Chautauqua Lake Cleanup Report

Chautauqua Lake Cleanup 2017

The Chautauqua Lake Cleanup was held on Saturday, May 21 from 8 am to 2:30pm.  There were 43 volunteers who collected 61 tires, 20 cubic yards of trash and 1040 pounds mixed metals.  This third annual cleanup was co-hosted by Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA), Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Chautauqua Co. Soil and Water Conservation District and Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance.  The Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association provided their property as the main staging area.  They also provided coffee, doughnuts and a hot dog and hamburger lunch to the volunteers as a small thank you for their efforts.  All the hosts want to thank the volunteers and sponsors for supporting this effort.

Platinum Sponsors were Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA), Rock of WNY, and the Main Landing Restaurant.  The CLA participated for the first time this year and provided 2 barges, 2 dump trucks, the weed harvester and staff to operate the equipment.   The barges and trucks helped us get a lot of stuff out of the Lake and transport it to our staging area at the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association.  Rock which participated for the second time, provided their barge with the crane.  It was instrumental in getting some very large and heavy stuff out of the lake.

Other sponsors were Gold Sponsors:  Evergreen Outfitters, United Refining Co, and Conewango Township. Bestway Container Solutions, Silver Sponsors included:  Great Lakes Tree Services, Inc, Cochran & Zandi Lumber, Inc, and Stiffler & McGraw.   Bronze Sponsors included:  Superior Tire and Rubber Co, Donald E Lewis Funeral Home, Whirly Drink Works, Betts Industries, Warren Industrial Solutions and Voty Insurance Agency.

Sue Nielsen, board member for CCWA stated “We got some very productive volunteers both on-land and on-water.  But we needed more people on the water.  We had plenty of canoes.   We were working in areas where the bigger boats couldn’t go so we had to collect the trash and move it out to an area where the barges could pick up the trash and tires. We needed more hands to help.  We got a lot of tires and trash, but there’s still a lot out there.”

“Of course, we need to thank Chautauqua County for registering our event as an Earth Day event and disposing of the trash and tires at no cost to us.  That is a critical element to any cleanup, the cost of disposal,” said Elizabeth Dropp, also a board member of CCWA.

On-land volunteers cleaned Celoron/ Lucille Ball Park, McCrea Point Park, the ball fields just off Jones and Gifford road as well as along Jones and Gifford Road itself. See photos below.

ROCK of WNY Supplied a barge and operator for the day

Registration Open for Chautauqua Lake Cleanup

Chautauqua Lake Cleanup is scheduled for Sat. May 20.  Volunteer check-in and check-out will occur at the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association in Celoron, NY.  Preregistration is required.  Click HERE to register now!

This is the third Annual Chautauqua Lake Cleanup.  Come join us in cleaning up the Lake.  Volunteer check-in will begin at 8 am.  The cleanup will run from Approximately 8 am thru 3 pm.  Coffee and doughnuts will be provided in the am and a hot dog lunch will be provided at 1 pm by the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association.

Go to the 2017 Activities Tab  towards the top of the page for more details.

Support CCWA Online May 17th, 2017

Support Conewango Creek Watershed on May 17!

Support CCWA on May 17!!

Conewango Creek Watershed Association(CCWA) is happy to announce that it once again will be included in the supported nonprofits in the “Warren Gives” online donation campaign to be held May 17, 2017 from 6 AM to 10 pm.  This is an important source of funding for CCWA which is a nearly all-volunteer organization.

This special Warren County online fund raising event involves sixteen hours of online giving with goals to raise awareness and appreciation for Warren County non-profits and to Continue reading “Support CCWA Online May 17th, 2017”

Poker Run Early Registration Deadline Extended

Bring your registrations into the office or call us to let us know you have mailed it.

