Chautauqua Outlet Cleanup – May 16

Chautauqua Lake Outlet Cleanup a Resounding Success!!

Chaut Lake Outlet Cleanup 2015 Photo
Sue and Brandon Nielsen haul another pile of tires and trash


The Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA) in partnership with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC), the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association (CLFA), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) performed a much-needed cleanup of the Chautauqua Lake Outlet south of Celoron Park on Saturday, May 16, 2015. This half-day cleanup carried out by 14 hardy volunteers netted 91 tires, 240 pounds of metals, and 10 cubic yards of trash, despite the overcast conditions and occasional rain showers. Volunteers paddled kayaks and powered motor boats south into the Chadakoin River to various “hot spots” along the shoreline to pick up and stack the trash, which was then retrieved by a jet boat donated by the U.S. Forest Service: Allegheny National Forest.

The Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association provided the launch site, the site for the dumpster, free coffee and donuts prior to cleanup, and a free hotdog and hamburger lunch after the event. Other partners included Evergreen Outfitters for donating the use of their kayaks and their volunteer time.

Volunteers from the CCWA, the CWC, the USFS, Evergreen Outfitters, and individual volunteers all assisted in the cleanup efforts. CCWA Board Member and volunteer organizer Liz Dropp stated, “We had a good turnout of volunteers and great support by local businesses.” She added, “We need to thank all our sponsors for making this event a possibility and everyone who volunteered to get wet and muddy pulling trash and tires out of the lake on a rainy spring day.”

Chautauqua County had proclaimed an “Earth Day” Resolution from April 25 to May 16, whereby landfill user fees were waived from organized cleanups by community and civic groups. So this was an excellent opportunity to collect all this garbage and properly dispose of it without financial burden.

Dropp speculated on the reasons for the numerous tires and plastics collected, “We found a great number of tires out there in the lake and on the shores, and the question is, ‘Where did all the tires come from?’ There are several places where it is apparent people are driving into the remote areas and dumping tires as well as appliances and other trash. We also speculate that many of the tires were used for boat bumpers on the docks and fell off the docks and eventually float down the lake with wave action and ice movement.” A lot of the other trash retrieved is plastics of various sorts that float and get washed to the lower end of the lake.”

CCWA Board Member Sue Nielsen agreed adding, “We want to thank all the partnering agencies and businesses that made this clean up happen. We made a dent in the amount of trash that litters the Chadakoin, but there is much more out there. Several dump sites of tires and large trash items were identified; we removed what we could and will monitor the sites in the future.”

There were some dock sections that were found along the shoreline that could not be retrieved and according to Nielsen, “They were left behind due to limited time and space on the motor boats. The hope was that local residents on the creek and Chautauqua Lake might have the means to salvage and use them.” For those who wish to locate them they are mostly along the upper Chadakoin.

Dropp echoed this sentiment that more work is needed, “I think the amount of trash and tires we removed was great for a half-day cleanup. But there is a lot more left out there. There seems to be good interest from everyone involved to make this an annual event.”

Nielsen agreed that it makes sense to turn this into an annual full-day event. “This year was a good start. The interest is there among everyone involved to increase our efforts and host a full day event next year. We look forward to working with everyone again next year and any other interested organizations. The date will most likely remain about the same. Spring is the best time to get out there. Once the water lilies sprout in full force, you can’t get to the shoreline with motor boats, let alone kayaks or canoes.”

For more information contact Conewango Creek Watershed Association at 814-726-1441 or their website at



Our official River of the Year kickoff event will be the half-day Chautauqua Lake Outlet Cleanup, located in Celoron, NY, near Jamestown, NY.

It will be held on Saturday, May 16th, 2015. Registration will begin at 8:30AM and participants will begin at Chautauqua Lake Fisherman’s Association/Holiday Harbor and work South. We will finish up around 12 Noon.  A hotdog and hamburger lunch will be provided by the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association at 1 pm

We will be staging everything from the Holiday Harbor Marina area, 19 Avon Ave, Celoron, NY. We have the parking area behind the Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association club house. Look for a dumpster about the middle of the string of docks at the base of the lake (just north of the Holiday Harbor boat shop).  The Harbor area is just south of the Lucille Ball / Celoron Park. 

Please call CCWA at 814-726-1441 or email us at to preregister so we can better plan our cleanup and to have enough food for everyone.  Please provide your name, phone number,whether you are bringing a boat, type of boat, and how many in your group.

We will primarily be doing the cleanup from boats, but shore cleanup may be arranged as well.  We’ll cleanup shorelines along this portion of  debris, and collect, sort, and haul the trash on land. So we need lots of volunteers for both land and water cleanup operations.

Wear sturdy shoes, bring work gloves, and dress for the weather–we clean in any weather: rain or shine!  We will provide you with trash bags and gloves if you need gloves.  Bring your own water, and snacks as needed for this half-day cleanup.  All participants will also be required to sign a waiver.

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

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