Failed Bridge Abutment In Bemus Point Reused As Stabilization Tool

Pictured is the site of a stream bank stabilization project in Bemus Point. A failed bridge abutment was compromised during a November rainfall. Money from the county’s 2 percent bed tax Lakes and Waterways Reserve was used to break the abutments down and the concrete used to stabilize the streambank to prevent erosion in the channel.

BEMUS POINT — The Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District has partnered with the Chautauqua County Legislature and a Bemus Point landowner to address a recent problem along Bemus Creek that had the potential to increase erosion and sediment input into Chautauqua Lake.

Using money from Chautauqua County’s 2 percent Lakes and Waterways Reserve, a failed bridge abutment was broken down and reused onsite for bank stabilization.

After the large rainfall in the Chautauqua Lake Watershed experienced in November, the abandoned bridge abutments were compromised, causing one side to fall into the creek. Due to the size of the concrete structures, flow was severely restricted in the channel. Reserve funds were used to break up the large concrete walls into manageable pieces, that were in turn stacked and keyed into the bank to provide protection from future storm events.

“David Spann, district field manager of the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District, immediately after becoming aware of the situation, assessed the situation, developed a plan of remediation and secured a contractor quote to do the work,” said County Legislator Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point.

“Dave brought this to my attention because it was in my district, and we discussed the urgency to get the work done before the creek was swollen by melting snow from a thaw. I immediately submitted an emergency resolution to secure the funds, which was approved by the Legislature, and Dave coordinated getting the work done promptly before the end of the year. The residents of Oriental Park have been spared the devastation of flooding that certainly would have occurred had this situation not been remedied.”

“Conservation districts are uniquely set up and prepared to be able to expedite such a project,” said Fred Croscut, Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District chair. “Through cooperation between the District and our County Legislature, we have the ability to timely address critically eroding areas, improve water quality and mitigate potential flood concern.”

Chautauqua County has a five percent bed tax from the rental of lodging units within the county. Three percent of the revenue generated from the tax is utilized to increase tourism, conventions, trade shows, special events and other directly related and supporting activities including business in the county. Two percent of the bed tax is utilized solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and tributaries in Chautauqua County.