CLA’s Watercraft Steward Program Sees An Increase In Regional Lake Activity in 2020

Lakewood, NY — The Chautauqua Lake Association’s Watercraft Steward AIS Spread Prevention Program Reports show that there was a significant increase across the board in total surveys, interactions, and boats monitored by Stewards in 2020. The full reports are available to the public and can be downloaded here.

From May through September of 2020, Stewards were active Friday through Monday at public launches on Chautauqua Lake, Cassadaga Lake, and at two Lake Erie harbors.

There were 19,650 boats and 39,528 people seen by stewards in 2020, an increase of 9,753 boats and 19,727 people from 2019. Long Point was the busiest Chautauqua Lake launch in 2020 with 2,822 boats. Bemus and Mayville followed close behind with 2,390 and 2,385 boats respectively.

The report shows that 85 percent of boaters took prevention measures and 99 percent of boaters agreed to an inspection of their vessel. Additionally, 81 percent had previous contact with a steward.

Motorboats (14,165) made up a vast majority of the watercraft recorded on the lake, and there were over 4,000 kayaks in the water in 2020. Forty-six percent of the watercraft were for recreation purposes, and fifty-two percent for fishing. 

The Boat Stewards surveyed lake users from 39 different states. The majority of the boaters were New York residents (10,520). Neighboring states of Pennsylvania (2,650) and Ohio (1,213) also frequented the lake. Visitors also came from West Virginia (171) and 35 other states (325). There were also 4,771 boats recorded that were not registered in 2020. 

In the summer of 2020, CLA’s Watercraft Stewards observed the anticipated invasive species Eurasian Watermilfoil and Curly Leaf Pondweed, in addition to common natives Eel Grass, Elodea, and Coontail. 

As part of a spread prevention and awareness program funded through a NYS grant, CLA’s Watercraft Stewards regularly interacted with boaters at public launches. Inspections are performed, vegetation is removed when detected and survey results are recorded into a state-wide database.

The CLA anticipates to again have 10-13 stewards actively working weekends at seven launches on Chautauqua Lake, plus Cassadaga Lake, Barcelona Harbor and Dunkirk Harbor. Anyone who is interested in furthering the CLA’s mission to keep Chautauqua Lake usable for all residents and visitors is welcome to apply for open positions in the the Watercraft Steward Program. Applications can be found at www.chautauqualakeassociation.org/employment.