua Lake and Outlet shoreline and three-quarters of a mile of shoreline on the Cassadaga Lakes have been protected! We have established and maintain 30+ nature preserves, providing peaceful refuges for people to spend time in the great outdoors, reconnect with nature and absorb the many physical and mental benefits that go along with it. CWC has also facilitated a NYS investment of $8.7 million in land conservation and outdoor recreation facilities in Chautauqua County! We’ve also provided numerous watershed education presentations and publications as well as technical assistance to local municipalities, homeowner associations, businesses and residents.

All of these accomplishments, however, could not have been achieved without help, and we are enormously grateful to our founders, board directors, volunteers, donors and friends who have supported and promoted our mission over these many years!

A Homeowner’s Guide To Lake Friendly Living!

By Carol Markham

The dog days of summer are upon us, but landscaping and yard work is still in full swing! Most of us are enjoying COVID ‘stay-cations’ and spending quality time with our families, making home improvements and beautifying our yards and outdoor living space. If you are new to the Chautauqua Lake area or live on or near the lake, improving and enhancing your yard has taken on a whole new meaning now that we are home bound.

As homeowners are working diligently in their yards, we don’t want to forget the improvements we can do that not only beautify our yards and living space, but also work to enhance and improve the water quality and beauty of our lake as well! The lakefront shoreline that surrounds our lake is vital to its existence. It is the protective barrier that ensures a nice afternoon for boating, swimming, catching that elusive fish or simply enjoying the beautiful view and watching for wildlife. Without it, most of the good things about our lake would diminish entirely. Most lakefront shorelines include trees, small shrubs and native plants all designed by nature to protect our waters. The more natural barriers we remove, the more likely the lake will be negatively impacted by erosion and runoff. Eroded shorelines invite runoff carrying pesticides, chemicals and nutrients into the water that kill fish and promote the growth of aquatic weeds and harmful algae. Our understanding as homeowners of how we can better interact and adapt our landscaping practices to benefit the lake is key to maintaining its health. Simple acts such as keeping a healthy stand of shoreline vegetation and reducing water and chemicals used on your lawn can go a long way to keeping your lake healthy, clean and enjoyable year-round.

To help homeowners and educate them about lake friendly landscaping and lawncare, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy created “A Homeowners Guide to Lake Friendly Living: 5 simple strategies in your lawn and landscape practices that will conserve, protect and enhance your Chautauqua Lake Watershed.” This guide introduces new and old lakefront property owners to the relationship between land use/landscaping practices and water quality, along with concepts for watershed friendly landscaping. It encourages the use of best management practices regarding fertilizer use, shoreline buffers, landscaping waster and lawn care and mowing. It also introduces CWC’s new Lakescaping program, which promotes a healthier community one yard at a time, no matter where the homeowner lives or what size garden they want to create. The guide also provides a helpful resources page, giving homeowners access to additional sources for information and guidance on lake friendly living.

We are all in this together. The lake is a vital resource not only for the communities that rely on it for their social, economic and recreational activities, but also for the plants, insects and wildlife that live and thrive within it. This simple guide inspires communities and homeowners to connect and be a part of something – to understand and feel that their small yard will make a difference in protecting water quality. This guide gives communities the power to be the most influential component of preserving, protecting, and enhancing the health of the water that surrounds them. View or download it here: https://chautauquawatershed.org/watershed-stewardship/homeowners-guide/.

The real environmental impact lies in the hands of committed homeowners like you!

The Beauty of a Buffer

By Whitney Gleason, CWC Water Quality Program Manager

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and volunteer residents, with financial support from the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, were able to get out and plant three beautiful demonstration buffer gardens a couple weeks ago. We are so thankful to have been able to partner with Heritage Ministries, Winchester Dock Association, and the Village of Mayville to create these examples of how easy and beautiful protecting our lakes and streams can be. Throughout the planning and planting process we realized that people have a lot of questions about buffers. Today I hope to help answer some of those questions and encourage you all to get out and visit these beautiful gardens to learn more.   

What is a buffer? A buffer is simply a growth of trees, shrubs, or perennials that acts as a filter for runoff. As water falls on a mowed area, it runs off. If you have a buffer growing, that water will hit the taller plants of the buffer which will slow it down, giving it time to soak into the ground where extra nutrients and pollutants can be absorbed by those same plants before the water continues on to our streams and lakes.

