The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, now in its 22nd year of operation, has a mission to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams and watersheds of the Chautauqua region. How does it accomplish its mission? By assisting you - the private landowners, businesses, institutions, and governments that own lands in our county - with technical assistance and opportunities to conserve and enhance your land to maintain or improve its watershed functions, habitat value and scenic value. CWC's programs are summarized in the slogan "Healthy Landscapes-Healthy Waters." Our Healthy Landscapes - Healthy Waters Program takes a two-prong approach to conservation: 1) provide watershed conservation information to landowners and encourage and engage them to undertake practices to enhance or conserve the conservation values of their properties, and 2) apprise landowners of the opportunities and benefits of various means of conserving habitat and implementing conservation agreements or real estate transactions to permanently conserve sites of high conservation value county-wide.
Our precious lakes, streams and ground waters can only remain healthy if the landowners of the landscapes comprising our watersheds (basins) carefully steward their lands. Research shows that pristine, forested watersheds are most desirable for collecting, storing, filtering and delivering clean waters to waterways. At present, landscapes feeding waters to our streams and lakes have a lot of uses that impair the natural water storage and cleansing functions of a watershed. Urbanization of our landscapes and agricultural activities tend to degrade the waters. Roof tops, graded yards, driveways and parking lots, plowed fields, roads and ditches concentrate waters and pollutants and deliver them with enhanced force to the nearest waterway.
We all live and work in a watershed. It is up to each of us to learn what we can do with the property that we each control to enhance it and protect it so that it helps our waterways and our living environment. Our time of ownership of property is very short, but the impacts of how we treat the land will be with our descendants for decades, if not centuries. The land is not ours to exploit. We are the caretakers of our land for the children and families of generations who will follow us.
So what can you do? We encourage you to seek information on creating a "healthy landscapes" for "healthy waters." Please:
visit the "Watershed Care" pages at the CWC website at www.chautauquawatershed.org to learn more about caring for your watershed
sign up at our website for our e-news and the electronic version of our The 'Shed Sheet newsletter to receive watershed care information and be informed of upcoming programs and tours
like us on Facebook
attend upcoming tours and programs
become a member of CWC
attend municipal board meetings and communicate with state and federal elected officials to invest in laws, policies and practices that will give us healthy landscapes for healthy waters
if you own wetlands, lakeshore, streamside or headwater forest lands contact the CWC to learn more about the actions you may take to enhance your yard, address existing erosion or other water quality problems, or conserve your acreage. State and federal income tax benefits may be available to owners who choose to permanently conserve their properties.
The CWC, with funding from the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation and NYS Conservation Partnership Program administered by the Land Trust Alliance, has conservationists available to meet with you to explore these stewardship opportunities. Contact conservationist Jane Conroe at email@example.com or the CWC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 664-2166 or for assistance.
The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a local 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. It has worked with willing landowners to conserve 688 acres of land at 24 sites across Chautauqua County. Please join CWC's Becky Nystrom, professor of biology at JCC, to view wildflowers and tour potential forest conservation land along Chautauqua Creek at Lake Erie at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 26.