NewsWatershed Management

Pictured, a successful streambank restoration project on Canadaway Creek that was co-funded by the 2% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes and Waterways.



Chautauqua County will again be offering grants to improve our lakes and waterways.  The 2024 Round of the County’s 2% Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes and Waterways is now open and will close on April 1, 2023.

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

These grants provide $500 to $40,000 in funding for projects to be implemented from January 1 through December 31, 2024.

“The 2 % Occupancy Tax Grant Program for Lakes and Waterways has been delivering important water quality improvement projects for 15 years,” said Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator Dave McCoy.  “The projects that we fund provide long-lasting water quality benefits by reducing nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) that enter our lakes and waterways.  When we reduce the amount of nutrients, we reduce the occurrence of nuisance aquatic vegetation and algae and improve the environmental health of our aquatic resources.”

The 2% Program has a variety of projects in its portfolio, including streambank and lakeshore stabilization projects, municipal stormwater, and agricultural projects aimed at reducing nutrient laden runoff.   Projects located within the Lake Erie, Bear Lake, Cassadaga Lakes, Findley Lake and Chautauqua Lake watersheds are eligible.

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.

“We encourage applicants to collaborate with local conservation organizations and engineering professionals when preparing their applications,” said McCoy. “A well-prepared application with a narrative and plan that describes the design, implementation techniques and the anticipated water quality benefits of the project has a higher probability of being funded. We like to see projects that leverage funding from State and Federal Agencies as well as contributions from the landowner.  The grant program does not require landowner contributions, but doing so demonstrates that the applicant is committed to improving water quality and that the project will be maintained over time.”

Applications are available online on the Chautauqua County Legislature’s page of the county website at and on the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development’s website at . Applications are also available at the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development, 201 W. Third St., Suite 115 in Jamestown, N.Y.

For more information or assistance with the application process, please contact Dave McCoy at (716) 661-8915 or by email at