Congress Passes Legislation to Benefit Chautauqua Lake

Article Contributed by
Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

On October 23, President Trump signed into law S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which includes a provision to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to partner with Chautauqua County to complete a feasibility study to develop ecosystem restoration and flood risk management projects for Chautauqua Lake.  Chautauqua County is very appreciative for the support of Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Tom Reed to include this project in S. 3021.

The County is eager to work with the USACE and other stakeholder individuals and entities in the County to restore the water quality health of Chautauqua Lake.

“Our lakes and waterways remain a critical component to ensuring the economic success we care about here in Chautauqua County,” Rep. Tom Reed said. “We will continue to work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure fair access to funding to restore Chautauqua Lake and boost jobs.”

County Executive George Borrello said, “Thanks to the help of the County’s congressional delegation, we’re excited to see Congress pass this important step towards addressing the challenges in Chautauqua Lake.  Much work still needs to be done, but passage of this bill will allow the County to have an exceptionally experienced and powerful new partner in restoring Chautauqua Lake.”

The County initially requested the development of a Chautauqua Lake restoration project in the fall of 2016 when it submitted to the USACE a request for project authorization as part of their Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development.  In the request, the County requested the “assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remediate water quality and other hydrological impairments of ChautauquaLake, New York. The lake is an important environmental, economic, and recreational resource to the County and region. The County is interested in working in collaboration with the Corps on a feasibility study to assess potential aquatic ecosystem restoration, sedimentation and shoreline remediation, watershed erosion, and water recreation projects for Chautauqua Lake.”

Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Reed were successful in including the language in S. 3021.  The bill is commonly known as the Water Resources Development Act, which is passed biennially by Congress to authorized USACE programs and projects. The next step in the process will be for the USACE to receive initial funding in the federal budget to begin the feasibility study process.