Does it matter what typeof plants you have in your buffer? The short answer is no – any buffer is better than no buffer at all. Any buffer will help prevent runoff and erosion and will help filter out extra nutrients and pollutants. That being said, using native plants in your buffer will add a lot of extra benefits! Native plants are built for our area and will be hardier and more resilient. They have stronger and longer root systems that do a better job of catching and filtering runoff and preventing erosion. Native plants also provide food that is needed for the wildlife in our area that only feed on specific foods – such as the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail which only feeds on Pawpaw.   

What if I want to help protect our lakes and streams but don’t have time to plant a garden? The great news is that you don’t have to do any planting at all if you don’t want to! Growing a buffer can be as simple as choosing a strategically located ten-foot-wide area not to mow. At Waldmer Park where the Winchester Dock Association’s buffer garden was planted, the other homeowners along the shore decided to work with CWC to create this type of no-mow buffer along the remaining waterfront of the park. As you can see in the photo above (of the Winchester Dock Association's demonstration buffer garden and Waldmer Park homeowners' no-mow buffer), this can be just as beautiful as a landscaped garden and will provide the same benefits for our waterways. 

Can I help protect our lakes and streams even if I don’t live on the water? Absolutely! Every mowed yard has runoff – whether it’s located on a lake, stream, pond, or not. By planting a buffer or letting a no-mow buffer grow, you will help slow that runoff down so that it can be filtered before making its way into our waterways or the groundwater system. Whether your yard is big or small, lakefront or not, you too can help protect the health of our community by creating a beautiful filter in your yard.    

I hope these answers have been helpful, but if you still have questions or would like personal help creating a buffer on your own property, CWC is here for you! Through our free LakeScapes program, our Conservationist will schedule a time with you to come out to your home or business and work with you to create a buffer that’s beautiful for you and for the health of our waters. Simply email her at carol@chautauquawatershed.org or call our office and leave a message at 716.664.2166. Together we can build a healthy community – one yard at a time!

Take A Virtual Wildflower Walk with Jack & Becky!

Take A Virtual Wildflower Walk With Jack & Becky!

Our annual Mother's Day Wildflower Walk has gone virtual for 2020! Take a tour of our Bentley Nature Preserve with naturalist Jack Gulvin and CWC President and biologist Becky Nystrom and see some of the many spring wildflowers that are blooming this time of year! Then, be sure to visit this beautiful preserve for youself and see all of its beauty in person – minding social distancing protocols, of course! 

Living Lawns or Pesticide Peril?

By Becky Nystrom, CWC President

Springtime is here, and the backyard beckons. Our lawns and landscapes grow more lush, lovely and greener with each new day. But green is not necessarily “green” from an environmental standpoint, especially when it comes to lawns.

While America’s turf collectively covers an area the size of Michigan, most of these mowed and manicured spaces are biologically barren, offering little of value to wildlife. Unless a diversity of wildflowers, native grasses, “weeds,” woody shrubs and hedgerows are allowed to grow there, beneficial bees, wasps, beetles, bugs and spiders find it difficult to complete their life cycles, and in turn, so too do songbirds, frogs, bats and other wild creatures dependent upon them. Native species especially suffer. Nesting, resting, feeding and nursery areas for wild things become fragmented and marginalized, and nature’s rhythms are disturbed and disrupted. And as humans labor intensively to manage, mow and tend their beloved lawns, fumes, noise, fertilizers and pesticides pollute the air, land and water, at great cost to people and nature alike.

Worst of all are the pesticides, which are poisons intentionally designed to impair and kill, and which harm beneficial species in addition to those targeted.  Homeowners apply some hundred million pounds of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides to their lawns and landscapes each year, often in the form of “weed and feed” products, and the trend is on the increase. Heavy application in suburban lawns and gardens far exceeds that for other land areas in the U.S., including agricultural lands. Ironically, lawns most heavily managed with chemicals, such as golf courses, tend to have the most serious pest problems, since the “pesticide treadmill” leads to resistant strains of aggressive, often non-native pests, while decimating beneficial species and natural biological controls. Pesticides can also drift into our homes and contaminate indoor air and surfaces with toxics. And water, that precious resource for all life, is being polluted at unprecedented rates. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey show that 2,4-D is the number one “weed and feed” herbicide most frequently detected in streams and shallow ground water throughout the country and that 56% of streams contain one or more pesticides at concentrations exceeding federal standards.                               

