New York State recently approved $16.2 million to support local agricultural water quality conservation projects. All projects support the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Program by funding the implementation of agricultural water quality Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect natural resources while maintaining the economic viability of New York State’s diverse agricultural community.
Of the funds that were allocated statewide, the Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive $455,946 to fund water quality conservation projects on three farms that partnered efforts by the SWCD and USDA-NRCS to leverage federal and state funding. The three Chautauqua County projects that were developed by SWCD Technicians Robert Halbohm and Gregory Kolenda that are funded include the Clymer Aquifer, Conewango Creek Watershed and Lake Erie Watershed.
Of the 99 projects submitted by SWCD’s throughout New York State, the Clymer Aquifer Project ranked number one. The project will assist a dairy farm with the construction of a manure storage that will allow the farm to apply crop nutrients more efficiently whenever they are utilized to limit runoff. The plan will significantly reduce nutrient loading into surface and ground water, which includes a public drinking water source, and will greatly improve manure management.
The funds will also allow two farms to improve bunk silo water management, install a roof to shelter a barnyard in order to allow for more effective manure collection, and an exclusion system to exclude livestock from streams in the Conewango Creek Watershed. The exclusion system includes fencing, a livestock water supply and improved animal trails with stream crossings.
Three farms in the Lake Erie watershed will implement agrichemical handling facilities, which will allow the farms to store, mix, and load crop protection products in an enclosed building to protect water quality in adjacent streams, which are tributaries to Lake Erie.
“Chautauqua County ranks third in the number of farms in New York State, and is a leader in grape, dairy and grain production,” said Fred Croscut, Chairman of the Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors. Croscut also commented, “Projects such as this will help our farmers implement cost effective conservation practices that will protect water quality, steward their natural resources and enhance farm economic viability. The District is appreciative of the opportunity that has been provided by the New York State Soil & Water Conservation Committee to assist these producers.”