Conservation District Awarded Grants for Water Protection
The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District (“the District”) has been awarded two New York State Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control Program Grants to help protect the quality of Erie County’s water resources. The grants are awarded through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and will assist farmers in implementing programs to protect lakes, streams, and rivers from potential agricultural runoff.
“Agricultural runoff is a leading cause of pollutants discharged into Lake Erie. As recently reported in the New York Times, agricultural runoff beginning in river watersheds leading to the western end of Lake Erie is putting our vital resource at risk. We must do everything possible to cut down on such pollution,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “These grants will provide necessary funding and assistance to local farmers as they employ best management practices on their farms as well as protect our environment. They will be better able to manage barnyard runoff, prevent and contain fuel spills, and engage in a number of other best practices that will lead to more safety and efficiency at their farms. The landowners taking part in the program will not only benefit their businesses, but the environment as well, as vital soil and waterways are protected and enhanced.”
One grant will assist agricultural operations in the Tonawanda Creek watershed in the Towns of Alden, Amherst, Clarence and Newstead. The seven landowners involved in this program will implement twenty-six agricultural best management practices (“BMPs”) on their farms, including barnyard runoff management, silage leachate control, agrichemical mixing facility, and fuel spill prevention and containment. Livestock grazing management, including fencing, walkways, and fenced stream crossings, will also help protect ground and water. Each participant will also install riparian (streamside) buffer areas along creeks and streams; these buffers will protect water quality by providing a strip of vegetation to filter out sediment and pollution in stormwater runoff, reduce erosion, and, with fencing, exclude livestock from creeks and streams. The grant provides $352,485 in funding, with participating landowners required to match a percentage of the project cost.
The second grant will assist agricultural operations in the Eighteenmile Creek Watershed in the Towns of Boston, Eden, Concord, and North Collins. The seven landowners involved in this grant will implement seventeen BMPs on their farms, including milking center wastewater treatment, wastewater diversion, barnyard runoff management, and fencing to exclude animal traffic from waterways. Four farms will also install manure storage systems and components to allow for better utilization of nutrients and organic matter according to a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (“CNMP”). This Plan specifies manure application guidelines for the farm based on soil character/condition, crop nutrient needs, and other factors. This grant provides $815,150 in state cost-share funding.
For more information on the EC Soil and Water Conservation District, visit http://www.ecswcd.org/