Of the 30 most commonly used lawn and landscape pesticides identified by the EPA, nearly all have potential for serious impacts on human health, with special risk to infants and children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. According to Health Impacts of 30 Commonly Used Lawn Pesticides (www.beyondpesticides.org), 17 are possible or known carcinogens, 11 are associated with birth defects, 19 are linked with reproductive problems, such as reduced fertility and low sperm counts, 24 can cause liver or kidney damage, 14 are neurotoxic, impairing the nervous system, 18 are suspected or known endocrine (hormone) disrupters and 25 are sensitizers and/or irritants associated with asthma, inflammation and

allergic reactions.

While more research is needed, troubling findings are emerging. A National Cancer Institute study reports that household and garden pesticide exposure increases the risk of childhood leukemia nearly sevenfold. Dogs whose owners use 2,4-D lawn products are at higher risk for canine malignant lymphoma and bladder cancers. Studies by the American Cancer Society reveal increased human risk for non-Hodgkins lymphoma in association with pesticides such as mecroporp (MCPP) and glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup®, extensively used on lawns and agricultural lands alike). The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Dicamba, 2,4-D, and MCPP (often found together as Trimec®), and glyphosate are known respiratory irritants that can inflame skin and mucous membranes, trigger asthma and cause coughing, nausea, and vomiting. Infants exposed to weed-killers within their first year of life are 4.5 times more likely to develop asthma by the age of five. Many lawn pesticides are estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors, and exposure can increase miscarriage and breast cancer risk in women and interfere in reproductive development in males.

Beyond human health, pesticides harm wildlife, including honeybees, butterflies, ants, earthworms, ladybugs, songbirds and other beneficial creatures. They also threaten tiny soil microbes so critical to nutrient recycling, decomposition and the natural fertility of the earth. Additional impacts occur when heavy rains and erosion wash these toxics far downstream, leading to contamination of lakes, rivers and drinking water supplies. Of the 30 pesticides noted earlier, 19 have been detected in groundwater, 20 have the potential to leach into drinking water supplies, 30 are toxic to fish and other aquatic life, 22 are toxic to birds, 29 are toxic to bees, 14 are toxic to mammals and 11 have the potential to disrupt developmental pathways in numerous organisms from frogs to fish and reptiles.

Let’s stop this craziness. There are healthier, more life-sustaining ways to create lovely green landscapes and support wildlife and enhanced environmental quality at the same time. For help creating non-toxic or less-toxic lawns and healthy backyard habitats, contact the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Cornell Cooperative Extension or a local organic landscaping services. An abundance of excellent information may also be obtained at the Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns at www.beyondpesticides.org (Lawns and Landscapes), www.rodalesorganiclife.com (The Dark Side of Lawns) and National Wildlife Federation’s www.nwf.org (Garden for Wildlife).

A Special Message from CWC

Dear CWC Friends and Supporters,

On behalf of the CWC Board of Directors and Staff, we wish you health and safety during this COVID-19 time of concern and uncertainty as well as peace and resilience in the midst of it all.

During this unprecedented and altered season, we are reminded of what is most important in our lives – the health and well-being of our loved ones and a healthy, sustainable, and safe environment. We are also reminded how very grateful we are for each of you, our members and supporters, and wish to thank you for your dedication to our shared mission of preserving and protecting the water quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the lakes, streams, and watersheds of our region. Be assured that while this coronavirus crisis brings new and difficult challenges, CWC resolves to successfully navigate these waters and continue our conservation education, technical assistance, and land conservation work while abiding by the New York State Department of Health and CDC COVID-19 safety protocols to protect our staff, families, and the public.

More than ever, we encourage you to seek what is beautiful and good. Our thousand-plus acres of preserves (http://chautauquawatershed.org/maps/) remain open for you to explore and enjoy (using social distancing, of course!) from sunrise to sunset, and they await your visit. The gifts of nature found in our woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and lakeshores promise refreshment, renewal, and healing for body, mind, and spirit. Walk the trails…take your children fishing…launch your kayak…meander among the wildflowers…and seek the joy and serenity of nature amidst our chaotic and crazy world.

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns or if we can assist you in any way. Because we are conducting our work remotely for the foreseeable future, the best way to reach us is by e-mail to info@chautauquawatershed.org or to a specific staff person using the format of firstname@chautauquawatershed.org (e.g. john@chautauquawatershed.org). You may also call the office at 716-664-2166 and leave a message. We will respond as soon as possible. Please note that, using proper safety and social distancing protocols, and as we are able, we intend to:

  • continue providing technical assistance on landscaping for water quality, stormwater management and habitat enhancement on lands owned by families, businesses, organizations, and the public; 
  • remotely offer conservation staff site evaluations and guidance on healthy lawn care practices, improving yards for capturing and filtering stormwater via buffers, swales, and raingardens, and/or for creating habitat for pollinators and wildlife; 
  • continue to steward and protect our preserves, along with the biodiversity they sustain and the hydrological and ecological gifts they provide;
  • conserve and restore lands with collapsing stream banks and severe erosion to arrest the thousands of tons of soil entering our lakes and fueling excessive plant growth; and
  • continue identifying and conserving woodlands and wetlands which capture, store, filter, and deliver clean waters to our lakes, streams, and drinking waters downstream.

CWC is thankful for your partnership in our work to conserve the landscapes, habitats and waters that make the Chautauqua County a special place in which to live and recreate – a refuge for humans and wildlife alike! With your help, we will continue delivering conservation activities and stewardship of our beautiful preserves for many years to come. Please consider a donation to assist us through these very challenging times, and thank you so much for your support!

With warm regards,

Becky Nystrom, Board President, and John Jablonski III, Executive Director

Lessons from the Lake: Making Sense of the Science

By Rebecca Nystrom, CWC President

 

If only Chautauqua Lake, an ecological and economic treasure in our midst, could speak. How might we better understand and steward its complex ecosystems upon which so much aquatic life depends, while thoughtfully addressing the ongoing challenges of excessive plant growth, harmful algal blooms, and newly introduced invasive species? The lessons from the lake are knowingly complex and deserve our attention.

 

We know our lake is an old lake, rich in plant diversity and an abundance of living things. We know its “underwater gardens” are the spawning and nursery beds for bass, muskellunge, bluegill, and sunfish, and the basis for our famous warm water fishery. Nymphs of mayflies, damselflies, and dragonflies crawl among the leaf blades, feasting on tinier insects, while larvae of moths, caddisfly, and weevils forage upon tender buds and feathery foliage. Little things are eaten by bigger things, and all are woven together in an amazing web of interdependency, complexity, and connection. Beyond their importance to the food web, rooted plants release oxygen, stabilize the sediments, and reduce resuspension of silt and nutrients, all significantly improving water quality.


 
We know the photic zone, where light penetrates the water column, is home not only to obvious lake plants, but also to innumerable tiny green dancers, floaters, and clingers known as phytoplankton, or “algae.” Interestingly, “blue-green algae” aren’t really algae at all, but rather a form of aquatic bacteria known as “cyanobacteria.” In plant-dominated lakes such as Chautauqua, most algae and cyanobacteria are normal residents serving as microscopic oxygenators and food-producers of open waters.

 

And yet…increased nutrient loading from urbanization of the watershed, erosion, loss of natural shorelines and buffered stream banks, poor lawn-care practices, and warming waters have led to plant-clogged waterways, unhappy humans, and conflicting ideas on solutions. Overgrowths of algae form unsightly and smelly surface scums. More insidiously, harmful algal blooms occur with greater frequency, some producing liver and nervous system toxins dangerous to humans, pets and aquatic creatures alike.

 

For decades, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has strived to conserve and heal our watersheds to enhance the quality of our local waters over the long term. Our work encourages landowners, municipalities, and others to employ lake-friendly landscaping practices, construct erosion control systems, and install vegetated stream buffers, swales, and rain gardens to intercept pollutants before they flow downstream. We have protected over 1,000 acres of wooded wetlands, streambanks, shorelands, and other natural areas which absorb and filter rainfall and stormwater, reducing downstream nutrient loading and sedimentation which otherwise fuel excessive weed and algae growth in our waterways.

 

Recent attempts to eradicate the long-naturalized Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed via herbicides in Chautauqua Lake have brought clashing viewpoints and confusing messaging. Alarming evidence of harm to our lake’s south basin ecology has caused deep concern and dismay over the apparent collateral damage from the narrowly-informed “quick-fix” chemical approach. Can’t we do better? What lessons may be learned?

 

Comprehensive scientific research by Robert L. Johnson of Racine-Johnson Aquatic Biologists (2019 Status of Chautauqua Lake’s Aquatic Macrophyte Community Determined by a Lake Summer/Early Fall Survey and Estimates of the Associated Invertebrate Community) warns that the ecological balance of the lake’s lower south basin may now be at risk. We should listen to the science. We hope that the Region 9 State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will listen.

