The object of the project is the development of a rapid watershed assessment of the Conewango Creek Watershed to provide the basis for the development of a comprehensive watershed plan for all landowners within the watershed. Over the last five years there has been a considerable amount of environmental based programs and projects that have occurred in the Conewango Creek Watershed, with different agencies involved. While all of these activities are aimed at achieving improved water quality, they are being implemented in a piecemeal method without knowledge of the overall impact on the watershed. Each agency or environmental group is working alone instead of being part of a conservation partnership. It is the intent of the RC&D Council to establish and coordinate a partnership with these groups to achieve a coordinated effort of natural resource based management in the Conewango Creek Watershed.
|The Council will involve individuals from the Conewango Creek Watershed Association, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, the three Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, US Forest Service, USDA agencies and landowners in the three counties in the collection of the data needed to develop a solid resource profile of the watershed.The data collected will be compiled into a Geographical Information System (GIS) database with the assistance of the regional development organization, County governments and USDA agencies for use by planners involved in developing land use plans within the watershed.|
||The Conewango Creek Watershed, HUC # 0501002, is one of the two sub-watersheds of the Allegheny River watershed within New York that is part of the Mississippi River drainage. This unique watershed in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties in New York and Warren County in Pennsylvania is comprised of 919 square miles of land containing a high percentage of agricultural land. The watershed contains 4 large lakes, numerous smaller lakes and over 780 miles of creeks and streams. The Conewango is a primary tributary of the Allegheny River and is immediately upstream of the 98 miles of designated scenic waterway. The Allegheny River south of the confluence of the Conewango is home to several threatened and endangered species of mussels and darters, including the spiney rifleback mussel which is only found in this river system.|
|The RC&D Council is interested in a coordinated, "big picture" approach to restoration of the Conewango Creek Watershed, acting as a conduit between all of the groups in the watershed, thereby facilitating improved land and water stewardship. This involves assessing resources on all land types, not limiting conservation planning to working farms alone. This approach will lead to the reduction of sediments that impact the water quality in Chautauqua Lake, the Conewango Creek and the Allegheny River, restore and enhance lost wetland functions, and provide habitat for wildlife species.|