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Chautauqua Lake Outlet Greenway

The Chautauqua Lake Outlet Greenway in the Town of Ellicott comprises eight parcels of property along the Chadakoin River, Chautauqua Lake’s primary outlet. This vegetation-heavy preserve is popular for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. It also offers a lovely view from the water, making it a common destination for boaters and kayakers.

  • Size:  83 acres

  • Year Conserved by CWC: 2008-2014

Conservation Values: Much of the Greenway designated as is a Class I wetland, due to its size, diversity of vegetative communities and presence of rare or threatened species. In addition to preserving an important habitat, the wetlands on these properties slow and filter water as it heads into the Chadakoin River.

Recreational Use: The Greenway is a popular location for birdwatching, hiking and studying vegetation. The waterfront is perfect for fishing and boating, and there are several waterfowl blinds on the shoreline.  

Location and Parking: Access to the railroad berm from the end of Denslow Road is currently the most convenient access, with a small parking area at the Pump Station building and a connection to a primitive hiking trail. There also is an entrance on Fluvanna Avenue, featuring a wooden kiosk and bench, as well as a mucky primitive hiking trail that runs from the kiosk south to the railroad berm. Additionally, access via Old Fluvanna Road has a grass trail beginning near the road, continuing through a metal gate and ending at a residential yard. Entering from the south is limited to boat access from Chautauqua Lake.

Features of Interest: This wetland is forested with broad-leaved deciduous trees and is seasonally flooded or saturated.


Trees: big shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa), locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), silver maple (Acer saccarinum)

Mussels and Crayfishes: Mussels have been found extensively in the watershed, including kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus fasciolaris), eastern pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta), clubshell (Pleurobema clava) and rayed bean (Villosa fabalis). Three species of crayfish are found in Chautauqua Lake drainage, including Orconectes obscurus.

Reptiles and Amphibians: The following species of streamside salamanders, which are considered species of concern, include the northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) and Allegheny dusky salamander (D. ochophaeus). Mudpuppy (Necturus punctatus) and short-headed garter snake (Thamnophis brachycepaha).  Turtles include the spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera) and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta).

Fish: Being that it is the only part of the Mississipi drainage in New York State, the Chautauqua Lake watershed is home to several Mississipi drainage fish, including tongue-tied minnow (Exoglossum laurae), silver shiner (Notropis photogenis), eastern sand darter (Etheostoma pellucidum) and black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei). Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) is native to Chautauqua Lake. Other important sport fish include walleye (Sander vitreum) and largemouth and smallmouth bass (Micopterus salmoides and M. dolomieu).

Mammals: Woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis), northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus), starnose mole (Condylura cristata), red fox (Vulpes fulva), beaver (Castor canadensis)

Birds: Chautauqua Lake is designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society, used by migrating and wintering waterfowl including loons, grebes and terns. Also found here are bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) and typical forest and suburban species.  The sedge wren (Cistothorus plantensisi), pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), common loon (Gavia immer), ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii), clay colored sparrow (Spizella pallida) and great blue heron (Ardea Herodias) are a few of the vulnerable bird species found at sites in the watershed.  

Wildflowers, shrubs and grasses: tall ironweed (Vernonia gigantea), toad shade (Trillium sessile), Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), wild chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), mad cap skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), purple-stemmed aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum), riverbank grape (Vitis riparia), eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Aquatic Plants: Hill’s pondweed (Potamogeton hillii), floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)

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