 

Mr. Johnson is a highly respected scientist who has studied the aquatic plants of Chautauqua Lake, and the tiny insects that consume them, for eighteen consecutive years. His Racine-Johnson Point Intercept-Rake Drag plant sampling method is recognized as the industry standard. His methodology has been endorsed by the NYS DEC and has provided the invaluable long-term data that has guided plant management decisions by the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) since 2002. The entirety of his reports and all conclusions are solely the work of Racine-Johnson. He is an award-winning member, former director, and past president of the Northeast Aquatic Plant Management Society and is widely recognized for his professional contributions towards improved understanding of the ecology of non-native species Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and Hydrilla. He has served for many years as an independent third-party scientific herbicide-monitoring consultant for the DEC and other lake associations throughout New York State.

 

Compared to his May 2019 survey and previous years of sampling in the southeast end of Chautauqua Lake, Johnson’s 2019 mid-September survey revealed only barren sediment and unprecedented absence of nearly all aquatic plants. His report warned that these areas were in critical decline, likely linked to the 2,4-D and endothall herbicides applied to the 388 south basin acres in May 2019. Reports by seasoned fishermen using marine sonar concurred that nearly all traditional south basin weed lines were lost and replaced with thick algal blooms persisting into late fall.

 

An earlier and very limited third-party monitoring report by Princeton-Hydro, contracted by the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance, failed to identify the more widespread, longer-term outcomes documented by Johnson. Its researchers, however, did note that “total biomass…decreased markedly at the treatment sites,” and documented evidence of “potential herbicide drift and resultant reduction in nontarget plant biomass” approximately 7-14 days after treatment. Because both herbicides used are known to damage plants many weeks or months after being introduced into the water column, Princeton-Hydro’s one-month study could not possibly capture those longer-term consequences revealed by the Racine-Johnson work.

 

And while the Princeton-Hydro report did not address algae, the Fall 2019 Racine-Johnson report expressed concern that cyanobacteria and HABs were visually extensive and worsened as one proceeded south, consistent with herbicide application areas. It warned that the wholesale loss of rooted aquatic plants from the littoral zone could push the shallow south basin of Chautauqua Lake from a stable macrophyte-dominated state toward a turbid and undesirable algal-dominated one, with loss of our critical warm water fishery and increased risk of algal scums, cyanobacteria, and toxic HABs.

 

So much is at stake. There are enough lessons here to justify significant changes in future management decisions for Chautauqua Lake. Let’s listen to the science.

 

Rebecca Nystrom, President
Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy
413 North Main Street
Jamestown, New York 14701
www.chautauquawatershed.org
info@chautauquawatershed.org

 

Rebecca Nystrom is a local naturalist and retired JCC Professor of Biology, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia, respectively. She is a founding director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, member of the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance Scientific Review and Advisory Committee, and member of the Macrophyte Management Strategy Technical Review Committee.  

(Chautauqua Lake photo by Jen Leister; Becky Nystrom photo by CWC)

CWC marks another successful golf tournament

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy once again is celebrating a successful golf tournament. The 2019 Score on for the Lake! Pro-Am Golf Tournament, backed by presenting sponsor Snug Harbor Marina, was held at the Chautauqua Golf Club on June 24. More than 70 golfers hit the links to raise money and awareness for CWC’s mission to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams and watersheds of the Chautauqua region.

This year marked the 8th year that the CWC partnered with the Chautauqua Golf Club on the fundraiser. In that time, Score One for the Lake! has become CWC’s largest annual fundraiser. It has brought in more than $120,000 for the conservancy. For the past two years, Snug Harbor Marina has served as the presenting sponsor for the event.

This year’s tournament winners were Ryan Swanson, Gary Reeve, Rich Flanagan and Dan Filipi.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is grateful to all of the golfers, sponsors and volunteers who made the 2019 tournament a success! Those who are interested in sponsoring or participating in the 2020 tournament can contact the CWC at info@chautauquawatershed.org or (716) 664-2166.

CWC Volunteers Install Pedestrian Bridge at Bentley Nature Preserve

The Bentley Nature Preserve, off of Route 430 in Ellery, is now more accessible, thanks to a group of Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy volunteers and a grant from Cummins. The group of volunteers worked over several weeks to install a 40-foot metal bridge over the Chautauqua Lake tributary that flows through the site. The bridge allows for a loop path through the preserve, making it an ideal destination for walking or jogging.

The CWC ordered the bridge last fall, using part of the $27,000 Gateways to Nature grant awarded to the CWC by Cummins to make the conservancy’s 30 preserves more accessible to the public for recreation and education. Shortly after the bridge was ordered, the existing wooden bridge across the creek collapsed, disconnecting the loop trail. The new bridge was installed as soon as volunteers could clear a path and install posts this spring.