Oneida Lake Watershed Agricultural ProgramOneida Lake Watershed Agricultural Program
Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan Addresses Agricultural Issues
Residents, public officials and visitors throughout the Oneida Lake watershed know that a healthy lake environment maintains land values, attracts business, boosts recreation and strengthens the local economy. Given the large size of the watershed (surface and groundwater from five Counties drains into Oneida Lake), regional collaboration across political and municipal boundaries is vital to the success of water quality initiatives.
The most recent example of a successful, basin-wide partnership, developed as part of the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan, is the new Watershed Agricultural Project that involves the cooperation of all five County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). The major goal is the reduction of agricultural non-point sources of pollution throughout the watershed. In support of this goal, Jo-Anne Faulkner has been hired as the Agricultural Watershed Resource Specialist. Ms. Faulkner, who is also the Water Quality Specialist for the Oneida County SWCD, is now working on agriculture programs in the region for a two-year term with funding provided by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. During this time, agricultural data is being collected using the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Program.
With assistance from the SWCD Managers, Ms. Faulkner's work also involves establishing an education and outreach plan, prioritizing water quality impacts from farms, and gathering data for the State of the Lake and Watershed Report. In addition, she has recently developed an Agricultural Advisory Committee, comprised of farmers representing each of the five counties in the watershed. The Committee was formed to encourage farmer participation in the Watershed Management Plan and in shaping regional activities for agricultural projects.
The Agricultural Program's success hinges on education and outreach. To that end, the Agricultural Specialist is responsible for ensuring that farmers in the watershed know about AEM and know that they are encouraged to participate in the project. After using AEM to identify water quality impacts, those impacts will be ranked and prioritized throughout the watershed by using a standard method developed for this project. Future funding and technical assistance will be directed to farms where high priority water quality impacts are identified. The Agricultural Specialist also reports to the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board on a regular basis to assist in the development of the State of the Lake and Watershed Report. This report will serve as a convenient reference for local decision-makers and stakeholders.
If you have questions about the Agricultural Program, AEM, or the role of the Agricultural Specialist, please feel free to contact any of the following people: Jo-Anne Faulkner and Kevin Lewis, Oneida County SWCD (736-3334); John DeHollander, Oswego County SWCD (592-9663), Jeff Carmichael and Doug Fisher, Onondaga County SWCD (677-3851), Jon Stewart, Lewis County SWCD (376-6122), and Mike Johnston, Madison County SWCD (824-9849).
For more information on the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan activities e-mail the Central New York Regional Planning Board.