The Jamestown Rotary Club is partnering with the Chautauqua Lake Association to recruit volunteers to clean up and enhance water quality along the shoreline of Chautauqua Lake.
Rotary has begun its Adopt-A-Shoreline project with a $5,000 donation to help with labor and marketing costs.
By joining forces, the two community organizations hope to mobilize community groups, property owners and local governments to support Chautauqua Lake shoreline cleanup efforts. The partnership's main objective is to educate the public on the importance the lake has on the local economy and to encourage participation to maintain its beauty.
"Just like the adopt-a-highway program, which has been so successful in using volunteers to clean up our highways, the Adopt-A-Shoreline program is being introduced as a new way to help clean up the nuisance weeds and trash from Chautauqua Lake's shorelines," said Greg Jones, Rotary Adopt-A-Shoreline co-chairman. "As lead sponsor, Rotary will be implementing a public relations campaign to ask for help in several ways. Lakefront property owners will be asked to collect shoreline weeds into piles for pickup and disposal by CLA crews. As community volunteers, Rotary will be sponsoring two "Adopt-A-Shoreline" days this summer to invite community organizations, service groups, and local volunteers to rake up public shoreline weeds into piles for collection. Finally, and most importantly, Rotary is asking all local individuals and businesses to assist the project by making a financial donation to the CLA in order to fund shoreline cleanup crews and equipment to support the work of our community volunteers and property owners."
According to Rotary and CLA officials, 25 percent of Chautauqua County's tax base comes from Chautauqua Lake properties. The concern for declining lake water quality is currently threatening property values and both organizations recommend immediate action.
Although the CLA has worked to keep the lake clean, recent funding cuts have left half of the agency's maintenance equipment dry-docked. In 2010, Cummins Inc. helped the CLA by incorporating a volunteer program with their employees. Public assistance workers and private foundations also helped the Chautauqua Lake Association address its shortfalls.
"Community involvement by property owners and service organizations are a relatively untapped resource," Jones said. "We want to help close the gap to fund dedicated shoreline debris removal."
The main objectives for the groups include getting property owners and volunteers to be responsible for weed raking and getting debris to pickup points along the lake shore during summer months and land based crews will then collect and remove debris using a schedule specific to neighborhoods.
Fundraising goals are to collect an more $50,000 from property owners for shoreline cleanup. Lake users who don't own property can help further lake cleanup by donating to the CLA.
Two "Adopt-A-Shoreline Days" are scheduled for Saturday, June 30, and Aug. 4, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Mayville Lakeside Park, Bemus Point and Long Point State Park to clear the shoreline of nuisance weeds and debris. CLA officials will be available both days to remove and dispose of the collected piles of nuisance weeds. Participants are asked to bring a steel garden rake and or wheelbarrow if possible and wear gloves, wading shorts, and old running/water shoes.
To participate, call Greg Jones at 386-4161 for more information and to register volunteer groups.