The early registration for our Second Annual Conewango Creek Kayak and Canoe Poker Run has been extended to Friday, May 20 at 5 pm.  Since our move, our mail has been significantly delayed.  Right now it’s taking our mail 2 weeks to arrive even when it’s mailed in Warren.  So we have extended the deadline to help.  We are also asking that people to either drop the registrations off in person or call and let us know that you are mailing it.  Be sure to give us t-shirt size(s) so we can get them ordered.   Only early registrations received by 5pm on May 20th are guaranteed a t-shirt.  After May 20 the registration fee goes up to $30 for non-members and $25 for members and a shirt cannot be guaranteed.  A few extras shirts will be ordered and will be given out on a first-come first-served basis.  After May 27th bring the registrations to the event on June 11 instead of mailing them.  If you have any questions, email us at or call us at 814-726-1441.  Thanks for your cooperation and patience!!

River of the Year Gala Update

Register quickly and easily online for the Gala at  Online Registation

As a wrap up of our 2015 River of the Year celebration, The Conewango Creek Watershed Association is hosting a year-end Gala on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at Jackson Valley Golf Club on Rt. 69 between North Warren and Sugar Grove.  This is our last celebration event of the River of the Year events.

The Gala will start with a happy hour starting at 5:30 pm (cash bar) followed by a dinner served, buffet-style at 6:30 pm. The main course will be a “Low Country Boil” with potatoes, corn, shrimp, and sausage with spices. The price will be $21.50 per person including coffee, soft drinks, tax and gratuity. An alternate meal for those with allergies or other needs will be provided on a limited basis.  RSVP by 3 PM, Monday, October 19!

After dinner our featured speaker, Robin Foster, PhD candidate from SUNY at Buffalo, NY will talk about an elusive and intriguing resident of Western New York and Northwest PA: the Eastern Hellbender. The Hellbender is a sign of the general health of a waterway and efforts are underway to to see if these primordial amphibians exist on the Conewango. 

Robin Foster is a PhD Candidate at the University of Buffalo Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior.  After several years as an elementary school teacher, she decided to pursue her passion for wildlife and began a new career in conservation biology.  She obtained both her BA and MA degrees in biology from SUNY Buffalo State.  Robin has been involved with eastern hellbender research and conservation since 2004.  She has spent many hours in the field handling these gentle giants and is passionate about sharing these experiences with others to help spread the word about the importance of these salamanders and their freshwater habitats.

The Hellbender:  Allegheny’s Living Fossil

The Eastern Hellbender is a unique aquatic salamander found only in the eastern United States.  Hellbenders are “living fossils” that have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years, giving us a glimpse into our ecological past.  In recent years, this iconic species has declined significantly in New York and throughout its entire range.  We will discuss the natural history and conservation of this fascinating species, and learn how we can all aid in its conservation here in the Conewango watershed and throughout the Allegheny region.

We will also have a slide show and videos of highlights of all of our River of the Year activities playing throughout the evening. And the winner of our kayak package will be announced.

This Gala will also serve as our annual member meeting, and the election of directors will take place then. Any member in good standing (dues paid, etc.) may nominate another member in good standing for a director position. Each member in good standing has one vote for election of these positions. We are looking for directors willing to serve, especially from the Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties area (New York State portion of our watershed). If you are interested in serving or in nominating someone else, you can do so by making the nomination at the Gala at the time of the election.  A director term lasts 3 years.

If you have questions, you can call 814-726-1441 or email us at

If you have not paid your dues for 2015 or know someone who would like to join, dues will be collected at the event or you can renew beforehand. Checks can be mailed to our office or you can renew/join on our website here at

We look forward to seeing you at our one-of-a-kind, year-end wrap up event for our River of the Year Celebration.      RSVP by 3 PM Monday October 19!

For more information you can email us through the site or call our office at 814-726-1441.

First Conewango Creek Canoe/Kayak Poker Run

Poker Run Scheduled for June 6th, 2015


As a kick off to the 2015 River of the Year Celebration, CCWA has scheduled it’s first Canoe and Kayak Poker Run for Saturday, June 6th, 2015 with the rain date of June 13.  This is a family-friendly fundraising activity for us and funds will be used for

Paddlers Enjoying the Creek
Paddlers Enjoying the Creek

CCWA projects and expenses.  The Run will begin at the Frewsburg, NY Launch along Rt 62 west of Frewsburg.  It will end at Larimer Park in Russell, PA.  That’s a distance of approximately 11.5 miles.  Early Registration is $20 per person if they register before April 25th.  After April 25th the registration is $25.  Registered participants will get one score card for a 5 card Draw Poker hand, a t-shirt (for those registered before April 25th), a chance to win door prizes, and a picnic supper with activities or entertainment afterward.  Children are welcome to paddle along for free, but anyone under 18 years of age cannot participate in the poker hands.  A small fee can be paid for the BBQ supper for non-registrants.

