County Officials Attend Soil And Water Field Day

MAYVILLE – While soil and water quality improvement projects are discussed often by Chautauqua County officials, on Monday they had a first-hand view of what those projects actually entail.

Hosted by the county Soil and Water Conservation District, the event brought together the County Legislature, Congressman Tom Reed, County Executive Vince Horrigan and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

The group joined at the Carlson Community Center at Mayville’s Lakeside Park prior to a tour of three project sites on the north end of Chautauqua Lake.

“We want you to see where some of this local money is going,” said Dave Spann, district field manager for the Soil and Water Conservation District.

“We’re seeing all the passions in all this start to align in terms of federal, state and local funding going in the same direction,” Horrigan said. “I think all of us together are working to a point where we’re really getting stuff done.”

The group learned first about storm water management and Lakeside Park’s phosphorus retention system.

Next, they visited Country Ayre Farm on Meadows Road in Dewittville to learn about waste management, erosion control and stream restoration.

Lastly, they visited Chautauqua Marina on West Lake Road in Mayville for information about shoreline management and stabilization.

“It’s great to see these projects firsthand,” Reed said. “These are good, high-caliber projects that will have a return on the investment directly into the community and protect the economic activity that comes from the lake’s presence.”

The projects have been funded by either the National Resources Conservation Service, the state Department of Environmental Conservation or grants from the county’s 2 percent bed tax fund.

“Agricultural pursuits across my district are a way of life, not only an economic activity for our folks,” Reed said. “By respecting and promoting that, there’s a way to find balance between agricultural activity plus protecting the watershed and waterways and I really appreciate the work you guys do.”

In terms of other waterway projects, 11 applications were received for the 2015 round of 2 percent occupancy tax funding for lake and stream protection.

The County Legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee discussed the applications last week and suggested the legislature arrange for the Department of Planning and Economic Development to set up State Environmental Quality Reviews at each site.

A total of $205,062.60 was suggested by the seven-person panel for the projects, which were recommended for Dewittville Creek; Goose Creek in Ashville; Canadaway Creek in Dunkirk; Dutch Hollow; Camp Findley; the Findley Lake dam; and Findley Lake.