Watershed Agricultural Program Office
44 West Street
Walton, NY 13856
(607) 865-7090


Backus_LorindaLorinda Backus
Executive Assitant to the Agriculural Program
[email protected]
Lorinda is the Executive Assistant for the Watershed Agricultural Council in Walton. Since 2005, she has been working with procurement in formatting whole farm plans and developing bid packages along with many other administrative duties for the Agricultural Program. Before joining the Council, she worked for the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District right when the Watershed Agricultural Program began in August 1992. She graduated from SUNY Delhi in 1990 with an A.A. in Office Technology. Lorinda grew up on a dairy farm in the Walton/Hamden area. She and her daughter are currently raising meat goats as show quality animals.

Birdsall_RobertRobert Birdsall
Land Conservation Stewardship Specialist / Small Farms Coordinator
[email protected]
Rob Birdsall has been internally promoted to the position of Small Farms Coordinator effective November 26, 2012.
Rob Birdsall started with the Council in May 2004 as a Land Conservation Stewardship Specialist in the Easement Program located in Hamden office. Rob assists WAC easement landowners with activities on their eased lands to ensure that these activities are in line with the terms and conditions of the Deed of Conservation Easement. Prior to working with the Easement Program, Rob worked with Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District where he learned the basics of agricultural BMP installation, surveying and GIS. He also worked within the Watershed Agricultural Program for four years, assisting both the large and small farm programs in BMP implementation and Whole Farm Planning. Rob holds a BS degree in Environmental Science/Biology from SUNY Oneonta.Rob’s personal philosophy is simple: “I feel that land preservation is a sound protection measure of our landscape that will prove itself very worthwhile in the future for a wide spectrum of reasons.

Blakeslee_drain_EleanorEleanor Blakeslee-Drain
Farmhearts Fellow for Catskills FarmLink and Catskills CRAFT
[email protected]
Farmhearts Fellow Eleanor Blakeslee-Drain of Roscoe serves as coordinator of the Farm to Market Program’s two beginner farmer initiatives, CatskillsFarmLink.org and CatskillsCRAFT.org (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farming Training).
Eleanor brings a fresh perspective on what it’s like to be a young, new and beginner farmer to this position. She’ll be telling her story on benig a new Catskills farmer and inform others that farming is alive and well in the Catskills.A year ago, Eleanor returned to the Catskills after completing farm apprenticeships in Massachusetts and Kentucky. She launched her own operation, Berry Brook Farm, where in her first year, she sold at the local farmers’ market, direct to stores, restaurants and caterers, and through a 10-week CSA.

Pure Catskills Specialist
Sara Bolton
 ext. 260

Conservation Planner
Troy Bookhout  ext. 315

Bookhout_TroyTroy Bookhout
Conservation Planner
[email protected]
In September 2009, Troy accepted the newly created position of Conservation Planner for the Easement Program. Based out the Walton office (to be closer to the Agricultural Program action), Troy works with landowners and farmers to meet the eligibility requirements and criteria, like an active whole farm plan, to be considered for the Easement Program. Troy also educates landowners on conservation planning and stewardship activities that accompany a conservation easement. A Certified Crop Advisor, Troy’s internal claim to fame is being the Council’s first nutrient management specialist as a soil sampler. He graduated from SUNY-Cobleskill in Agricultural Business, interned for Crop Production Services and gained experience in the agronomic crop production field. When he’s at home with his wife, he likes to watch Japanese cartoon, Naruto, with his two sons.

Conservation Planner
Dan Deysenroth  ext. 219

Engineering Specialist
Ben Green ext. 289

Deysenroth_DanDan Deysenroth
Nutrient Management Specialist
[email protected]
Dan started in June 2005 as a Nutrient Management Planner with the Agricultural Program in Walton. As part of his day, Dan visits farmers and custom tailors nutrient management plans for the farm business. He also calculates Nutrient Management Credit reimbursements and manure transportation credits, both put money back in the farmer’s pocket. He also oversees soil sampling and Precision Feed Management at participating farms. Dan works closely with area farmers that he grew up with. He sees improving farm profitability is the best way to protect farms and thus protect water quality. Dan studied Plant and Soil Science at SUNY Cobleskill and worked as an Intern for the Watershed Agricultural Council. Dan’s Perspective: The largest hurdle farms face in the future is high input costs. The solution for this is to practice precision agriculture to reduce inputs, (get lean and mean) or to diversify. Neither solution is easy.

