PRESS RELEASE: USDA Funding to Improve Water Quality Available to Watershed Landowners and Farmers
USDA NRCS and Watershed Agricultural Council to spend $254,000 funding farm improvements in Delaware, Sullivan, Schoharie, Greene and Ulster Counties.
WALTON, NY, MARCH 4, 2011 --  U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) have $254,000 in funding to spend with private landowners in the New York City Watershed. The project was one of 63 projects in 21 states approved through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). The funding will be applied to farm improvements, infrastructure and land conservation methods, known as Best Management Practices or BMPs, that benefit water quality. Livestock farms located in parts of Delaware, Sullivan, Schoharie, Greene, and Ulster Counties that comprise the Catskill/Delaware Watersheds drainage system into the New York City water supply reservoirs are eligible to apply. Livestock farmers within the project area must sign up for the program by April 1, 2011.
NRCS is partnering with WAC to deliver the project. The Council will provide technical and financial resources which will leverage the federal investment in protecting water quality. "By working together with NRCS, we can help farmers accelerate the implementation of conservation practices which will ensure the quality of over one billion gallons of drinking water provided daily to over nine million people in and around New York City" said the Council's Agricultural Program Manager, Larry Hulle.  "Examples of projects on the ground include livestock waste storage facilities and heavy-use area protection. It's a win-win for the landowner, as the Council plans to match the NRCS funding with monies provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection." In 2010, The Council and NRCS put $120,000 of AWEP funding to work on several farms via nutrient management plans.


AWEP was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and funding comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The NRCS administers the program for USDA. AWEP promotes ground and surface water conservation and improves water quality by helping farmers implement agricultural water enhancement activities. "By working with our partners, we will see more water conservation on working lands and more opportunities to improve water quality in the New York City water supply system," said Astor Boozer, NRCS State Conservationist for New York.


Livestock farmers within the project area must sign up for the program by April 1, 2011.  For more information, or to submit an application, visit your local USDA Service Center or contact NRCS Resource Conservationist Suzanne Baker at (607) 865-7090, ext. 270. Visit the programs section of the NRCS web page for more information.
The WAC is funded by The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, and other federal and foundation sources. The WAC is an equal opportunity employer and provider. For more information, visit


The purpose of the Watershed Agricultural Council is to protect both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and the drinking water quality of a reservoir system that serves over nine million New  Yorkers.  Working with farmers, agri-businesses, forest landowners, forest industry professionals and others, the WAC seeks to enhance both business profitability and environmental stewardship. Landowners use a variety of best management practices, tools and approaches, such as conservation easements, to keep property within a working landscape. The Council holds easements on nearly 20,000 acres, works with over 500 farmers and 1,000 forest landowners in the Croton and Catskill/Delaware watersheds. It also works through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders to achieve its purpose.

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START: March 4, 2011
END: April 1, 2011

SUMMARY: Deadline to apply for federal funding for farm improvements related to improving water quality in the NYC watershed is April 1.

Suzanne Baker, NRCS
(607) 865-7090, ext. 270
Agricultural Program
(607) 865-7090 x233
Tara Collins
Communications Director
(607) 865-7090 x226
(607) 643-5148 cell
The Watershed Agricultural Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the economic viability of agriculture and forestry through the protection of water quality and the promotion of land conservation in the New York City Watershed region. The WAC is funded by The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and other federal, foundation and private sources. The WAC is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.