Annual Canadaway Creek Conservation project to be held in Fredonia on Saturday

The 9th Annual Canadaway Creek Conservation project will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. at the pavilion behind the Fredonia Fire Hall which is located on Main Street.

The project will include an educational presentation, a stream clean-up, invasive species removal and tree planting activities that have been set up to nurture and protect our local stream, Canadaway Creek. Free lunch, caps, t-shirts and cake will be provided to all participants. This event allows participants to meet and work together and have fun. It is meant to instill the conservation spirit in local youth and revitalize adult energies as environmental patrons.

Organizers encourage participants to bring felt bottom boots (if available) or other shoes that can be used for wet wading. Children must be accompanied by a parent.

The sponsors of this event include Add Lumber, True Value, Atech – S.E.H. Metal Fabricators, Atlas Comfort Cabins, the biology department at SUNY Fredonia, the Cakery, Comprehensive Wealth Solutions, Inc, Dreamcatcher Foundation, the Fredonia fire department, Fredonia Beaver Club, Institute for Research in Science Teaching, Lake Erie Fisheries Unit- NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, Douglas Manly, Monosystems, Inc., Orvis, Patagonia World Trout Initiative, S.A.R.E.P. youth fly fishing program, Joe Carpenter, Summit Wealth Management, Inc., Tops Markets, Trout Unlimited and Westfield Disposal.

S.A.R.E.P. Youth Flyfishing Program

This is a not-for-profit volunteer educational program that, for the past 16 years, provided children with information and experiences related to aquatic resources, conservation, ethics, and flyfishing. The program promotes “catch and release” as well as respect for fellow fishermen/women and the land on which they fish. The goal of the program is to protect both the local species and the land for future generations. The program closely ties together the importance of understanding nature with the rewarding act of flyfishing. The program meets every Monday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. from October through early June at the Fredonia Central Middle School Cafeteria. Periodically kids and community members are taken on fly fishing field trips on Canadaway Creek. Participants can join at any time during the year. S.A.R.E.P. Youth Flyfishing Program works with the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County, Cornell Cooperative, Fredonia Central Schools and other community groups. There is no cost to participate in this program.

Canadaway Creek history

The stream was originally settled by the Erie tribes and later by the Iroquois who called the stream “Ga-na-da-wa-o,” meaning “running through hemlocks.” The early European settlers from Eastern and Central Pennsylvania ended up pronouncing the name as “Canadaway.” The Native American name probably referred to the dense canopy that still covers the deep gorge at its headwaters. Early surveyors named the creek “Cascade” after the scenic falls that are located in the town of Arkwright.

The first non-native settlement along its banks occurred on 1804 and was called Canadaway; this settlement later became the village of Fredonia. The mouth of Canadaway hosted the first naval battle in the War of 1812 where an American military company held off a British gunboat as it tried to seize a salt boat from Buffalo that had sought sanctuary in the creek.

As the area became populated and settlements prospered along the stream, two preserves were created to protect the creek’s natural resources. A 33-acre Canadaway Creek Preserve located at the mouth of the stream is positioned on a major flyway for migrating birds. During the fall and spring migration, the sanctuary protects around 140 species of birds. The second preserve is the Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area, which is located on a 2,180-acre tract of land that protects the headwaters. Its dense hardwood forest provides the nesting areas for a large variety of birds including the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Great Blue Heron.

The history of the introduction of steelhead to Lake Erie is complicated. The fisheries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York have, over the past hundred years, stocked many different strains of steelhead and salmon trying to find the right combination to insure the best returns during the spring and fall runs.

Organizers of the event would like to preserve this gem in Western New York for future generations.