New York spends $6 million on farm runoff management

ALBANY, New York, March 25, 2004 (ENS): Drinking water for the residents of Troy, New York comes from the Tomhannock Reservoir. To date, their water supply has been polluted with the runoff from six farms in the reservoir's watershed, but that is about to change. The state of New York has allocated $478,000 to fund pollution control practices on those farms.

The farmers will spend the money to address manure and nutrient management with the goal of reducing pollutants entering the reservoir, which provides drinking water for more than 100,000 people in the city of Troy and Rensselaer County.

The Tomhannock Reservoir effort is one of 31 projects worth $6.1 million announced Monday by Governor George Pataki to help New York farmers protect the state’s soil and water resources. This assistance comes from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and is awarded through the New York State Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control Program (ANSCAP).

“Improving water quality in our lakes, streams and rivers is important for public health, the environment and for the success of the agricultural community," Pataki said. "This funding will help New York farmers prevent pollution on their farms, which will further safeguard our environment, while also making their farms more viable.”

ANSCAP is a competitive grant program that awards cost-share funding to county Soil and Water Conservation Districts to address water quality problems facing farms around the state. ANSCAP projects develop water quality assessments, build runoff buffers and waste management systems for watershed protection, and provide technical assistance to farmers.

New York Farm Bureau President John Lincoln said, “Farmers and the environment are going to be forever linked. Funding for non-point source pollution abatement projects is essential for farmers who are voluntarily improving their nutrient management or complying with the Concentrated Animal Feed Operation permits."

Some of the other projects include $150,000 for the Yates County Soil and Water Conservation District to development comprehensive nutrient management plans for 43 small and medium-sized farms in the Seneca Lake and Flint Creek watersheds. Many of the participants are new farmers who are bringing land back into agricultural production.

The Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District will receive $210,100 for implement pollution control practices on six high priority farms in the Steele Creek watershed. Practices include barnyard runoff management systems, milk center waste treatment and disposal systems, manure management systems, and silage leachate control systems. The project will reduce nutrient loading in the watershed, improving the aquatic habitat and drinking water quality.

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