Water that flows too quickly through a stream can erode the streambank and stream channel, carrying sediment and nutrients downstream. Once deposited into a lake, this sediment can leech nutrients that feed aquatic plants and algae. Conserving and improving lake tributaries can improve the overall health of the lake by reducing sedimentation and pollution.
One of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s priorities is the Tributary Conservation and Enhancement Program. Through the program, the CWC works with property owners, partners with local governments and agencies, and leverages state funds to locate sources of tributary pollution in our watersheds and address those problems. To remove pollution from Chautauqua County’s tributaries, CWC aims to create buffers and conservation easements along streambanks to separate sources of pollution, such as crop fields and livestock pastures, from the tributary.
We also undertake projects to improve streambanks and stream corridors with bioengineering. This can involve widening stream and strengthening stream channels to reduce the force of the stream’s flow during high-water events, shoring up stream banks with large rocks to reduce sedimentation and reconnecting streams to their floodplains.