Applications Available in January for Chautauqua County Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes & Waterways

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A successful streambank restoration project on Dewittville Creek that was co-funded by the 2% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes & Waterways.
A successful streambank restoration project on Dewittville Creek that was co-funded by the 2% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes & Waterways.

Chautauqua County will again be offering grants to improve our lakes and waterways. The 2021 round of the County’s 2% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes and Waterways will open on January 1, 2020 and will close on April 1, 2020.

Applications will be available online at www.chqgov.com/legislature/Occupancy-Tax-Information. Hard copies of the applications will also be available at the offices of the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Community Development at 201 West Third St., Suite 115, in Jamestown, N.Y. and at 2 South Portage St. in Westfield, N.Y. during normal business hours on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“The projects that we fund provide long-lasting water quality benefits by reducing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from entering our lakes and waterways,” said Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator Dave McCoy. “When we reduce the amount of nutrients, we reduce the occurrence of nuisance aquatic vegetation and algae and improve the environmental health of our aquatic resources.”

The 2% Program offers grant funds from $500 to $40,000. The program has a variety of projects in its portfolio including streambank and lakeshore stabilization projects on private properties, municipal stormwater, transportation infrastructure drainage projects, and agricultural projects aimed at reducing nutrient laden runoff. The program has also co-funded large aquatic resource projects like the Findley Lake Dam Rehabilitation.

“Projects located within the Lake Erie, Bear Lake, Cassadaga Lakes, Findley Lake, and Chautauqua Lake watersheds are eligible,” said Dave McCoy. “We encourage applicants to collaborate with local conservation organizations and engineering professionals when preparing applications. A well-prepared application with a narrative and plan that describes the design, implementation techniques and the anticipated water quality benefits of the project has a higher probability of being funded. We like to see projects that leverage funding from State and Federal Agencies as well as contributions from the landowner. The grant program does not require land owner contributions, but doing so demonstrates that the applicant is committed to improving water quality and that the project will be maintained over time.”

“Since the Occupancy Tax Program’s inception, the county has funded some very beneficial and creative water quality improvement projects,” said Stephen Abdella, Acting Chautauqua County Executive. “This innovative grant program, which is funded by utilizing part of the five percent occupancy tax for the rental of lodging units in the County, has positive environmental and economic impacts as our lakes and streams are further enhanced and protected so they can continue to be enjoyed by our residents and visitors.”

For more information, please call Dave McCoy at (716) 661-8915 or (716) 753-4061.