Chautauqua Lake Association Ends Summer Harvest Season

IMG_1076LAKEWOOD, N.Y. (September 25, 2013) The Chautauqua Lake Association announced that over 15 million pounds of aquatic vegetation and storm debris were removed from the lake this summer. Three crews of CLA employees worked 10-hour days along with Cummins Engine volunteers and Welfare-to-Work participants to tackle the necessary work.

Lake cleanup efforts began in May and continued through September, but the CLA enters their off season with much more work to be done.

“As our season ends, each piece of harvesting equipment is removed from the lake, scrubbed clean and inspected,” said Doug Conroe, President of the Chautauqua Lake Association. “Throughout the fall and winter, the equipment is tuned up, repaired and painted to ensure the best performance in the following year,” he said. The CLA maintenance schedule keeps off-season down time to a minimum.  Regular maintenance of the harvesting equipment ensures that the CLA is able to fulfill their mission and focus their financial resources on staffing rather than replacing broken equipment.

Continued funding for the CLA is vital to their success. One-third of their annual operating budget comes from local foundations and another third comes from member support. The rest of their budget comes from government agencies including many county and state-level grants. An additional $20,000 was accumulated in 2013 through special CLA fundraising events such as the Ice Pick, Paddle for the Lake, Yacht for Pops and annual Light the Lake flare sales.

“Our events help us supplement the crucial grant funding that allows us to provide our annual services,” said Paul Swanson, General Manager for the CLA. “The money we acquire helps fund our summer staff and meet the needs of our lake,” he said. Over 116 Cummins Engine employees donated over 450 hours to aid the CLA crews in lake maintenance efforts. Participants from the Welfare-to-Work program also help with staffing by working over 350 hours on debris barges.

“Our crews harvested 14,892,000 pounds of vegetation as well as an additional 768,000 pounds of wood debris from the lake this year,” said Swanson. The high winds that devastated the region in the early part of spring and through the summer attributed higher than normal wood debris, branches and down trees floating in the lake. This debris posed a severe risk to boaters on the lake. County Executive Greg Edwards understood the urgency of the lake conditions, so his office provided an emergency dump site for wood to be disposed of.

For more information about the Chautauqua Lake Association or to learn about membership, visit the CLA on the web at www.chautauqualakeassociation.org or call 716-763-8602. You 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.