The Chautauqua Lake watershed is central to the ecological and economic well-being of our region. The lake has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society of New York State due to its position as a major stopover for waterfowl migration. Maximum numbers of selected species that have been documented in the past 20 years include 615 Common Loons, 125 Pied-billed Grebes, 3000 Tundra Swans, 1200 Hooded Mergansers, 110 Lesser Yellowlegs, 250 Bonaparte’s Gulls, and 23 Black Terns. It has also long been famous as a fine sport fishing lake and for a variety of other water sports such as sailboating.
Less than six miles of the lake’s 42 mile shoreline remains undeveloped. This small remnant provides fish and wildlife habitat and places of scenic beauty for people to enjoy. The conservation and preservation of these last few remaining undeveloped shoreline areas is a priority of local conservation organizations such as the Jamestown Audubon Society and the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. An in-depth study of Chautauqua Lake has been published recently by the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development. Chautauqua Lake—Entering the 21st Century: State of the Lake Report is an up-to-date report on the condition of the lake and recommendations about actions to take that will ensure the long-term health and integrity of the lake’s ecosystem.
To view a Google map of all Atlas sites please visit this link.
Natural History Atlas sites in the Chautauqua Lake watershed include:
Chautauqua Lake Outlet Wetland Preserve
Cheney Road Marsh
Dobbins Woods Preserve
Elms Flats Wetland Preserve
Long Point State Park
North Harmony State Forest
Prendergast Creek Wetland Preserve