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Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) is excited to announce their recent success in securing over $1 million in grant funding for six stream bank stabilization projects in the Chautauqua Lake watershed. Although the Alliance received its 501(c)(3) status as a not-for-profit corporation from the Internal Revenue Service in January of this year, it has been making great strides forward in fulfilling its mission.
The Alliance mission is to facilitate the implementation of the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy by working with its members as it seeks outside funding for projects related to water quality. The Founding Membership was finalized this summer and includes 30 private and governmental bodies with an interest in a vibrant and healthy Chautauqua Lake. Improving water quality is not possible without collaboration between the watershed’s many stakeholders and was the basis for the creation of this Alliance. These recent grant awards act as proof of concept and speak to the importance of teamwork.
The 2015 Regional Economic Development Council Awards were announced on Thursday, December 10th. The Alliance, working in collaboration with a number of its members including the County, wrote six Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) – Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) grants for over $1.4 million in stream bank stabilization projects. All six applications were funded, leveraging local investment to bring in over $1 million in state dollars to benefit Chautauqua Lake.
This kind of success does not occur without a solid team working behind the scenes. “I would like to recognize the efforts of Dave Spann & Cassie Pinkoski from Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District and Mark Geise and Dave McCoy from the Chautauqua County Planning and Economic Development (PED) Department in the grant writing process” said Erin Brickley, the Alliance executive director. “This was and will be a team effort on many levels, from grant writing to local funding support by the County to the team needed for implementation. This level of environmental investment in the Chautauqua Lake watershed really deserves to be highlighted and we need to thank our local governmental representatives, including County Executive Vince Horrigan, for their steadfast support.” The WQIP grants cover 75% of each project cost while 25% of project costs needed to be funded locally. Support from the Chautauqua County legislature to cover local match funding requirements was key in being able to leverage those dollars to bring in over one million in state dollars.
The implementation team will consist of a number of Alliance member organizations as well. The County PED will focus on contract facilitation and general guidance. The Alliance will act as the grant administrator. Soil & Water will focus on permitting, design and construction management. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will be at the forefront of public education and outreach.
These stream bank stabilization projects are critical with respect to reducing sediment and excess nutrient loads flowing into the lake. The primary concern in Chautauqua Lake is the impact that excessive weed growth (including invasive species) and algal blooms have on recreational uses and drinking water. Nonpoint source pollution such as excess sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen are the major cause of excess plants and algae. Addressing the cause and not just the symptoms is an important management goal in any watershed.
The six stream bank stabilization projects are located along six high priority tributaries: Dutch Hollow Creek, West Dutch Hollow Creek, Bemus Creek, Prendergast Creek, Ball Creek, and Goose Creek.