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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (716) 664-2166.
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.
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Board of Directors unanimously approved the signing of the Chautauqua Lake Consensus Strategy Memorandum of Agreement by board president Linda Barber.
In its motion, the CWC board lauded the MOA as way to bring about a collaborative, science-based approach to improving the health of the lake, and to ensure that any herbicide treatments carried out within the lake are performed in a targeted manner that reduces the adverse impacts of herbicides on the ecologic health. The CWC also recognized that the MOA serves as a first step in creating a comprehensive plan of action for the lake.
The CWC board also expressed its hopes to see a formal recognition in the future of the importance of the lake’s ecology by the county and a recognition that all aquatic plants are not weeds and not invasive, and that aquatic plants play an important role in providing habitat and food to local wildlife. Additionally, the CWC board said that as the county’s collaborative plan moves forward, they would hope to see a focus on the health of the watershed and the role the watershed plays in the health of the lake.
Meanwhile, the CWC will continue to work toward its mission of preserving and enhancing the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams and watersheds of Chautauqua County by focusing on conserving lands within the watersheds that play a critical role in water quality, by encouraging best land management practices and by educating the public on the steps they can take in their own yards to improve the health of Chautauqua County’s waterways.
New York State has awarded a Parks Grant in the amount of $90,849 to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy for the establishment of the 77-acre Cassadaga Lakes Nature Park on Upper Cassadaga Lake in the Town of Pomfret. The site contains important forest lands and wetlands that filter stormwater runoff to Upper Cassadaga Lake from 1,800 acres of roadways and farmland above the site. This grant, along with approximately $65,000 in funding already donated or pledged to the CWC for the project, will help with the approximately $120,000 in purchase costs for the site.
“We were very excited to learn of the State’s $90,849 grant to CWC to purchase the property for a nature park on 77 acres along Route 60 on Upper Cassadaga Lake,” said CWC Executive Director John Jablonski III. “Through the Cassadaga community campaign effort, community support for this has been wonderful. Cassadaga-area organizations, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and the legislature all were instrumental in this grant application process, as well as in securing other funds for the project. In addition to the State grant, more than $65,000 has been raised locally to support this project from foundations, families and organizations.”
Plans for the park include walking trails, a picnic area, observation towers and blinds to allow for year-round recreation. The CWC will continue its capital campaign for the park, which kicked off in November with a goal of $200,000 to fully fund all of the planned amenities for the site.
“We want the Cassadaga Lakes Nature Park to be a place where County residents and visitors can go to experience the beauty of nature — which is so beneficial to the human spirit — with a walk through the woods or a family picnic alongside a pretty pond,” Jablonski said. “This will be a place where children can catch tadpoles or just go play in the woods. Visitors to the park will be able to hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, birdwatch, walk dogs and fish.”
The CWC anticipates closing on the land purchase in the summer of 2019, with the majority of access improvements to be constructed in spring and summer 2020 for a projected fall 2020 opening.