Forests and wetlands act as sponges and water filters. As water flows through these natural lands, they work to absorb and purify the water before it reaches our streams, drinking water supplies and lakes. Science has shown for a watershed to best preserve or enhance water quality, at least 70 percent of the land should be covered in woodlands or wetlands. In the Chautauqua watershed, only 63 percent of the land is forested or natural wetlands, which means preserving our existing woodlands and wetlands is critical to protecting our water quality.
To preserve the water quality of the Chautauqua region, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has conserved more than 1,000 acres of land at 31 sites throughout Chautauqua County. These nature preserves are open to the public for recreation and education throughout the year.