Chautauqua Lake Association Hosts NYSDEC/Army Corps Algae Mitigation Project

Lakewood, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is collaborating with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to implement a demonstration project that will remove algae from Chautauqua Lake and help mitigate future HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms).

AECOM, “the world’s premier infrastructure firm” according to its website, has been contracted to manage the demonstration project. AECOM has also been piloting similar demonstration projects at Lake Agawam in New York and at sites in Florida.

The Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) headquarters facility in Lakewood will serve as the host site for the demonstration project. The CLA facility is situated on the shoreline of the lake’s south basin, which experiences the greatest prevalence of HABs.

AECOM equipment will be arriving this week with in-lake operations scheduled to commence August 24, 2020.

CLA Executive Director Douglas Conroe said, “We welcome having the opportunity to assist with this innovative project. It fits perfectly into our role of investigating and performing multi-faceted adaptive lake management.”

The CLA is deeply involved with HAB programs. Its volunteers collect HAB samples for the DEC/ NYSFOLA (New York State Federation of Lakes Association) HAB analysis program, and, since 2013, CLA Director Conroe has collaborated with SUNY ESF’s (State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) HAB monitoring and analysis program.

In support of SUNY ESF’s participation with the Bowling Green State University’s algal analysis program, CLA also collects algal samples from across Chautauqua Lake to aid development of a new instrument that will provide improved algal analysis data.

The CLA also inputs the DEC NYHABS website that provides information to the public about the actual locations of known HABs on Chautauqua Lake along with providing HAB information to the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

Conroe added, “The fact that AECOM is committed to providing an environmentally safe method is especially encouraging. No chemicals will be placed in the lake by the project and the removed algae will be recycled for productive use. We thank the Governor for designating Chautauqua Lake as one of twelve NYS lakes to receive a special focus that will hopefully in the end provide solutions for all NYS lakes.”

Learn to identify a HAB

You can learn how to identify HABs with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Photo Gallery at

Avoid HABs

According to the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services website, HABs present a public health risk to people and pets. Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Director of Health and Human Services, says, “Not all blooms are hazardous, but the Health Department recommends taking the following precautions:

When swimming, wading, or boating, avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.  This applies to everyone – adults, children, and animals.

Don’t fish or eat fish caught from areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.

Pay attention to beach closures, advisory signs, press releases, and websites.  Never swim at beaches that are closed.

Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, bloom or no bloom.”

Waterkeeper Alliance Welcomes Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium

New Affiliate to Protect Local Water

The world’s largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water, the Waterkeeper Alliance, has welcomed the Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium as a new Waterkeeper Affiliate.

In its role of fighting for clean water worldwide, the Waterkeeper Alliance connects and mobilizes over 300 Waterkeeper groups. As chair of the Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium, local resident and educator Melanie Smith will lead the group’s work to protect and preserve the entirety of the Conewango Creek watershed by combining firsthand knowledge of the waterway with an unwavering commitment to the community’s rights to clean water and environmental justice. 

“The Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium will have an incredibly important job,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Waterkeeper Affiliates defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water, from law-breaking polluters to irresponsible government officials. Until our public agencies have the means necessary to protect us from polluters, and the will to enforce the law, there will always be a great need for people like the Consortium to fight for our right to clean water.” 

The Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium will be an advocate for Conewango Creek, its lakes and its tributaries, working to protect and restore water quality through community action and enforcement. Smith, chair of the group, stated: “Our Waterkeeper Affiliate’s aim is to provide strong advocacy that will result in clean water for all citizens, whether they rely on it for drinking or recreation and to maintain the ecological integrity of the waterways within the Conewango Creek watershed.”

The Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium is sponsored by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association. The Consortium will work on water-related issues affecting the water bodies included in the Conewango Creek watershed.  Those water bodies include Chautauqua, Cassadaga and Bear Lakes, the Chadakoin River, and Cassadaga Creek in New York, as well as all of the headwaters and the main stem of Conewango Creek. A main goal of the Consortium is to be the voice of protection for the region’s water, both surface and ground, and the creatures who depend on it. This will be achieved utilizing research-based materials which will guarantee factual information to the public. The Consortium will also provide a means for the public to report citizen science or improper practices. Visit the Consortium’s website at for more information and to learn how to get involved.

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect over 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. For more information about the global organization please visit: