Who We Are
The mission of the Chautauqua Lake Association is to continue as the “Steward of Chautauqua Lake” serving to the extent that our resources will allow by:
- Providing effective and efficient lake maintenance services for the benefit of all Chautauqua Lake users.
- Promoting and facilitating the ongoing scientific study of the Chautauqua Lake and its surrounding ecosystem.
- Participating in/and or cooperating with local, state and federal lake management programs, and/ or applicable regulatory agencies in existence or being formed.
- Educating the community about Chautauqua Lake’s ecosystem and environmental lake management practices.
Why We Are Here
Our priority is to keep Chautauqua Lake safe, fun, clean and ecologically healthy for residents and visitors alike.
And, to preserve Chautauqua Lake for future generations.
What We Do
The CLA is more than lake maintenance.
Although we are mainly known for our in-lake program of seasonal harvesting of the annual nuisance aquatic vegetation, we also provide safe waterways for lake users by removing debris and clearing clogged navigational lanes. In addition we offer a unique shoreline service that assists lakefront owners with the burden of cleaning their shorelines and we offer weed disposal services to businesses and homeowners as they clear their lakefront. We have recently performed successful dredging projects on lake tributaries and are investigating other needed dredging work. In addition we are exploring the possibility of offering additional shoreline assistance programs for 2017 in response to the public concern about the need to increase shoreline maintenance.
The CLA performs extensive scientific monitoring and provides invasive species spread prevention programs. In 2016, we initiated the first multi-site watercraft steward program in Chautauqua County. We contract annually with Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists for plant inventory and density analysis and monitoring in addition to other lake research needs. We provide a Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring program along with a water quality monitoring program. Our information is shared with governmental agencies and many collaborating parties. It also assists us with our future lake maintenance planning.
Annual funding for our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is based on governmental support, foundation support , member contributions and fundraisers. Each year we look for additional funding opportunities and grants to assist us with funding lake needs and to allow us to offer improved services. For example, our 2016 new fundraisers and expanded dredging program provided us with additional income that kept us from implementing further program reductions beyond the reduction that we had to implement during the past several years due to realities of the economy. Our all volunteer Board of Directors insists on operating within a balanced budget in order to avoid negatively affecting future years’ services.
We offer education to the public through our website and Facebook. We also participate in many community programs such as Conservation Days, Lake Rallies and Service Club presentations. Our full-time staff is continually educated with new trends and techniques to provide the most cost effective and efficient ways to maintain our equipment and manage the annual plant growth in Chautauqua Lake. We collaborate with all local environmental and lake related organizations and participate in NYS Federation of Lakes Association programs.
Where We Operate
The CLA utilizes a diversified inventory of equipment in order to meet the lake maintenance needs of Chautauqua Lake. No other lake association is known to have such a significant equipment inventory. CLA personnel operate the equipment during the summer and then fully service the vessels during the winter months. All equipment is maintained in “as new” condition which minimizes downtime during the intensive summer season.