Rock Solid

MAYVILLE – At one point in time, 1955 to be specific, the shoreline behind the Chautauqua Marina stretched 30 feet out.

Now, it’s hugging near the marina due to the continued erosion caused by the lake’s waves. As a result, an initiative to protect the lake is well underway with the completion of several projects, including the shoreline in Mayville.

One such project recently completed is the shoreline management and stabilization near the marina, located on West Lake Road in Mayville. Over the past week, the county Soil and Water District hosted a field day to show elected officials completed projects and those that are still in the works. One of the sites they toured was behind the marina to get a glimpse of the newly implemented shoreline stabilization project.

According to Lou Clementi of the Chautauqua Marina, the lake flooded several years ago amid a major storm. The waves crashed onto the shore, and all the employees could do was watch. As waves continued to hit, the shoreline began to erode-causing a major problem not only for the shore but the lake. The water, he mentioned, was as high as the dock.

“We lost 4 to 6 feet of our shoreline,” Clementi said. ‘We knew that the Soil and Water Conservation District were doing projects around the lake to shore things up. We looked at alternatives on what we could put here to stop erosion.”

At the time, the marina applied for funding from the county Soil and Water Conservation. They looked at it and thought it was possible a grant could be compiled. The marina put a grant together one year, but the money was already earmarked, according to Clementi. They applied again for the project and funds were made available. Grants received came from the bed tax fund.

The project began during the summer of last year and ended a month ago, according to Ken Shearer, owner of the Chautauqua Marina. The new shoreline expands 700 feet across the marina and is comprised of flat rock. On each side of the natural rock shoreline is a concrete breakwall.

“What happened was the waves would go up the wall, collect dirt and throw it back into the lake,” Shearer said. “The natural rock that was placed will protect against erosion that has occurred in the past.”

Clementi noted that every time water would crash against the shore, 4 to 6 feet would be eroded away and transported into the lake. With the current shoreline stabilization system nothing has eroded so far, according to Clementi.

“It’s now a solid shoreline,” Clementi said. “The county legislators were very pleased to see where the money was spent and how it’s making a positive effect.”

Now, the marina is putting in native plants that can work as barrier with the flat rock. When water comes in, the plants will stop it from going into the lake and dissipate it. The project, as a result, has brought a lot of positive feedback among boaters using the marina.

“They tell us how nice the job was done, how great it looks and how effective it’s going to be in stopping erosion,” Clementi said.