Work underway to clear portions of the Chadakoin River | News, Sports, Jobs
The woods near Second Street in Jamestown rang with the sound of chainsaws last week as contractors set to work clearing the hidden riverbed.
Twan Leenders, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s ecological restoration manager, said the location near Hope’s Windows had been the site of such work for several days and was funded by part of the American Rescue Plan Act funding. from the city.
The Chadakoin River cuts behind Second Street and has diverted to create a small island. Previously, Leenders said Hope’s Windows had installed pathway systems, walkways and a tiki bar, but much of that development is overgrown.
“All of this is the kind of infrastructure that these types of neighborhoods really want and need,” he said, “but it has been completely overrun with invasive plant species. You come here in the summer and you can’t even see it anymore. Then we have all these dead trees that have about 50 years of deferred maintenance. Walking on the trail system is like walking on a minefield.
Leenders said the work of cleaning up the Deadwood River is an important first step. Between federal, state and local government agencies, he said they were able to put in place an agreement that allowed contactors, The Tree Guys, to operate in the river while a dam held back most of the water.
“This week really is the first week” Leenders said on Friday. “This week is the first week where we actually get a consistent pattern… where we have a window of real work on the river. These guys have set up capture points in several places in the river and so far most of the time they have been working out of the water.
Leenders said the goal was to remove some larger obstacles and cut the wood down to manageable sizes for easier removal. Logs and debris will then float once the water rises and will be trapped in capture points where equipment can be brought in to remove them.
Leenders first made a presentation about the project at a Jamestown City Council meeting in December. Meanwhile, Leenders pointed to various improvements that could be made to the lower Chadakoin River, including timber removal that would benefit the river and keep surrounding businesses and residences safe.
In December, the board approved a resolution designating $277,750 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the first phase of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Chadakoin River Stabilization Project.
At this time, Leenders said he is speaking with representatives from the Chautauqua Center and other community entities regarding the health and safety of the river. The process will include clearing the river of debris and logs, controlling invasive species and replacing them with native species.
“If we don’t move forward now, we will have a real challenge ahead,” he said. “Spending a little money right now is definitely worth it and it will help in the long run because if we start bringing the spotted lanternfly here our vineyards will be ruined.”
While deleting the articles is just the start of the process, Leender said the hope is to raise the bar so people can “start thinking proactively” on how problems can be handled.
“It’s kind of the first pass of what needs to be done to really set everything up for what will hopefully be worth at least a decade or so of working with the community, working with all the neighborhoods here and actual activation,” said Leenders.
Vince Liuzzo of The Tree Guys said he grew up in the river area and had long hoped for the opportunity to do the job.
“That’s where the problems are, but that’s also where the potential is,” Liuzzo said. “We will try to make it passable and safe, and it will become a tourist attraction again. And this will be eligible for matching funding and other funding resources in the future.
Liuzzo said the river improvement is a grassroots project that was put in place by experts in their fields, all from the community.
“We had no motivation other than to have identified a problem and we wanted to find a way to solve it,” he said. “I think it’s something that people don’t think is possible. Too few groups think they can find a solution to a problem and then get help doing it. It’s time.
Leenders pointed out how close the river bed was to Second Street, near the edge of the forest.
“There is nothing stable there that holds this in place,” he said. “And it’s dangerous – it’s really dangerous. Nothing would happen until businesses suddenly lose a back wall…it’s not too late.
Throughout the project, Leenders said the group worked with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to keep fish and other wildlife habitat intact.
“We want this to be alive; we don’t want it to be completely clean and look like an empty channel,” he said. “And we’re spending the money on local businesses that have skin in the game.”
Leenders said the reserve will host a river cleanup on May 21 where volunteers will have the opportunity to clean up the river. He said more information will be available in the coming weeks via Facebook and their website.
“This is critically important as we see this project through to completion,” says Leender. “Now that we’ve taken the first step, the only way to really make this project a success is to see it through to the end and follow all the necessary steps in the necessary order that will get these invasive species out of here and we can replace them with a native species.At that time, we will have a stable and resilient bank and we will control where the river goes.
Leenders encouraged anyone with an interest in the river or those who own property on the river to get in touch with him.
“I would like to get as much interest as possible from everyone on the river in terms of getting feedback on what kind of challenges the river has created for them, but also what kind of opportunities that everyone would like to see in the future,” he said.
The Leenders can be reached by phone at 716-664 2166 x1009 or by email at [email protected]