County Lakes, Waterways Grant Applications Available

Residents who desire to help maintain their watershed now have access to a little help: the 2013 Chautauqua County Lakes and Waterways Grant.

According to Jeffrey Diers, the Chautauqua County watershed coordinator, these grants provide funding for the enhancement and protection of lakes and waterways through the 2 percent occupancy tax solely dedicated to the county’s water resources. Applications may be submitted by various groups and organizations, including: nonprofit, government, businesses and corporations, public and private schools, and all landowners of Chautauqua County.

Examples of successful projects which have been funded under this program in the past include but are not limited to: streambank, shoreline and ditch stabilization, sediment retention basins, watergardens, buffer strips, and habitat improvement projects.

While these grants are a way for businesses to mitigate negative impacts upon the watershed, they are also a way for homeowners to blend home-improvement and ecological responsibility.

Household paradigms such as clogged rain gutters, excessive impermeable surfaces, and phosphate-enriched home products all detract from the overall health of the watershed.

Interested homeowners might consider applying for a grant to fund a rain garden project for their home, as an example. Unnecessarily constricted rain gutters promote erosion and sediment movement.

As a remedy, rain gardens are becoming popular amongst homeowners. Rain gardens are typically small, flower-based gardens placed where rain gutters drain. These gardens help to mitigate sediment migration threefold: By slowing down the velocity of drained water, by increasing permeable surfaces and by allowing vegetation to cling to sediment with its roots.

For homeowners, rain gardens are only one example of projects which could be awarded with grant money. Homeowners are encouraged to do research and be creative.

Applications and instructions for the grant are available online at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us. Once at the County Legislature’s home page, navigate to the link for occupancy tax forms.

Alternatively, grant applications are also available at www.planningchautauqua.com, by clicking on the watershed management link and navigating to the “2% Bed Tax Grants.”

For more information or assistance with the application process, contact Diers at 661-8915, or by email at diersj@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

Completed applications are due by 4 p.m. on June 1. Applications may be sent to: Jeffrey Diers, Watershed Coordinator, Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development, 200 Harrison Street, Suite 300, Jamestown, N.Y. 14701.