The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has had a very busy summer. We continued our mission to conserve and enhance wetlands on Chautauqua Lake by undertaking a "Save Our Shores - Whitney Bay & Point Campaign" to raise funds to purchase two sites on Route 394 for conservation. The 11.9-acre Whitney Bay site has approximately 6 acres of waterfront red maple wetland, 3 acres of a mixture of shrub swamp and wet meadow, and 3 acres of old field upland along Route 394. The aquatic plant community in the lake in front of this site has the most ecologically diverse plant community in the entire lake and provides important habitat for panfish, gamefish and a variety of waterfowl and other wildlife. The 0.7-acre Whitney Point site adjoins CWC's Prendergast Creek Preserve. CWC would like to acquire the Whitney Point site, which has been maintained as a mowed campsite for decades, and allow its natural wetland vegetation to retake it as beneficial wildlife habitat.
CWC was very grateful to have had the services of three interns this summer: Krista Hoff of Jamestown, who is an undergraduate student majoring in biology at the University at Buffalo, Whitney Rappole of Bemus Point, who is a law student pursuing a career in environmental law, and Brendan Green of Bemus Point, who will be attending law school at Pace University this fall. The interns played a vital role in assisting the CWC with a variety of summer projects - invasive plant management, preserve maintenance, ecological and land ownership research, membership support and correspondence, watershed education and video production.
CWC conservationist Tricia Bergstue partnered with our three interns to produce the entertaining "Whitney for Whitney Bay" YouTube video series to inform the public about the importance of the Whitney Bay and Whitney Point sites and to raise funds for their conservation. The videos are also posted on CWC's Facebook page, with a new video posted each Wednesday. Through the fresh, creative efforts of this youthful team, CWC's Facebook following has grown from about 100 followers to more than 350 in just the last two months.
Interns Whitney Rappole, reporter, and Krista Hoff, watershed defender, prepare a “Whitney for Whitney Bay” video episode at the proposed nature preserve at Whitney Point.
Photo by Tricia Bergstue, CWC
CWC has also held multiple events this summer. Along with several preserve tours, CWC held a charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament at the Chautauqua Golf Club, its annual Member Appreciation Event and its Annual Meeting. While planning and undertaking these events, the conservation and watershed education work continued, with CWC's other conservationists providing outreach and technical assistance to lakeshore and watershed landowners. Jane Conroe has been pursuing avenues to get qualified, natural and lake-friendly landscaping design assistance for lakeshore owners, and Dave Anderson has been meeting with landowners of streams in the Goose Creek, Prendergast Creek, Dutch Hollow, Chautauqua Creek and Bemus Creek watersheds to discuss erosion control and land conservation options. Tricia Bergstue and CWC board directors Bob Lannon, Bill Locke and Mike Lyons have been seeking and obtaining permits for preserve improvements such as the additions of a preserve sign, wildlife observation blind, board walks, trails and a canoe/kayak ramp at the Loomis Goose Creek preserve - as well as cutting tree branches and installing preserve signs. CWC has also been doing boundary surveys and biological surveys on many of its preserves.
The CWC staff produce weekly electronic news briefs that go out by email to more than 1,200 people and alert them to CWC news, watershed stewardship information, CWC events and programs and complementary activities of partner organizations. To stay current with all that is happening with CWC, sign up to receive our e-news at chautauquawatershed.org or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/chautau quawatershed. You can also find out more about our mission, activities and watershed care information and/or donate to the Whitney Bay and Point Campaign by visiting our website or calling 664-2166.