July 1, 2020

Consistent with our Continued Operation Plan as of July 1st each WAC facility shall be allowed to increase the density of staff within that facility up to 50%. All field work and office safety protocols will be remain in effect however flexible to remain consistent with the evolving health guidance.

WAC will evaluate the Continued Operation Plan every two weeks and may include updates to communication protocols, safety protocols, density of staff in each of WAC’s facilities and or increased in office reporting requirements.  All amendments to the plan will be communicated and provide for a gradual transition.

See Chart Below: (November 1, 2020 – November 14, 2020)

Southern Tier NYS Current Phase: Phase 4
WAC Continued Operations Stage: Stage 3
Office Hours/Access: Monday – Friday, 7:00am-5:00pm

No weekend access

Remote Working: Encouraged, if effective and efficient
In-Office Staff Density: Maximum of 50%
In-Office Expectation: Supervisors and Administrative Staff minimum of 16 hours per pay period
Field Work: Limited Human Interaction, with proper PPE
At-Risk Staff: Remote Work to the extent possible
Travel: Essential Only
Visitors: Prohibited
Common Areas: Closed
Cleaning Procedures:

 

Subcontracted Janitorial: Continue Enhanced
Employee Work Spaces: Continue Enhanced by staff
Shared Equipment: Continue Enhanced by staff
Bathrooms: Continue Enhanced by staff
PPE Requirements: Masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes.
Personal Pre-Screening: Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. Prior to reporting to the office each day employees shall conduct personal daily pre-screening:

  1. Have you or someone you live with or have been in contact with been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  2. Do you currently or have you in the last 24 hours had any cold or flu symptoms, including a fever, shortness of breath, body aches, loss of sense of smell or cough?

If the answer to any of the screening questions is ‘Yes’ they should call their supervisor and stay home.

Any employee who appears to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) with fever upon arrival to work or who become sick during the day should leave the workplace immediately. If you are not feeling well, you should not be at work. Employees shall stay home until 24 hours after they are free of symptoms. In these instances employees shall remote work if the feel well enough and are authorized to do or utilize sick time.

If any staff develop Covid-like illness, they should stay home until all of the following are true:

  • It has been at least 7 days since the staff’s symptoms started;
  • The staff member has never had a fever or has not had a fever for 3 days without using fever reducing drugs (Tylenol/Ibuprofen/etc.)
  • The staff’s other symptoms have improved

In addition to the office pre-screening questions, please review all current executive orders on travel advisory at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home and confirm you are not required to quarantine in accordance with this advisory.

For the latest updates for New York State please visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

 

May 18, 2020

As we phase back into our workload, construction on Best Management Practices (BMP) projects directly related to improving water quality to the public water supply and DEP contract deliverables are set to begin May 18. Emergency repairs will continue to be made.

Agricultural staff will contact all participants by phone/email to make necessary arrangements. Staff and contractors have been directed to follow social distancing and wear proper PPE when necessary.

Easement and Forestry staff will also continue field work, all following strict social distancing and communicating by phone/email as much as possible.

 

Updated Release: April 2, 2020

WAC and partner organizations have been communicating and coordinating decisions to employ proactive measures together as it relates to our conservation work with a primary focus on the safety of essential and non-essential staff. Ensuring social distancing and limiting interaction with the public for staff in the field is very challenging and in some cases too risky on complex and major construction projects in order to ensure proper oversight. 

As a result, until further notice, the Watershed Agricultural Council will not commence implementation on any contracted agricultural construction projects in the month of April. WAC will reevaluate the start of contracted and new construction projects throughout this month, with a goal to continue May 1st that is consistent with State guidance and staff safety. Carry over projects/contracts will be evaluated for completion on a case-by-case bases to remain consistent with the State guidance. Field work with easement stewardship and forestry will continue to be re-evaluated every two weeks with social distancing, and staff safety in mind.

 

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2020

The Watershed Agricultural Council has been closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. The safety and security of our staff and participants is our highest priority. In the interests of public health, and following guidance from local, state and federal authorities, as well as our closest collaborative partners we have decided to transition all WAC non-essential staff to remote-work operations. This is due to public health guidance to increasing “social distancing.”

Beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, all WAC offices, as well as our partners at the Delaware County Soil and Water District and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, are to work remotely and will not be engaging in any in-person meetings of any kind. All meetings with farmers, forest owners, and the general public will be rescheduled for a later date, or done via phone, email or text. If you have an upcoming scheduled farm visit or meeting, your planner will contact you to reschedule. Scheduled logging site visits will still be taking place unless otherwise stated.

Although non-essential staff are working remotely and not meeting in-person, we are still fully operational and diligently working on projects and will continue to do so. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we all work together during this difficult time. We will continue to evaluate the situation and update our staff, partners and participants with any necessary changes.

Our offices are running on an automated answering system with a staff directory. Each staff’s voicemail will have their contact information. Call: Watershed Agricultural Program and Pure Catskills: (607) 865-4005, USDA Farm Service Agency: (607) 865-4005, Delaware County Soil & Water District: (607) 865-7161, USDA NRCS: (607) 865- 6713, Watershed Agricultural Council Administrative, Forestry and Easement Programs: (607) 865-7790 and Watershed Agricultural Council East of Hudson Program: (914) 962-6355. Please find the Walton office staff directory here.