New York’s Draft Great Lakes Action Agenda 2030 Public Comment Period is Open Until November 25th

The public comment period for New York’s Draft Great Lakes Action Agenda 2030 (GLAA) has been extended until November 25th. Feedback can be provided by emailing

Public webinars to review the GLAA and discuss it with NY Great Lakes basin stakeholders were held on October 25th and November 14th. The presentation slides and recording from the October webinar can be found here. A recording of the November 14th webinar is available upon request.

Conservation Farm of the year – Youngman Farms


 WHEREAS, Youngman Farms, operated by the Youngman Family, as a fourth generation family-owned and operated farm in the Towns of Butler and Wolcott where the farmstead is located on VanVleck and Smith Roads have been named the 2022 Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Farm of the Year.  This 450 acre farm (300 owned – 150 rented) was originally started in 1946  by Gordon and Barbara Youngman and is now run by their son Allen and his wife Kimberly, along with their son Shawn and his wife Tasha and their children with extra special assistance from Uncle Art; and

 WHEREAS, Youngman Farms began as a fruit farm, then evolved into a dairy operation before transiting into its current beef operation where they focus on all-natural high quality beef. The farm has between a 225 to 250 head of cattle, which consists of Angus, Hereford, Hereford/Angus crosses and some Charolais. The cattle graze on almost 100 acres of pasture that the animals rotationally graze during the season. The farm strives to produce all of the animal’s feed needs on the farm; and

 WHEREAS, Youngman Family have been working strategically to build an operation that provides quality food for their community while addressing water quality as part of the Wolcott Creek Watershed of Port Bay through active planning, management and implementation of conservation systems which include but are not limited to a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, Prescribed Rotational Grazing System, Livestock Heavy Use Area Runoff Management Systems, Silage Leachate Control and Treatment System, Access Control/Stream Crossing System and Cover Cropping; and

 WHEREAS, Youngman Farms have continued to be stewards and partners within the agricultural community working with both United States Department of Agriculture and Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District through the New York State Agriculture Environmental Management Program for crop production and management of other natural resource issues; and

 WHEREAS, the Youngman’s’ are very community oriented family, having used the farm for Pasture Walks and other demonstrations on the conservation practices they have implemented on the farm as well as having a store on the farm to sell their products. They are constantly looking for ways to improve the farm environmentally, maintain sustainability and still be financially viable. Their stewardship and enthusiasm are infectious and have been a joy to work with; now, therefore, be it

 RESOLVED, that the Wayne County Board of Supervisors acknowledges and congratulates the Youngman Family as the 2022 Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Farm of the Year because of their dedication and commitment to protect and conserve the natural resources within our community through the New York State Agricultural Environmental Management Program. 

Water Quality Updates: Summer 2022

New York State Fishing Access Site’s new floating dock system at Port Bay South, June 2022

Water Quality continues to be a concern due to changing weather, and temperatures, through watershed management. Throughout the summer of 2022 until Columbus Day, District staff will be reviewing water quality and positing updates if there are specific concerns on the waterfronts and how to manage them throughout Wayne County.  Watersheds are the entire area that supplies water to a waterbody. This can potentially make up 1000s of acres of land with various topography, and use.  Water quality update reports will include descriptions based on weather patterns, temperature, what you are seeing in the water, invasive species and local water quality projects.

The District monitors water quality across Wayne County throughout the year and tried to address targeted issues that have been brought up by the communities. One of the positives from the COVID response was the District’s Landowner Assistance Program (LAP forms) and Municipal Assistance Program (MAP forms) that are available online to help target and narrow down issues. This form is fillable and allows the landowner or municipal leader to upload a request and photos in real time from our Website.

This report allows us to see where review is needed. The LAP/MAP program is for technical review by trained technicians. It is not a grant program.  The District staff will review the site through technical maps, permitting needs and water quality considerations and then will follow up with the requestor by email or by phone depending on the initial review findings. On a rare case, there may be a request for an on-site visit. This process may take 2-3 weeks depending on the amount of requests that come in at once.

The District’s Technical Staff is made up of 5 people that have made community water quality their professional career. They focus on the “bigger picture” of watershed management while working to address the water quality impacts of the local community.


Soil Health

2022 Soil Health & Climate Resiliency Field Days

Join the New York Soil Health team and partner organizations at a soil health field day! The statewide event series will take place May-August 2022. For more information visit

IJC is Seeking Comments on Water Levels Plan

International Joint Commission (IJC) Seeking Comments on Phase I Review of Water Levels Plan

The Great Lakes Adaptive Management (GLAM) Committee has completed its Phase I review of Plan 2014, the plan for regulating Lake Ontario outflows. The Plan went into effect in 2017 and was preceded by extremely wet conditions, causing significant flooding impacts to both US and Canadian communities. In response to public concerns, the IJC asked the GLAM Committee to launch an expedited review.

There are two review phases, the first phase focused on providing information to the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) during this ongoing period of near-record high inflows from Lake Erie. It analyzed the impact of high water levels on shoreline homes, marinas, commercial shippers and more. Early results in 2020 helped the ILOSLRB set Lake Ontario outflows more effectively in the spring of that year. The full review of Phase I is now complete and available for public comment.

