Chautauqua Institution

Chautauqua Institution’s Commitment to Chautauqua Lake

 swimming

Chautauqua is committed to practicing responsible environmental stewardship and sustainability in the management of its property and as a member of the broader Chautauqua Lake Watershed community.

Current stewardship practices include recycling, composting, tree management and planting, purchase of electric trams and bio-diesel buses, Green Design standards and rewards, an energy efficiency audit and upgrades to Institution facilities, wildlife habitat preservation, and use of recycled and recyclable products.

In 2003 Chautauqua Lake was listed by New York State as “impaired waters” under the requirements of the U.S. Clean Water Act. Nutrients are the principal cause of the impairment. Storm water delivers nutrients into the lake either as phosphorus or as nitrogen contained within the chemistry of the storm water or as attachments to sediment that flows along with the storm water.

Chautauqua Institution is in a unique position to control our community’s impact on the lake. The Institution controls 100 percent of the stormwater runoff from its land without having to manage water problems presented by others.

Chautauqua Lake is critical to a strong sense of place and community for those at Chautauqua Institution and lake residents, but human impact is taking its toll.

Chautauqua Institution is committed to alleviating the stressors that are impacting Chautauqua Lake. With careful planning and dedication we are striving to minimize our impact on this beloved and important resource. Ours is a long-term commitment to improving the water quality of the lake and the natural environment in which we live.

Current Actions

  • Chautauqua Institution is currently implementing significant efforts to alleviate
  • pressure on the lake. These include:
  • Implementing a comprehensive and detailed Drainage Management Plan to reduce the amount of storm water runoff and nutrients entering the lake
  • Restoring a healthy shoreline through our Sustainable Shoreline Action Plan
  • Composting
  • Updating the Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Improving codes and regulations to minimize runoff
  • Strengthening links to community environmental stewards
  • Planning for the future

Chautauqua Lake, at 1,308 feet above sea level, is one of the highest navigable waters in North America. It offers exceptional fishing for walleye, bass, muskellunge and several species of panfish.

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Chautauqua Institution has implemented the first steps of a comprehensive Drainage Management Plan that addresses stormwater flow throughout the grounds. This is the first comprehensive action taken by a lakeside community on Chautauqua Lake.

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Did You Know?
A 2010 national study of lakes conducted by the U.S. EPA identified three main stressors that affect water quality: lack of natural shoreline habitat; physical complexity of the shoreline; and nutrient loading.

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