Administrative Assistant to the Ag Program
Kaitlin Haynes ext. 270

Watershed Investigation and Repair Crew Specialist
Tim Hebbard  ext. 239

GIS Coordinator
Ben Hendee  ext. 207

Hebbard_TimTim Hebbard
Engineering Specialist
[email protected]
Tim is an Agricultural Engineering Specialist based out of the Walton office since May 2008. As a design technician for the Agricultural Program, Tim works with the farmer and planner through all phases of whole farm planning including the initial farm survey, AutoCad design, project packaging, and on-site construction oversight/inspection. He considers effective and efficient communication between our supporting agencies, landowner participants, and contractors the most important tool used to ensure a viable, easily maintained, and practical BMP enhancing our water quality goals. Before working with the Watershed Agricultural Council, Tim was a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army and remains a retired member of the Association of United States Army. He also holds certifications for Erosion and Sediment Control Training, ACI Concrete Field Testing Technician-Grade I, and Level I Rosgen Stream Training Applied Fluvial Geomorphology. Tim’s Perspective: All Our

Engineering Specialist
Rick Hochulli  ext. 230

Hochulli_RichardRichard Hochulli
Engineering Specialist
[email protected]
Richard Hochuli has been an Engineering Specialist for the Watershed Agricultural Council in Walton since 2008. Richard works closely with the landowners and producers in the Catskill Watershed Basin to design and implement Best Management Practices on active farms. Currently, he is a certified concrete inspector. On a personal note, Richard is an Eagle scout in the Boy Scouts of America. As a local high school graduate of the Deposit Central School class of 2003, Richard is happy to be able to give back to the community he grew up in. Rich’s Perspective: Remember – there are always several ways to effectively achieve a goal.

Hulle_LarryLarry Hulle
Agricultural Program Manager
[email protected] started with the Watershed Agricultural Council in April 2010 as the Agricultural Program Manager in the Walton office. Here he oversees the large and small farm program staff and coordinates the multi-agency relationships that define the Ag Program. Larry obtained his farming experience first-hand, having been raised on a dairy farm in Orange County, He received his A.A. in Animal Husbandry from SUNY Morrisville, his B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University, and his Master’s in Adult Education from SUNY New Paltz.
Larry’s Perspective: Prime farming land is getting more difficult to hang onto with the pressure of housing development. We have to make it a priority to preserve quality farmland. The best way to do that is to allow farm producers to make a profit and they will keep the land in production for future generations.

Database Administrator
John Jackson ext. 297

Jackson_JohnJohn Jackson
GIS Coordinator
ext. 297
[email protected] John Jackson is GIS Coordinator for the Watershed Agricultural Council, stationed at the Walton office. John manages the geospatial data for the Council that is used in every segment of Council activities. John also provides staff with assistance and training on the GIS system, and supports the geospatial component of the FAME database project. John holds a BS in Computer Science from SUNY Institute of Technology (Utica), a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Penn State University, and has over 20 years experience in Software Engineering. John also spent 10 years as a Conservation Technician planning and implementing agricultural Best Management Practices for two regional Soil & Water Conservation Districts, and is a Certified Crop Advisor. John feels we all have a tremendous responsibility to care for our environment and is grateful to be able to help Council staff apply GIS technology in this important mission.

