The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has kicked off an effort to certify Chautauqua County as a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat.
Officials, including Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, as well as representatives from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Chautauqua-Conewango Consortium, Jamestown Public Market, and Master Gardeners gathered at an event Thursday in the South Basin area of the Jamestown Riverwalk.
CWC Ecological Restoration Manager Twan Leenders said the restoration area of the south bank of the Chadakoin River by the Board of Public Utilities is now part of the certified habitats, “Which has native plants on it. It has habitats for wildlife in it. We’re not using harmful chemicals on it. It provides all kinds of resources for native plants and animals, and those are really the criteria needed to certify an area, your backyard, a park, as an accredited wildlife habitat.”
CWC Board President Becky Nystrom said there are 98 gardens of the 400 needed are already certified in Chautauqua County.
Leenders said anyone can certify their yard by filling out an online questionnaire. He said this is also how the National Wildlife Habitat Federation tracks how many habitats are in a county, “But it could be any scale, it could be a preserve. Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s preserves certainly qualify. The city has already agreed to work with us for city parks. The county, various community partners, corporate, non-profit.. Really, it’s a very easy process but it’s really a way to collaboratively get them into the mindset that if we manage any kind of property that we manage in a way that we provide resources, a place to live, and food for native wildlife we can make this whole area greener, and better, and healthier.”
The certification checklist and link to certify for your property can be found at nwf.org/certify.