This year on April 1st, the West of Hudson Watershed Agricultural Program (WAP) entered into a new six year contract with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) totaling over $4 million in annual funding, a significant increase from previous contracts. The new contract funding will help to accelerate the implementation of the WAP Best Management Practices (BMP) backlog list, and continue the new Watershed Investigation and Repair Crew (WIRC.)
Due to the increased funding for implementation Gladstone Farms and Holley-Hill Farm both had covered feeding areas constructed this year. Gladstone Farms in Andes, NY had two areas built for various animal ages/sizes of their Belted Galway Beef herd. Holley-Hill Farm had a facility built for young livestock/heifers replacing a failing feeding area next to Kerrs Creek in Walton, NY. Both projects will have a positive impact on water quality by reducing animal run-off in sensitive areas.
Along with the NYC DEP funding, the WAP secured a grant of $1.2 million through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for implementation of three manure management conservation practices. A recipient of this grant was Posthaven Farm in South Kortright, NY. The Posts have been active participants in our programs since 1997. The farm has a dairy herd with award winning stock and a small beef herd. Thanks to the RCPP funding, this farm was able to benefit from implementation of a covered barnyard and a manure storage this year. These projects were completed simultaneously with a cost-share from NRCS.
Also in 2019, the WAP expanded the aerial cover crops initiative that seeded into 713 acres of standing corn last year and seeded over 1,200 acres this year. The pilot liming project which targets farms in the Precision Feed Management Program (PFM) is working with a second set of 15 farms. The lime that is spread on these farm fields will enable producers to increase the amount of home grown forages and decrease phosphorus coming onto these farms by decreasing the amount of purchased feeds. Finally as we close out the year, both the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) Pilot Program implemented riparian buffers on four properties for a total of 20 acres. We are proud to report that in 2019 the WAP has completed 199 BMPs on participant farms.
The partnership between the WAP, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and NYC DEP is unique because it combines the resources of multiple partners to both defray the costs over several agencies and to expand our ability to provide benefits that none of the partner agencies would have been able to provide individually.
Read the 2019 Annual Report here.