Lake Alliance Ready To Take Advantage Of Experience, Technology | News, Sports, Jobs

The Chautauqua Belle is pictured making its way through an outlet near McCrae Point Park in Jamestown.

Dear Readers,

The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance is pleased to announce a new partnership with The Post-Journal, our recurring Chautauqua Current column. For those who may not be familiar with us, the alliance is a not-for-profit organization comprised of a board of directors, small staff, and diverse range of member organizations, including municipalities, lake and watershed groups, and other stakeholders.

Since 2015, we have worked together to secure funding, prioritize projects, and allocate resources to improve the health and usability of Chautauqua Lake and its watershed. A truly impressive amount of collaboration and progress has been made by our members and others dedicated to the pursuit of these goals. The Chautauqua Current is envisioned as an avenue to inform the public of these developments and the collective challenges we still face. Throughout the year, our columns will include updates on some of the wide-ranging watershed projects, in-lake maintenance programs, public outreach efforts, and research initiatives taking place on and around the lake.

One of the most unique and important characteristics of the lake is its versatility as a resource. This 13,000-acre body of water is a world class fishery, making it a prime destination for anglers, and a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Class A waterbody that provides drinking water to the public. It is a massively important driver of our regional economy, with waterfront property taxes accounting for a significant share of the overall Chautauqua County tax base, and tourism bolstering local businesses of all types. The lake’s two distinct basins provide a range of aquatic habitats, which support a myriad of plant and animal species. The lake is an ideal playground for all types of recreation, from paddle craft to pleasure cruisers. Recent major investments in waterfront access and amenities support community events and the public’s connection to the lake. Residents and visitors alike are incentivized to maintain and improve this vital ecological, economic, and culturally significant resource. The alliance strives to support projects that benefit this range of uses and users.

Municipal leaders, researchers, program managers, administrators, funders, regulators, and the public all play critical roles in the stewardship of the lake. It is our goal to bring a piece of that larger perspective to new and existing audiences alike via the Chautauqua Current. The investments being made to improve the lake, and the sources of those investments, have expanded. The cooperation and collaboration between local stakeholders has improved. The technology and tools being deployed to understand and manage the lake and watershed are constantly improving, growing our local capacity to maintain, improve and protect this vital resource.

A snow plane is pictured this winter on Chautauqua Lake near the bridge.
Submitted photos

The best thing about this narrative of improvement is that it is not over. The story will be written and expanded this season and for many years to come. In 2022, work plans will be more adaptive as we learn from the lessons of years past, and take advantage of new technology and data. Research and monitoring efforts will continue to develop, bringing us new insights into the many variables at play in this great body of water and its tributaries. Watershed projects will continue to leverage local effort and contributions into significant New York State investments. As a collaborative group working on a dynamic natural system, we must think and work in the short, medium, and long term. By using a variety of lake and watershed management techniques, we can maintain a more flexible and adaptive approach guided by multiple lines of evidence to support Chautauqua Lake. We look forward to sharing this story with you.

Jay Young is the Communications Coordinator for the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. The Alliance is a 501c3 not-for-profit member organization that works collaboratively toward an economically and environmentally healthy Chautauqua Lake and watershed by prioritizing projects, securing funding, and allocating resources. For more information, please visit

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