Congressman Tom Reed welcomed United States Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Margaret Burcham to the 23rd Congressional District Tuesday for site visits to water projects in Chautauqua County.
Congressman Reed and Brigadier General Burcham were joined by representatives from the Buffalo and Pittsburgh District Army Corps of Engineers, state and local officials, and community members. The group discussed water projects such as dredging, environmental restoration efforts including combating invasive species and opportunities for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act to expedite project completion.
“Today was an excellent opportunity for us to work on the ground with Brigadier General Burcham and key decision makers to visit Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk Harbor and Cattaraugus Creek – all areas that are a priority for the county,” Congressman Reed said. “It certainly makes a difference when we can show key decision makers with their own eyes what we’re trying to accomplish with the work we’ve done on paper. Whether it’s supporting jobs, trade, recreation and tourism or manufacturing, all of our waterways provide significant economic activity for the region and it’s part of our job to make sure we protect those vital waterways.”
“Today’s visits were a wonderful opportunity for the Corps to hear directly from the people of Chattauqua County about their concerns for maintaining the vibrant ecosystems and economic viability of their lakes and harbors,” Brig. Gen. Burcham said. “We learned a great deal about the details of their challenges so we can partner to seek solutions. I was especially impressed with the collaboration and commitment among the many local and state leaders and community stakeholders.”
The group visited Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk Harbor, and Cattaraugus Creek as part of the county tour. The discussion at Chautauqua Lake included an overview of past environmental efforts of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Chautauqua County and a discussion of possible future projects with the reauthorization of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). At the Dunkirk Harbor and Cattaraugus Creek locations, the group discussed how the dredging needs in Barcelona Harbor are to be addressed next summer and how that can be replicated at Dunkirk Harbor and Cattaraugus Creek.
Each site visit was accompanied by a presentation from community stakeholders, something Reed says is at the core of seeing projects across the finish line. “The local input is extremely helpful in first identifying priority projects and then being a voice to advocate for their completion,” Reed continued. “The Chautauqua community is passionate about these projects and it shows. The work continues now to move these projects to the next stage and one step closer to the finish line.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Reed met with Brigadier General Burcham in Washington for an initial discussion of projects Reed is working to move forward.
From that meeting came the invitation for a site visit in the county.
Press Release, December 18, 2013