Kelly_DerrickDerrick Kelly
Engineering Specialist
[email protected] Kelly is an Engineering Specialist for the Watershed Agricultural Council in Walton since February 2013. Derrick works closely with the landowners and producers in the NYC Watershed Basin to design and implement NRCS, and WAC Best Management Practices (BMPs) on active farms.
Derrick previously worked with the Council as a Technician for two years (2002-2003) where he learned the basics of agricultural BMP installation, Surveying, GIS, and Auto Cad design. Derrick holds a BS degree in Environmental Science from SUNY Oneonta.Derrick believes that we as a whole can survive lacking many of what we call necessities; however without clean water we have nothing.

Program Operations Coordinator
Brian LaTourette  ext. 284

Latourette_BrianBrian LaTourette
Large Farms Coordinator
[email protected] started with the Watershed Agricultural Council in May 1999 as an Engineering Specialist in Walton-based Agricultural Program. Working his way up through the ranks, he was promoted to the newly created position of Agricultural Program Manager in 2004. In 2010, he defined another new position, Large Farms Coordinator, and promptly filled it. He now works exclusively with the Council’s 250+ farms producing $10,000 or more annually. Brian gained his farming experience by working on the family dairy farm. He later combined that knowledge with an A.A. in Business Administration/Architecture minor from SUNY-Delhi with 13 years of construction experience to enter the Agricultural Program professionally. Brian’s Perspective: Creating sustainable farming policies such as milk, timber and other ag products pricing is needed; there’s too much fluctuation and uncertainty. Transportation requirements for farmers also pose obstacles, making it difficult to get product to consumers.

Communications Manager
Heather Magnan  ext. 217

Magnan_HeatherHeather Magnan
Communications Director
[email protected] oversees marketing strategy, outreach efforts, and communications for the Watershed Agricultural Council office in Walton. Heather manages the organization’s central messages of clean water, land conservation, and economic viability within the New York City watershed region. Outreach efforts include print and electronic e-newsletters, press releases, annual reports, public speaking, Facebook, Twitter, and the organization’s website. Heather holds a B.F.A. in Visual Communications with a Minor in Advertising Design from Cazenovia College. She has worked as a freelance Graphic Designer as well as Art Director since 2007 in the Catskill Mountains and has done Promotions on a National Level for the American Connemara Pony Society since 2011.
Heather lives on a farm in Kortright with her husband, six Irish horses, two kittens and two shepherds. She loves riding her horses through our beautiful farmland and running with her dogs.

Nutrient Management & Precision Feed Management Coordinator
Cynthia McCarthy  ext. 265

McCarthy_CynthiaCynthia McCarthy
Nutrient Management Specialist
[email protected] McCarthy has been a Nutrient Management Specialist for the Watershed Agricultural Council in Walton since March 2005. Cindy works with farmers throughout the NYC watershed to develop and implement Nutrient Management Plans. She is a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA), and holds a B.T. from SUNY Cobleskill in Animal Science with a Dairy Concentration. Cindy grew up on a dairy farm in Laurens, NY, where she still helps out most every morning and night with chores and hay.

Economic Viability Program Manager
Kristan Morley  ext. 293

Morley_KristanKristan Morley
Farm to Market Manager
[email protected] Morley is the Farm to Market Manager for the Watershed Agricultural Council, located in the Walton office. She oversees the Pure Catskills regional buy local campaign and works with farmers and food-related businesses to expand and improve their regional economic strength. She spearheads the organizational effort to provide production and marketing education of local farm products, regional technical assistance, and is integral in the Council’s mission of economic viability. Kristan has played an integral role in helping to enhance the Pure Catskills campaign through the development of the online store, Pure Catskills Marketplace.
Kristan brings to the position an exceptional combination of professional experience and a passion for agricultural economic development and local food systems. Her background includes marketing, communication, writing, editing and public relations experience. A Delaware County native, Kristan is dedicated to helping the farms and local businesses of the Catskills region prosper. She also fully supports Catskill FarmLink, a mechanism for connecting Catskills land with those interested in farming it, and Catskill CRAFT which provides the opportunities for beginning farmers to connect and learn from existing farmers who offer up their time, talents and experience.

