Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

August 05, 2015

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Funding for More Than Two Dozen Projects to Improve the Water Quality of Lake Ontario

$245,000 Awarded to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts for Projects Geared to Reduce Erosion and Limit Harmful Sediments in the Genesee River

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced $245,000 has been awarded to four County Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the western portion of New York State to support water quality improvement in Lake Ontario.  The funding was provided to high-priority projects on agricultural lands that reduce erosion and limit harmful sediments and other nutrients that enter Lake Ontario through the Genesee River Watershed.  

Commissioner Ball said, “Our waterways are important resource for our farms, agribusinesses and communities, and our County Soil and Water Conservation Districts do a great job of helping our farmers protect this valuable asset.  Projects awarded today will stabilize gullies and other degraded landscape areas to prevent future erosion.  All of the projects are focused on ultimately protecting the lake by making sure soil and nutrients do not make their way into our streams.”

The grant funding is provided through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) as part of the Ocean and Great Lakes Initiative, which was established in 2006 to coordinate and address the contaminants that are threatening the state’s water resources.   The Genesee River Watershed in particular was designated as a high-priority area for the New York State Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council.  Sediment and nutrients have been found to cause the degradation of water quality in the Genesee River, and pollutants originating from agricultural sources are a concern in the watershed. 

Each project awarded received up to $10,000 to address and implement erosion and sediment control on agricultural lands that border tributaries that feed into the Genesee River.  Examples of project practices include water and sediment control basins, diversions, terraces, conservation cover crops and limited water management.  Recipients of the program include the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District, which was awarded $105,000 for 11 projects.  The Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District received $60,000 for six projects.  The Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District both received $40,000 for four projects.

Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager said, “Protecting the soil and water resources found within the Genesee River Basin is a priority to more than 700 active farm operations in Livingston County.  Farmers know that stewardship plays a vital role. This funding opportunity will greatly enhance the key role that farmers and conservation districts play in caring for the land.”   

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Genesee River Erosion and Sediment Control Implementation Grants through its Land and Water Division, which works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation, and proactive environmental stewardship.

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