A Revitalized Mission – 2011
In the Council’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan, we’ve honed our mission, vision and values. We’re still about clean drinking water, agriculture, forestry, and conservation easements. But looking ahead, we’ve strengthened our commitment to our regional partnerships, economic development, and leadership within the communities we serve.



Programs That Work – 2007
New York City drinking water continues to meet national standards. The Environmental Protection Agency extends the Filtration Avoidance Determination (F.A.D.) another ten years, a testament to the successes of this international watershed model with urban/rural benefits.
“A great civic achievement” – 2005
The urban/rural partnership in the New York City watershed exemplifies a model for the nation in conflict resolution and watershed management. Word spreads about the Council’s successes and accomplishments.



Conserving Open Space – 1998
A Conservation Easement Program is implemented to purchase the development rights on watershed farms. This effort to create a permanent tool for watershed protection keeps farmland intact and recognizes that the survival of farming is important to keeping land out of residential subdivision.
Foresters Log On – 1996
Leaders in the forestry community identify the need to create a complementary program modeled on Best Management Practices to train foresters and loggers in preventing non-point source pollution. With The Green Book of policy recommendations, the Watershed Forestry Task Force lays out a blueprint for the Watershed Forestry Program. Outreach and Economic Development Programs are put in place to support the efforts of the Watershed Agricultural Council.



Sound Science – 1996
Research efforts test and validate best management practices and study the source, fate and transport of pathogens and phosphorus.
Implementation – 1994
Phase II of the Watershed Agricultural Program begins with the development of whole farm plans for watershed farms based primarily on nation-wide USDA standards. A goal of 85% participation by farmers becomes a milestone in the EPA’s Filtration Avoidance Determination (F.A.D.) waiver for New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Participation today is 93%.


The program met its sign-up goals through farmer-to-farmer kitchen meetings.


Headquarters of the Watershed Agricultural Council in Walton, New York
Incorporation – 1993
Partners decide to create the non-profit Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) to administer the voluntary, incentive-based Watershed Agricultural Program, fully funded by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection. A Council of Directors oversees the Council programs, which are administered by Office and Field Staff. An Advisory Committee guides the Council.
Partners – 1992
Phase I of the Watershed Agricultural Program begins with Whole Farm Planning on ten pilot farms dispersed geographically throughout the Catskill/Delaware watersheds.


Changing the course of agricultural runoff through a farm requires heavy construction.


Which land use is better for the water consumer?
Collaboration – 1991
An Ad Hoc Task Force on Agriculture and New York City Watershed Regulations convenes representing upstate and downstate interests. A collaborative plan of policy recommendations called The Brown Book is created to protect water and “do no harm” to farm operations in the watershed. Well-managed farms are a preferred land use for water quality over denser, residential septic subdivision.
Conflict – 1990
A discussion draft of watershed regulations is presented to upstate watershed communities including language that affects agriculture and puts the livelihood of farmers at risk.