Nutrient Management Specialist
Nate Nero  ext. 285

CREP/CSBI Pilot Program Planner
Vera Neroni   ext. 248

Nutrient Management Specialist
Garrett Olsen, ext.

Rob Orleski ext. 294

Executive Assistant to the Agricultural Program
Lorinda Pierce  ext. 206

Nero_NateNate Nero
Nutrient Management Specialist
[email protected] is a Nutrient Management Planner in the Walton-based Agricultural Program. He interned for the Watershed Agricultural Council for three summers before being hired full time in March 2012. As an NM Planner, Nate helps farmers and staff in developing manure spreading schedules, feed recommendations and tailored farm feed-forage plans. He also works closely with the Cornell Precision Feed Management Program and the Council’s Nutrient Management Sub-Committee. He’s coupled his experience living on a dairy farm in Franklin with a Bachelors degree in Water Resources from Oneonta State. Nate is currently working on becoming a Certified Crop Advisor. Nate’s Perspective: Increased costs associated with production and meeting future regulations are stressing farmers today. The Council’s Agricultural Program is a model program for region, one that should be replicated outside the NYC watershed, specifically in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to address its farm-related water quality issues.

Program Procurement and Contract Coordinator
Elaine Poulin  ext. 209

Poulin_ElaineElaine Poulin
WAP Procurement / Contract Officer
[email protected]

Ross_HeatherHeather Ross
Senior Executive Assitant to the Agricultural Program
[email protected]
In February 2011, Heather started as the Senior Administrative Assistant for the Agricultural Program in Walton. She works to support the program mission by assisting staff and educating the public about the program and water quality. While attending Binghamton Community College, she honed her organizational skills while working with Delaware County Department of Public Works, as an Administrative/Human Resources Assistant at Countryside Care Facility. In her spare time, she sits on the Board for Franklin Fire Insurance Co., and helps with the family beef farm, which provides her the participant’s view of the Ag ProgrNutrient Management Specialist

Nutrient Management Specialist
Kari Sheridan  ext. 244

Database/GIS Specialist
James Sietsma ext. 300

Technician & Engineering Coordinator
Peter Steenland  ext. 295

Engineering Specialist
Steve Steenland ext. 292

Conservation Planner
Tristin Tait  ext. 212

Precision Feed Management Specialist
Shylabeth Taylor ext. 262

Steenland_PeterPeter Steenland, P.E.    WAC Professional Engineer
[email protected]
Peter was promoted to WAC Professional Engineer as of 2014. He started as an Engineering Specialist with the Walton-based Agricultural Program in March 2010. He’s charged with designing and implementing, NRCS and WAC BMPs, which include structural facilities for agricultural use. Pete also performs construction inspection on projects to ensure that they are being constructed in accordance to the project specifications.
He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a Licensed Professional Engineer in New York State, and holds several certifications including HAZWOPER, OSHA Construction Safety and Confined Space Entry. He’s also an active member of American Society of Civil Engineers, American Concrete Institute. Prior to working with the Watershed Agricultural Council, Pete was a geotechnical engineer where he obtained extensive experience in soils, foundation design, and municipal work like designing buildings, bridges, waterlines and waste water facilities. In 2011, he received his Professional Engineer’s license.Peter’s Perspective: Never stop learning! Learn from your mistakes and use the experience you gain from every project you do to make the next project better. Don’t be afraid to be innovative. When you encounter a problem that requires a different approach, think outside the box!

Whole Farm Planning Coordinator
Nate Townsend  ext. 240

Townsend_NateNate Townsend
Conservation Planner, CCA
[email protected]
Nathan Townsend is a Conservation Planner with the Watershed Agricultural Council’s Agricultural Program based out of Walton. Nate kicked off his interest in environmental conservation working as an intern for the Upper Susquehanna Watershed Program as a senior in high school. After that, on summer breaks from Binghamton University, he worked three summers as a soil intern for the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. Nate began working for the Council as an Engineering Specialist in June 2008, and in December of 2010, transitioned to the job of assistant planner within the Small Farms Program. Nate develops Whole Farm Plans for smaller farm operations in the watershed according to NRCS standards and specifications. He is currently working towards becoming a Certified AEM Planner, and recently received his Certified Crop Advisor accreditation. Nate comes from a deep-rooted line of farmers and foresters from Delaware County. He considers it a blessing to be able to work with the families of the watershed every day, knowing he learns the most when he is in the field working with the people who know the land best.

