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Grants for lake, waterway projects now available

March 3, 2016
Westfield Republican

MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development has announced applications for the Chautauqua County 2017 Occupancy/Bed Tax Grants for Lakes and Waterways are now available.

The Occupancy Tax Grants for Lakes and Waterways are funded through the county's 5 percent occupancy or bed tax for the rental of lodging units within the county. Two-fifths or 2 percent of the bed tax is used solely for the enhancement and protection of lakes and waterways in the Chautauqua County.

"While most New York counties collect an occupancy tax, Chautauqua County is unique in the way we reinvest the revenue to improve our lakes and waterways through the 2 percent program, which in turn attracts more tourism dollars," said Dave McCoy, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator. "There is simply no other program like it in New York State."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Pictured above is one of the successful 2015 Occupancy Tax Grants for Lakes and Waterways projects, which was completed on Goose Creek.

These grants provide funding for projects to be implemented from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017.

"Generally, projects located within the Lake Erie, Bear Lake, Cassadaga Lakes, Findley Lake and Chautauqua Lake watersheds are eligible," said Dave Spann, Chairman of the Chautauqua County Water Quality Task Force.

Applications may be submitted by various groups and organizations, including not-for-profits, governments, businesses and corporations, public and private schools, and all landowners of Chautauqua County. Successful projects funded under this program include, but are not limited to: streambank, shoreline, or ditch stabilization; sediment retention basins; watergardens; buffer strips; and habitat improvement projects.

"We have funded some very beneficial and creative projects since the Occupancy Tax Program's inception," said Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan. "Through the program, we are making meaningful improvements to the water quality in our lakes and streams and we encourage Chautauqua County residents and agencies to apply."

"During the 2016 round we were able to fund nine projects for approximately $200,000, which will be constructed this summer," said McCoy. "Those projects included riparian buffers and streambank stabilization projects."

Applications and instructions for the grant are available online at; or by clicking on the watershed management link and navigating to "2% Bed Tax Grants."

Completed applications are due by 4 p.m. on June 1 and should be mailed to: Dave McCoy, Watershed Coordinator, Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Economic Development, 200 Harrison St., Suite 300, Jamestown, 14701.

Submitted projects will be evaluated and ranked by the Chautauqua County Water Quality Task Force Waterways Panel. The panel's ranked list will then be provided in August 2016 to the Chautauqua County Legislature for its approval.

"The previous round of the 2% Lakes & Waterways Grant Program received just 19 applications, and with nine awards, the chances of winning are very high when compared to other non-local grant programs that might receive hundreds of applications,"said Erin Brickley, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Alliance. "Grant awards range from $5,000 to $40,000, and although no matching funds are required, it's good to include private investment and in-kind services when applying for funding for larger projects."

For more information or assistance with the application process, contact McCoy at 716-661-8915 or .



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