Written by Kaitlin Fello
The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association has now seen three projects completed with funding from the Sediment, Nutrient, and Pollution Reduction program (SNPR). The SNPR program was founded in 2021 with an objective to drive more watershed improvement projects that protect Seneca Lake water quality. That objective has quickly turned to reality, with the impacts of funding from the program being realized around the watershed.
Four Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) projects were selected for funding through the SNPR program in early 2022, three of which were completed before the year’s end. The Schuyler County SWCD was chosen for two separate projects in the first round of the program’s funding, and both projects focused on agricultural land improvements.
Over 700 acres of farmland was planted with cover crops throughout Schuyler County, and expenses were shared, with Pure Waters covering $10,000 of the $40,000 in seed cost. The SWCD high boy inter-seeder was used, which allows for an expanded window of time in which cover crops can be successfully planted.
“Cover crops improve soil health, increase organic matter, increase permeability to reduce flooding impacts, decrease erosion, and decrease the need for commercial fertilizers. Cover crops are one of the most cost-effective conservation practices we have in our toolbox”, said Jerry Verrigni, Schuyler County SWCD Manager.
More than 500 tons of soil in the Seneca Lake watershed will be protected thanks to the work of the Schuyler County SWCD staff.
The second Schuyler County SWCD project completed in 2022 with funding from the SNPR program was an installation of a retention pond as part of a much bigger project.
In addition to the retention pond installation, the SWCD re-graded over 825 feet of grassed waterway, installed three culvert crossings, installed over 14,000 feet of fencing, and established over seven acres of riparian buffer on a beef farm in Hector.
Seneca Pure Waters shared the cost of the retention pond for this major project, providing $10,000 in funding. Retention ponds aid in the reduction of peak flow during high intensity, short duration storm events. This retention pond stores a minimum of 250,000 gallons of stormwater during peak flow, slowing water and reducing soil erosion on farmland.The Seneca Pure Waters’ SNPR program continues to fund watershed improvement projects through important partnerships with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and is currently reviewing projects for 2023 funding.