Executive Assistant to the Agricultural, Economic Viability and Outreach Programs
Jackie VanLoan ext. 233

Conservation Planner
Dan Vredenburgh  ext. 229

Nate Whittaker ext. 234

Agricultural Program Manager
Connor Young ext. 211

Engineering Specialist
Zach Wildenstein ext.

Assistant Whole Farm Planner

Vredenburgh_Dan Dan Vredenburgh
Assistant Conservation Planner
[email protected]
Dan is a Conservation Planner with the Watershed Agricultural Council’s Agricultural Program (WAP) in Walton. Starting in December 2009, Dan has been assisting WAP planners with various planning tasks, as well as, revising and developing Whole Farm Plans for participating farms in the NYC watershed. Dan also develops comprehensive prescribed grazing plans and has technical duties designing fence systems and overseeing fence construction. Prior to coming to the Council, Dan spent 12 years working for Soil & Water Conservation Districts as a pasture/grazing specialist, writing grants, and running the hydroseeding and no-till programs. He most recently spent two years in northern Virginia working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on their shad restoration program and as a wildlife specialist at Andrews Air Force Base. Dan holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and recently received his Certified Crop Advisor credentials. He is now in the process of becoming a certified NYS Whole Farm Planner. Dan enjoys working and playing in the outdoors. His hobbies include golfing, hunting, spending time at his camps, and capturing wildlife on his numerous game cameras. Dan and his wife Katie live in Delhi, NY, in the heart of the NYC Watershed. Dan’s Perspective: Quick and simple seeding of bare areas around the farm, home and construction sites can be very effective at conserving soil while making the landscape look much nicer.


 Executive DirectorLarry Underwood 

 Secretary/Treasurer Peggy Pilch 

 Data and Budget Specialist Sandra Whittaker

 Administrative Aide, EditorDonna Wood 

 Asst. to the Executive DirectorRichard Weidenbach

 Soil and Groundwater SpecialistLarry Day

        SWCD Susquehanna Watershed Program

 Technician–Kyle Buel

Technician–Jay Czerniak

Technician–Jessica Moore

 Civil Engineering Technician–Brian Danforth

       SWCD NYC Watershed Agricultural Program

Technical Coordinator–Gideon Frisbee

Civil Engineering Technician–Chris Savage

Technician–Solvei Blue

 Technician/P.E.–David Adams

Technician–Silus Weckel

Technician–Nora Mosher

 Technician–Justine McNeilly

Systems Manager–Brian Caruso

    SWCD  Stream Corridor Management Program

Program Coordinator–Graydon Dutcher

Project Engineer–Ben Dates

 Engineer–Gale Neale

 Technician–Jessica Patterson

Technician–Jeff Russell

 Technician–Mike Coryat

Data and Budget Specialist–Jay Dinga

Data and Budget Specialist–Mike Burud

Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative Coordinator–Catherine Skalda

Stream Program Technician Trainee–Ian Gedicks


Resource Conservationist
Brandon Dennis

Assistant State Conservationist for Water Resources
Dennis DeWeese

Resource Conservationist
Dan Flaherty

Project Engineer
Sam Ly


County Executive Director
Brian Sheridan

Program Technician
Burkley Cole

Program Technician
Suzanne Ly


Nutrient Management Team leader
Paul Cerosaletti

WAP Team Leader
Dale Dewing

Precision Feed Management Planner
James Romack

Nutrient Management Planner/Community Educator
Ben Hepler

Program Assistant
Kim Holden

Calf Management and Livestock Specialist
Rich Toebe

Precision Feed Management Planner
April Wright-Lucas