Orleans Soil & Water awarded $276K grant for conservation projects at 5 farms
The Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District has been awarded a $276,271 state grant to assist five farms in the Oak Orchard River, Sandy Creek and Johnson Creek Watersheds.
The projects include the following conservation initiatives:
- Focus on building healthy soils and promoting reduced tillage practices
- Implement over 3,600 acres of cover crops throughout the watersheds
- Reduce excessive runoff of nutrients and soil erosion to positively impact water quality
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the grant as part of $14 million for 91 agricultural projects to help farmers address water quality challenges in priority watersheds.
“New York continues to take decisive action to protect access to clean water across the state,” Hochul said in a news release. “This money will go towards fulfilling both those goals by encouraging the implementation of cost-effective waterway protection and reducing our carbon footprint.”
Over the past 25 years, New York State has supported projects covering 500 separate watersheds across the State, including 1,300 manure storage projects to help farms actively balance nutrient supply and crop nutrient demand, Hochul said.
More than 800 acres of riparian buffer have been created to filter nutrients and sediment, protecting surface water, stabilizing streambanks, improving aquatic habitat, and reducing impacts from flooding.
In addition, more than 80,000 acres of cover crops have been planted to help prevent erosion, improve soil health, and increase organic matter in the soil, which retains more moisture for crop demand through the growing season.
Cover crops also sequester carbon, helping New York’s farmers combat climate change, Hochul said. Through Round 27of this program, approximately 20,000 acres of cover crop will be implemented.
Dale Stein, a dairy farmer from Le Roy, is chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. “The awards announced today will have a far-reaching impact, helping these farms, and their county Soil and Water Conservation Districts, to improve soil health and preserve our water quality for years to come,” he said. “The Ag Non Point program has long been an important tool in our work to protect our natural resources, and even more so now, as we work to combat climate change.”
Other nearby projects funded include:
- $64,040 was awarded to the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Oak Orchard Creek/Spring Creek Watersheds: sub- watersheds of Lake Ontario.
- $140,640 was awarded to the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Tonawanda Creek Watershed.
- $535,925 was awarded to the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District to work with one farm in the Oatka Creek/Black Creek Watersheds.