Group names Chedzoy Farmer of the Year
WATKINS GLEN—The Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District held their annual banquet Friday, Feb. 8 where they gave their annual report and awards to more than 80 attendees. District Field Manager Elaine Dalrymple presented awards to those who had been most involved in conservation efforts throughout 2012, presenting Brett Chedzoy, owner of Angus Glen Farm in Watkins Glen with the Farmer of the Year Award for his various conservation practices he uses on his farm to protect the environment. Merit Awards were also given to Hector Supervisor Ben Dickens and Hector Highway Superintendent Jay Arcangeli, who cooperated with Schuyler Soil and Water providing many shared services over the course of the year.
District Manager Jerry Verrigni, gave a slideshow presentation in which he outlined several of the projects Soil and Water had worked on in 2012, as well as addressing several of the goals they currently have for 2013.
Verrigni discussed Soil and Water’s education efforts in 2013, saying it is one of the big points of focus for the district. He said their pro-education committee also includes members from the Farm Bureau as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension, and they organize several hands-on educational events for both Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts. Verrigni said they have also hosted workshops regarding identification and prevention of the invasive plant species Hydrilla, while obtaining funding to install 10 Hydrilla awareness signs by boat launch sites.
Verrigni addressed two projects involving stormwater management and wetland installation the district worked on throughout last year. He said Schuyler Soil and Water installed markers on stormwater drains in the villages of Montour Falls and Watkins Glen identifying which ones drain directly to a stream or the lake, indicating no dumping is allowed. Verrigni also said the district continued to work with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and the Wetlands Trust to install thousands of wetland plants throughout the county to enhance growth in existing wetlands.
Schuyler Soil and Water had several projects regarding assistance to nearby municipalities. One project included helping with a paint spill in Montour Falls, which Verrigni said was quickly contained, with all of the paint totes removed before it could contaminate a nearby stream. Verrigni said they had completed 85 acres of hydro-seeding in municipalities in 2012 after receiving nearly $25,000 in hydro-seeding equipment. Verrigni said an extensive geographic information system (GIS) mapping project was conducted in Montour Falls, where they used global positioning systems (GPS) to map water and sewer lines, saving the village more than $3,000 in mapping costs. The district also assisted the village in identifying a cicada killer wasp infestation at the village marina, which they were then able to use hydro-seeding to help relocate the species.
Verrigni said agricultural environmental management was a big focus point in 2012. Verrigni said they had worked with hundreds of area farms to develop grazing plans, developing 23 different plans covering more than 1,000 acres of pasture in 2012. He said they assisted with the construction of a composting facility on Lone Oak Farm in Tyrone and a 2.2 million gallon manure storage and 189,000 gallon silage leachate collection system on the Lloyds USA Development Farm in Chemung County. Verrigni said they put extensive work into erosion prevention projects at five different vineyards, which is estimated to conserve hundreds of tons of sediment every year.
Verrigni outlined several of the district’s stream stabilization projects that took place throughout Schuyler County. He said they had worked on streams in the Arnot Forest, Crystal Valley, Cotton Hanlon Road, Peach Orchard Point, South L’Hommedieu and Williamee Road Crossing to prevent potential threats to nearby roads.
Lastly, Verrigni discussed the future of the Lee Harlan Soil and Water Conservation Center, located at the Schuyler County 4H Youth Fair site along Meads Hill Road in Dix. He said since conducting some restoration work they have had many events there, and put up signage, a new water line and an office facility to enhance the capabilities of the center. Verrigni said ther area has a great potential for hosting hands-on educational events, and said they are also looking into having a fair at the site sometime in the future.