“We have had folks out on the creek helping us clean the creek for the last 6 years.  We decided it was time to get people out on the creek for some fun and celebration!!  What better time to have fun on the creek than during the 2015 River of the Year Celebrations!” Says Liz Dropp, CCWA Board Member.

This Poker Run is similar to other poker runs.  The participants will paddle down Conewango Creek and stop at four stops to pick a card at each that will be recorded on their “score card.”  The fifth card will be drawn at the end at Larimer park.  There will also be an opportunity to draw an extra card in exchange for collecting litter along the creek and also to buy one additional card for a $5 donation.  The winner will be the person with the best poker hand at the end. The Grand prize will be awarded to that person. Be sure to read and understand all the rules and regulations related to the game.  Click HERE for the Rules and Regulations.

Some extra T-shirts will be ordered , but a shirt cannot be guaranteed to late registrants.  The extra shirts will be given to late registrants on a first-come, first-served basis.  So to make sure you get your shirt, register by April 25th.

Participants will have the opportunity to further support CCWA by purchasing 50-50 tickets.  The winner will receive 50% of the cash taken in on the 50-50 drawing.  There will also be door prizes that all participants will be eligible to win.  Participants must 18 years or older to participate in the Poker Run or the other drawings.

To print out the Registration Form Click HERE.  You can  then print the form, fill it out and hand-deliver or mail to our office at the address on the form.  At the current time, we are only taking checks or cash for registration.

For more information you can email us through the site or call our office at 814-726-1441.

Conewango Creek Poker Run Event

Title: Conewango Creek Poker Run Event
Location: Frewsburg, NY to Russell, PA
Description: Starts at 9am in Frewsburg and ends at Russell by 4 pm. Following the event will be a BBQ lunch, activities and entertainment. Early Registration is $20 if registered before April 25th. After April 25th, registration is $25. Participants will receive a T-shirt (with early registration), one hand of 5 Card Draw Poker, a BBQ supper and have lots of fun. Some extra T-shirts will be ordered but will be given out on a first come-first served basis for late registrations.
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2015-06-06
End Time: 16:00

We Need Your Help!!

Help us make Conewango Creek the Pennsylvania River of the Year!

The Conewango Creek was nominated for 2015 PA River of the Year by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA). The River of the Year will be determined by popular vote on the internet. We need everyone’s vote to make it. That includes all friends, relatives and family members regardless of whether they are in the Conewango Creek Watershed or in Pennsylvania. Everyone and anyone can vote if they have access to the internet and have an email address.  Spread the word to all your friends, neighbors and family! Deadline is Dec 15th. Vote now before you get caught up in holiday preparations.

Vote at

It only takes about 30 seconds to vote. Click on the Conewango Creek Photo, enter your email address and click “vote” and that’s all there is to it.

Conewango Creek


Applications were submitted which cover assets of the waterway, conservation challenges and conservation successes for the river or creek. The winning stream will be featured on a poster with that creek’s photo on it which will be distributed statewide and in the watershed. Also the winning organization will receive a $10,000 grant from PA Dept of Natural Resources and Conservation (DCNR) to celebrate the stream for one year.

If the Conewango Creek should win, the money will be used by CCWA to hold some public events to bring attention to our own local gem: The Creek itself. One requirement is to hold a sojourn or paddle trip open to the public with emphasis on education and getting people out on the water. We would like to use some of the money to have a community project to improve one of the boat launches along the lower Conewango. We plan to do something really special for our annual creek cleanup as well. Plans have yet to be finalized.

