CWC Wetland Tour Set For Today

This summer, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is seeking public and agency support to conserve two sites: 11 acres of property at Whitney Bay, which including 8 acres of wetlands and floodplain and 0.7 acre of wetlands at Whitney Point, which will expand the CWC’s Prendergast Creek Wetland Preserve to 7 acres.

Only 10 percent (or about 1 mile) of the Chautauqua Lake shoreline remains in a natural, undeveloped condition. These natural and healthy shorelines act as pollution filters and provide good fish and wildlife habitat, and because they are scarce, need to be conserved in order to maintain the water quality and ecological health of the lake. In fact, a recent EPA National Lakes Assessment found that the amount of natural shoreline habitat on a lake was the strongest determinant of the lake’s health-even more so than nutrient loading.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will hold a “Save Our Shores!” tour of the Whitney Bay wetland site today from 4-5:30 p.m. Biologists Twan Leenders, president of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, and Janis Bowman, professor of biology at Jamestown Community College and a CWC director, will lead the tour and point out the many important ecological and wildlife values of the site.

The Whitney Bay site possesses more than 400 feet of lakefront and features a field of water lilies in the lake and red maple swamp on shore. The lake in front of this site also has some of the most diverse aquatic plant habitats on Chautauqua Lake including emergent water lilies and native plants that provide important nursery habitat for a variety of fish species. This aquatic plant community makes it a favored fishing spot for largemouth bass and other prized game and panfish as well as habitat for a variety of waterfowl, snakes, amphibians and turtles.

The site is located 0.2 mile north of Willow Run Golf Course on West Lake Road (Route 394), Mayville. If you would like to join the tour, waterproof boots, long pants, long sleeves, hats and insect repellent are recommended. The tour is open to the public, with a suggested $5 donation from non-members.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported primarily by membership donations. CWC’s mission is to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the lakes, streams and watersheds of the Chautauqua region. Over the past 20 years, the organization has conserved 718 acres across Chautauqua County and 2 miles of Chautauqua Lake and Outlet shoreline habitats. For more information on supporting this project or CWC’s conservation activities, call 664-2166, visit chautauquawatershed.org or follow us on Facebook.com/Chautauqua Watershed.