Alliance Members Awarded Nearly $670,000 To Improve Water Quality


The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance has partnered with its members on four successful 2021 New York State Consolidated Funding Application grants.

The awards represent a diverse range of projects, all of which serve the collective goal of maintaining and improving Chautauqua Lake and its watershed. With state funding largely unavailable in 2020, this was a competitive year for the Consolidated Funding Application program. The return of the program in 2021 has reopened a crucial avenue for stakeholders within Chautauqua County to leverage local investments into long-term lake and watershed projects. The state grants all include between 10 and 25% local match requirements, which the applicants and the Alliance worked to secure prior to the submissions.

Chautauqua County and the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District have been awarded a $30,000 New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Engineering Planning Grant for a North Chautauqua Lake Inflow and Infiltration Study. The goal of the project is to develop an engineering report to identify sources of inflow and infiltration (I&I) within Mayville and portions of Chautauqua, evaluate alternatives, and recommend improvements to the collection system. Determining potential inflow and infiltration issues in the area will allow the district to identify and plan for future maintenance and upgrades to its infrastructure, to the financial benefit of its customers and the environmental health of the surrounding watershed.

“The North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District would like to thank the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance for helping them secure this grant,” said Scott Cummings, North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District president. “With the grant the District will be able to evaluate the remaining areas of the collection system and come up with a plan to improve the infrastructure and eliminate as much inflow and infiltration as possible that will help reduce our treatment cost and improve the quality of Chautauqua Lake. The Alliance has been a great partner to work with and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Alliance Members have been awarded three Water Quality Improvement Program grants from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, including $213,057 to the town of Chautauqua for the Chautauqua Roadside Swales Stabilization Project. These swale improvements are expected to target 11 sites within the town, stabilizing an estimated 16,600 linear feet of roadside ditches. Through the construction of check dams, introduction of deep rooted vegetation, and channel stabilization these priority swales sites will help to reduce stormwater velocity, promote infiltration and biofiltration, and improve water quality in Chautauqua Lake.

“I would like to thank the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance staff for their assistance in applying for this grant,” said Don Emhardt, Chautauqua town supervisor. “I would also like to thank our highway department and the Town’s Highway Superintendent Dan Thorsell for all their work in making this program happen.”

The village of Lakewood has been awarded $250,064 for its Grandview Stormwater Management Project, which aims to construct engineered wetlands near the eastern portion of the Grandview Subdivision in order to add 100,000 cubic feet of stormwater detention. In addition to improving water quality through nutrient and sediment reduction, the project will also enhance the aesthetics of the area and reduce future flooding impacts along Route 394. The alliance through its Consolidated Foundation Grant program and the county through its 2% Occupancy Tax Lakes and Waterways Grant program has provided a large portion of the funding necessary to leverage the state’s investment in the project.

“The Village of Lakewood is grateful to join with the Town of Busti and the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance on the Grandview Stormwater Management Project,” said Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb. “This is such a needed project for the western portion of the Village and Town. It will hugely improve the flow of higher elevation stormwaters going into Chautauqua Lake. Between the water quality improvement and the flood protection, this is a win-win project. On behalf of all of Lakewood, we thank the Alliance for their expertise and guidance on this endeavor, as well as past and future projects. “

The town of North Harmony has been awarded $175,512 for the Ball Creek Stabilization Project. The project would improve stream stability (grade control), stabilize two severely eroding streambanks, reduce sediment and nutrient loading, and protect highway infrastructure along approximately 440 linear feet of Ball Creek. A local grant from the alliance’s Consolidated Foundation Grant program was used to complete the first phase of the project and leverage this state grant.

“I thank all those involved in securing funding for this project, which should help to reduce sediment loading in Chautauqua Lake and Hadley Bay,” said Rob Yates, North Harmony town supervisor. “The staff and board of the Alliance, the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District, Chautauqua County, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, and our engineer Andy Johnson of EcoStrategies have all played key roles in this project.”

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has played a role in developing both the Grandview and Ball Creek Projects, using local grants from the alliance to identify, conceptualize and engineer these and other candidate projects for implementation.

“We are excited to see these impactful projects fully funded after several years of constructive collaborations among the Town and Village leaders, Alliance, CWC, engineer and landowners,” said John Jablonski, CWC executive director.

A catalog of hard work by members supports each of these successful applications. Lakewood has pursued watershed improvements stemming from the completion of the 2018 Stormwater Management Engineering Study. The study was a successful Consolidated Funding Application grant undertaken in partnership with the town of Busti that has served as a springboard for several projects since its completion including the Busti Swales Stabilization Project, which is nearing completion. The alliance would like to acknowledge the dedicated efforts and cooperative work of Town of Busti Councilman Jim Andrews and former Village of Lakewood Deputy Mayor and Trustee Ted McCague in helping to bring the Grandview Project to fruition, both as municipal leaders as well as alliance board members. The engineering work performed by Andy Johnson of EcoStrategies has also been crucial to the success of the Ball Creek and Grandview Projects. The Town of Chautauqua has utilized its 2019 Stormwater Management Engineering Study undertaken with the village of Mayville to identify grant opportunities that benefit the lake. The town of North Harmony has utilized funding provided by local foundations via the alliance Consolidated Local Funding program to begin stabilization work on Ball Creek, successfully leveraging those efforts into this year’s state grant. The county and the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District have established their own track record of using evaluation projects like the inflow and infiltration study as building blocks to public infrastructure improvement.


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