The contest is sponsored by DCNR and Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR). POWR is administering the voting on You can vote from your smart phone, tablet or computer. It’s one vote per email and per device. There are some highly populated areas we are competing with so we need a high turnout of the local people to have a chance. So ask everyone to vote for Conewango Creek.  For more information on POWR Click HERE.  For more information on DCNR’s Streams programs Click HERE.   POWR is a part of the PA Environmental Council

The Conewango Creek is a beautiful creek with a lot going for it. It really is a gem of our region with unique biodiversity. One of the purposes of the contest is to bring attention to the local streams and help people appreciate what they have in their own backyards.

Other creeks/rivers in the running are Loyalhanna Creek (SW PA), Ohio River (Pittsburgh area), Lackawanna River (NE PA), Neshaminy Creek (SE PA). The honor has only come to three streams in NW PA in the 31 years of the contest: Allegheny River, French Creek and Clarion River. The honor needs to return to NW PA for 2015!

Map with 5 Candidate Rivers
Map with 5 Candidate Rivers

The Conewango Creek is a PA based IRS designated 501 c (3) but covers the whole Conewango Creek watershed. It has board members from NYS as well as PA. Regular members come from all three counties in the watershed (Chautauqua Co. Cattaraugus Co., and Warren Co. PA.

The watershed is 900 sq. miles which is over 500,000 acres. Over half of Chautauqua County is in the Conewango Watershed and makes up 65% of the Conewango Creek watershed. Twenty percent of the watershed is on Cattaraugus Co. Only 15 % of the watershed is in Warren Co. The majority of the watershed is in NYS along with a majority of the population. That’s why we need everyone in PA and NYS to vote!

Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Wilderness

Wilderness at 50 Opens at the Crary Art Gallery in Warren, Saturday, August 30th, at 2:00 p.m.!

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness seeks to foster an appreciation of wilderness values and benefits, and to work with local communities to ensure that increased wilderness protection is a priority of the stewardship of the Allegheny National Forest. During the last ANF Forest Plan revision, more than 6,800 out of 8,200 public commentors on the draft Forest Plan wrote specifically in support of FAW and our Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest!

Toward the end of fostering a greater appreciation of wilderness values and benefits, throughout the month of September FAW and the Crary Art Gallery, a regional art museum here in Warren, will host an exhibition of wilderness images featuring many high-profile photographers to honor the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, as well as the legacy of Tionesta native and Wilderness Act author Howard Zahniser.

The show will feature photographs from throughout America’s National Wilderness Preservation System, and is titled Wilderness at 50: Photographic Reflections on the Legacy of Tionesta Visionary Howard Zahniser.

We are honored to have the former president of The Wilderness Society Bill Meadows as our keynote speaker at the show’s opening, as well as Howard Zahniser’s son Dr. Mathias Zahniser as a featured speaker. Current ANF Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson, a veteran of the agency, will also be a notable speaker.

The participating photographers are:

Craig Blacklock
Clyde Butcher
Robert Clements
Kevin Ebi
Robbie George
Stephen Gorman
Robert Glenn Ketchum
Scot Miller
David Muench
Marc Muench
Mark Muse

The show will also highlight the two designated wilderness areas right here in our own ANF – Allegheny Islands and Hickory Creek. The best way to do that was to encourage those of you who have explored these two wildly popular untrammeled areas to submit your own photos for possible inclusion in the photography show.

The winning entries of Hickory Creek Wilderness were shot by Judy Cole Blank of Warren, and Mark Hulings of Corry. Piper VanOrd of Irvine had the two winning photos of Allegheny Islands. These winners, whose stunning works were selected for their artistic merit from among more than 20 other strong entries, will now show their photos alongside some from the top photographers in the world.

The opening reception for Wilderness at 50: Photographic Reflections on the Legacy of Tionesta Visionary Howard Zahniser will occur on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the Crary Art Gallery. This event is free and open to the public. There will also be a catered reception from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

For directions to the Crary Art Gallery, click here:

There is free parking available on the surrounding streets, but if you find street parking limited, the Warren County Courthouse parking lot one block south of the Crary at the intersection of 5th and Market Streets is also available. We have been given permission by the office of the Warren County Commissioners to direct people to this lot on Saturday.

Contact FAW at or (814) 723-0620 if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!