The creation of the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance is good news for those who care about the future of Chautauqua Lake and its watershed.
For six years, the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission acted as an intermediary between the Chautauqua County Legislature and the groups focused on helping Chautauqua Lake.
The Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance will be a 501(c)3 organization that works with area lake and watershed organizations to promote and implement recommendations from the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan and the Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy. Specifically, the alliance is taking action to prioritize projects, secure state and federal funding and allocate resources. While the CLMC has helped focus lake issues for legislators and spurred several important studies, the alliance will be able to find and accept money from outside the area to to implement strategies contained in existing studies.
The alliance has garnered support from entities including local municipalities, the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. It has already received pledges of support, but area officials are figuring out the alliance's board composition, membership fees and how residents can be involved as "friends" of the group.
The issues surrounding Chautauqua Lake are numerous and complicated. As Doug Conroe, Chautauqua Lake Association president, stated in The Sunday Post-Journal, lake maintenance will always be necessary and the lake's health is measured differently by different individuals - water quality and chemical properties are more important to some, while clarity and the abundance of plant growth is important to others. Clarity, chlorophyll, nutrient abundance, algae presence and tributary sediment inflow all affect the lake's clarity in combination with things that aren't under human control like summer rainfall, temperatures and sunlight.
A strong voice with the ability to raise large amounts of money - hopefully from sources outside Chautauqua County - will better help us control the human factors impacting the lake. There are several groups who have Chautauqua Lake's best interests at heart. The Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance will help them better coordinate their efforts and raise the money needed to restore Chautauqua Lake to its former glory.