Vision, mission and strategic direction has been, and remains, critical to the core of the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC). These values have paved our way to become an internationally recognized leader in the field of environmental conservation and watershed management.
Having a well thought out strategic plan, goals and objectives doesn’t necessarily take into consideration how that direction will be accomplished, and/or the organization’s capacity to carry out that path to success. Often times the focus is on the finish line and not on how an organization got there. Earlier this year, while attending a National Academy of Sciences discussion, I was asked the question, “What has been the key to success for the Watershed Agricultural Council?” My answer was simple, “Excellent staff and key partnerships.”
Central to the success of the WAC has been the quality staff and organizational partnerships that provide unparalleled expertise. We employ 60 staff and contract out an additional 20 through funding with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), and the United States Forest Service. These staff include: engineers, technicians, planners, foresters, real estate and land conservation specialists, finance, human resources, educators, economic development, communications and I.T. professionals. We have partnerships, sub-contracts and work side-by-side with the NYS College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware and Greene Counties, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Services and the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
That collective mix of expertise has been developed for the better part of two decades and has accomplished more milestones and innovative practices than what could have been imag-ined by those creating our first mission statement. To that end, two significant milestones were achieved in 2019 when an agricultural conservation easement was purchased bringing 30,000 acres to the program since inception, and the largest contract in the organization’s history with the NYC DEP totaling $92 million dollars commenced.
It is important to recognize and give credit to truly the most important resource an organization can have, staff. I want to thank all the WAC staff and partnership staff for their expertise, innovation and dedication to our collective missions. —Craig Cashman, Executive Director
Read the 2019 Annual Report here.