The Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District has partnered with the County Legislature and a Bemus Point landowner to address a recent problem along Bemus Creek that had the potential to increase erosion and sediment input into Chautauqua Lake. Using funds from Chautauqua County 2% Lakes and Waterways Reserve, a failed bridge abutment was broken down and reused onsite for bank stabilization.
After the large rainfall in the Chautauqua Lake Watershed experienced in November, the abandoned bridge abutments were compromised, causing one side to fall into the creek. Due to the size of the concrete structures, flow was severely restricted in the channel. Reserve funds were used to break up the large concrete walls into manageable pieces, that were in turn stacked and keyed into the bank to provide protection from future storm events.
“David Spann, District Field Manager of the Chautauqua County SWCD, immediately after becoming aware of the situation, assessed the situation, developed a plan of remediation, and secured a contractor quote to do the work,” said County Legislator Pierre Chagnon. “Dave brought this to my attention because it was in my district, and we discussed the urgency to get the work done before the creek was swollen by melting snow from a thaw. I immediately submitted an emergency resolution to secure the funds, which was approved by the Legislature, and Dave coordinated getting the work done promptly before the end of the year. The residents of Oriental Park have been spared the devastation of flooding that certainly would have occurred had this situation not been remedied.”
Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District Chair Fred Croscut said, “Conservation Districts are uniquely set up and prepared to be able to expedite such a project. Through cooperation between the District and our County Legislature, we have the ability to timely address critically eroding areas, improve water quality and mitigate potential flood concern.”
Chautauqua County has a five percent (5%) occupancy or “bed tax” from the rental of lodging units within the County. Three fifths (3%) of the revenue that is generated from this tax is utilized to increase tourism, conventions, trade shows, special events and other directly related and supporting activities including business in the county. The two fifths (2%) bed tax is utilized solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and tributaries in Chautauqua County.