Lower Chadakoin River
Restoration & Activation
Since the founding of Jamestown, its Chadakoin River has been a lifeline for the community – powering industry, providing clean water, and nurturing healthy habitats for fish, wildlife, and agriculture. However, the lower part of the Chadakoin River (the 3.5-mile section of the river from Warner Dam to the Falconer Village line) was neglected for decades, posing risks to human health and properties.
In late 2021, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy developed a multi-year “Lower Chadakoin River Restoration & Activation” plan to address the many challenges facing the lower river. And in 2022, with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) recovery funds awarded to us by the City of Jamestown, we were able to implement Phase I of the plan, which included the clearing of accumulated logs and woody debris from the river channel and removing trees that were at imminent risk of falling into the river. In some areas, lumber had accumulated over many years, forming log jams that partially blocked the river and caused erosion as well as diversions in the river’s flow and flooding downstream. Well over 150 dead standing trees from the riverbanks and hundreds of cubic yards of woody debris were removed from the riverbed. We also worked to remove non-native invasive plant species and add native vegetation where possible.
In 2023, we were awarded funding from the Chautauqua County Legislature to continue our restoration work and have been busy this spring and summer removing additional hazardous log jams and woody debris in the most critical locations. We also received funding (in collaboration with the County’s Department of Economic Development and Chautauqua County’s Soil and Water Conservation District) to establish a reserve fund to quickly address emergency erosion and other pollution control needs in any of the county’s waterways. This would include new tree falls, compromised banks, eroding slopes, etc. Although these are generally small in scale, they can become a source of major sediment loss and cause structural bank damage and sedimentation if not addressed quickly and adequately. This newly established reserve fund will greatly improve the efficiency and significantly reduce the costs of emergency repairs to our streambanks and lakeshores because funds are now available to address new threats quickly, before the problems become bigger and more costly to fix.
We are very excited to take a lead role in developing the road map to protecting and restoring our county’s most valuable aquatic resources, while also exploring opportunities for sustainable and ecologically sensible recreational activities that will provide greater public enjoyment of these beautiful “blue ways” and generate the financial resources needed to support their long-term conservation. In addition, the improvements we will be able to make this year will have a very visible impact on the health and beauty of our rivers, creeks, and lakes!