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Who we are & What we do

About Us



The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was established in 1990 with a mission to preserve and enhance the quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the Chautauqua (NY) region’s lands and waters for our community.

We diligently pursues this mission so that the Chautauqua region will remain an attractive, healthy, and enjoyable place for those who live in, work in, and visit the Chautauqua region now and in the future.


We pursue our mission through land conservation, environmental education, and watershed stewardship.


We conserve lands with high ecological, hydrological, and scenic value on Chautauqua County’s natural lakeshores, along tributaries and within its watersheds and currently own and manage more than 1,250 acres of land and 35 nature preserves, all of which are open to the public for outdoor recreation and refreshment.


We promote proactive best land, wildlife, and water resource management practices and provide educational programs to raise the community’s awareness of the connection between land use and the quality and quantity of our water resources, our quality of life, and the economic prosperity of our region.


We also provide technical assistance to landowners, businesses, and municipalities so that they can better understand and implement the best land, wildlife, and water resource management practices for our region.



  • To conserve and achieve healthy ecosystems county-wide to support native plant and animal species indigenous to the region

  • To conserve and achieve high water quality used for drinking water, food production / preparation, and recreation


  • To conserve the scenic beauty of the Chautauqua County region

  • To build an awareness and understanding of the inter-connectedness of watershed land use and its impact on waterways and to use this awareness and understanding to promote best land management practices

Board & Staff Anchor

Staff & Board 


Whitney Gleason, Executive Director

Tracy Carlson, Outreach Assistant
Jill Eklund, Director of Communications

Caitlin Gustafson, Business Manager

John Jablonski III, Special Projects 

Twan Leenders, Director of Conservation
Carol Markham, Conservationist
John ("Johnny Mac") McCarthy,

       Preserve Handyman

Bethany O'Hagan, Land Specialist


Rebecca L. Nystrom, Chair

Jeanne E. Wiebenga, Vice Chair
Deborah E. Moore, Treasurer
Cheryl E. Mawhinney, Secretary

Kaitlyn L. Bentley
Janis L. Bowman
Dennis H. Collins
Michael E. Jabot
William R. Locke

Kristofor G. Sellstrom

Mary Beth Southwick 

Robyn R. Steele
Deborah C. Trefts
Ruth T. Wahl
William J. Ward

John S. Ford, ex officio


Michael K. Lyons
Thomas A. Small, in memoriam
Arthur D. Webster



Employment & Internships

Empoyment & Internships Anchor


We do not have any openings at this time.

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