‘Stewards Of The Lake’

LAKEWOOD – The Chautauqua Lake Association Board of Directors launched their annual fund drive directed at involving individuals and local businesses in lake maintenance funding. Reinforcing the lake association’s slogan that “a clean lake is everyone’s business,” extra attention is being given to the CLA’s annual fund drive campaign for 2013.

The annual fund drive campaign kicked off on March 1 and will continue through September of this year. Funds collected are needed to help cover the operating cost of equipment, employment and maintenance services on Chautauqua Lake. The clean-up is a direct benefit to residents and tourists of the region and supports the local economy by addressing Chautauqua Lake’s needs.

“We must secure funding from all sectors of the community to be able to offer the programs that Chautauqua Lake will require this year,” said Doug Conroe, president of the Chautauqua Lake Association. “We are searching out every possible funding source.”

Last year the CLA was able to assemble funding from governmental service agreements, foundation support, special fundraisers and the annual fund drive.

“Although some of those sources may be in jeopardy in the future, the need for funding the necessary annual lake maintenance will not go away,” Conroe said.

As the steward of Chautauqua Lake, only the CLA provides maintenance services for all 13,000 acres of lake surface and 41 miles of shoreline.

“Water chestnut, Eurasian water milfoil, curly leaf pondweed and other non-native aquatic vegetation species have found their way into Chautauqua Lake,” said Conroe. “These invasive species along with blue-green algae pose major health concerns and limit lake usability. Part of our role is to stop those negative impacts as well as removing debris, but it costs money to do that,” said Conroe.

Thanks to the CLA, more than 15-million pounds of nuisance vegetation and debris were removed from the lake in 2012, an action that was welcomed by residents and tourists alike.

The large-scale clean-up in 2012 was a direct result of last year’s successful fund drive combined with governmental and foundation participation. CLA officials believe that a successful fund drive in 2013 will enable a full service, 12-week program to commence in June just in time for the main summer recreational season. Three crews and more than 20 pieces of machinery are at the organization’s command, but a spring response from the community is needed in order to move forward. Every donation helps to make a difference and is tax deductible due to the CLA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit status.

Individuals interested in paid summer work crew positions available for the coming season are encouraged to call the CLA office for more information. The CLA also will continue to participate in the Welfare to Work Program and has many corporate volunteer and sponsorship opportunities available.

For more information about the Chautauqua Lake Association, the annual fund drive campaign or to inquire about work or volunteer opportunities, visit the CLA on the web at www.chautauqualakeassociation.org or call 763-8602. One can also stay updated by visiting the CLA on Facebook.

The CLA’s mission is to provide effective and efficient lake maintenance services for the benefit of all Chautauqua Lake users. As the “Stewards of the Lake,” the CLA serves to promote and facilitate the ongoing scientific monitoring of Chautauqua Lake and its ecosystem.