East of Hudson: Preserving Working Landscapes in the Croton Watershed

East of Hudson: Preserving Working Landscapes in the Croton Watershed

The East of Hudson (EOH) Agricultural Program’s efforts in 2023 exemplify the Watershed Agricultural Council’s (WAC) core tenets of protecting water quality, preserving working landscapes and providing critical support for watershed farms.

  This year, the WAC implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality on 25% of participating EOH farms. Implemented structural and management conservation practices include nutrient management plans, pasture plantings, dumpster pads for manure removal, protection of heavy use areas, access roads, structures for water control, agrichemical handling facilities.

Since 2020, the WAC has developed five new whole farm plans for EOH farms. The COVID pandemic as well as WAC’s reorganization and restructuring efforts delayed implementation for these new farm participants. This year EOH commenced implementation of BMPs on all five new EOH farms, prioritizing the highest impact BMPs to protect water quality and improve farm operations.

As the EOH program reaches its 26th year of working with watershed farms, many conservation practices are reaching their functional end of lifespan. The repair or replacement of existing best management practices has become a priority for the program. This year, EOH completed the of implementation projects at Zephyr Farm, Arcadia Farm and Big Elm Farm to ensure aging conservation practices will continue to protect water quality in the EOH Watershed.

Development pressure, high land values, suburban expansion, municipal regulation, and the lack of agricultural infrastructure present significant challenges to EOH farms. The WAC is the primary source of support for EOH farms and provides critical support, technical assistance, and agricultural education in the region.

Read more of the 2023 Annual Report here.

Program Stats:

  • 83 Whole Farm Plans
  • 7,426 Acres
  • 2,221 Animal Units
  • 841 BMPs Implemented