Comments can be submitted on the IJC’s website until April 14, visit

Read the Report

The second phase will address extreme high and low water levels over the longer term. In this phase the GLAM Committee will advise the ILOSLRB on whether adjustments to the plan might make sense, not just for the current conditions, but overall. That review is expected to be completed by late 2024.

Any changes to Plan 2014 would need to be approved by the IJC and agreed to by the Governments of Canada and the United States.

DEC Announces Annual ‘Buffer in a Bag’ Program

Free Seedlings Available to Qualified Landowners for Streamside Plantings

The application period for DEC’s Trees for Tribs’ Buffer in a Bag Program is now open. Qualifying private and public landowners may apply for a free bag of 25 tree and shrub seedlings for planting near streams, rivers, or lakes to help stabilize banks, protect water quality, and improve wildlife habitat.

To qualify, landowners must have property in New York State with at least 50 feet that borders a stream, river, or lake, and provide photos or a map of the planting location. We encourage previous recipients to reapply to continue building their riparian buffer. Applicants are eligible for one bag of 25 seedlings and recipients are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.

A total of 350 bags will be available statewide for this round of applications, so apply right away.

Interested applicants can visit DEC’s website for more information about the Buffer in a Bag application process and requirements.  Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11th.

Full NYS press release can be found at

Are you located in an Ag District? Do you need a Soil Group Worksheet?

The agricultural assessment program allows eligible farmland owners to receive real property assessments based on the value of their land for agricultural production rather than on its development value.  Any assessed value which exceeds the equalized agricultural assessment on the land may qualify for a reduced tax assessment.

Landowners must apply through the local town assessor for an agricultural assessment. Further Information on Agricultural Districts can be found here, contact information for local assessors can be found here.

Do you qualify? Find out by visiting the Soil Group page, there you can find more information about the program and will be able to download a brochure. You may also call our office at 315-946-7200

1.2 million has been awarded to the State’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to help 33 farms!

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced more than $1.2 million has been awarded to the State’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to help 33 farms implement practices to protect the environment. Funding from two programs will help these farms to conserve water resources, reduce the impacts of climate change, and implement environmental plans needed to participate in the New York State Grown & Certified program.

Commissioner Ball said, “As we celebrate Earth Day today, we also celebrate the work our farms are doing to improve and green their operations. Our farmers, working with their SWCDs, have long been implementing best management practices that are helping to reduce their environmental footprint and combat climate change. The funding announced today will help nearly three dozen farms to use advanced technology to conserve water, protect the land, and prioritize our natural resources.”

High-Efficiency Irrigation Water Management Systems Program

Through the Efficiency Irrigation Water Management System program, the Department has awarded $675,668 to SWCDs for the installation of new or upgraded water irrigation systems on 20 farms. This will allow farms to improve or expand their use of water resources and, at the same time, protect the environment by using high-efficiency systems, particularly micro-irrigation systems, that strategically place irrigated water within the root zone of the target crop. The new systems will help farms to conserve water resources and reduce the impacts of climate change while improving their ability to maintain consistent farm yields. They can also be used to target and deliver nutrients to the plant, reducing pollution risks to water resources.

Funding for High-Efficiency Agricultural Irrigation Water Management Systems has been made available through the Environmental Protection Fund. The following SWCDs received funding on behalf of farms in their county:

Essex County SWCD, one farm
Jefferson County SWCD, two farms
Madison County SWCD, one farm
Orleans County SWCD, seven farms
Saratoga County SWCD, one farm
Schuyler County SWCD, one farm
Seneca County SWCD, one farm
Suffolk County SWCD, one farm
Wayne County SWCD, three farms
Wyoming County SWCD, one farm
Yates County SWCD, one farm

AEM Implementation for NYS Grown & Certified Program

Through this program, 13 farms were awarded $564,195 to help them implement environmental plans that are needed to participate in the NYS Grown & Certified program. The NYS Grown & Certified program recognizes New York farms that are committed to producing high-quality agricultural products with a focus on environmental responsibility through the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program.
An AEM plan assists fruit, vegetable, specialty crop growers, and other farmers to produce foods and products using the highest environmental standards. It also helps farmers protect and improve New York’s natural resources, including water and soil quality.

Funding for the AEM Implementation for NYS Grown & Certified program has been made available through the Environmental Protection Fund. The following SWCDs received funding on behalf of farms in their county:

Niagara County, three farms
Orleans County, one farm
Schoharie County, one farm
Wayne County, eight farms

Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Dale Stein said, “The funding announced today will help our farms incorporate important practices into their daily operations to conserve and protect our natural resources. I thank our SWCDs for their work to help our farmers continue to steward the environment now and for our future generations on the farm.”

(reprinted from NYS Ag and Markets)

Celebrate National Agricultural Week 33,400 farms in NY with more than 55,000 people employeed

This #AgWeek, be grateful for all the farmers and growers in New York who work every day from sunrise to sunset to ensure that safe, delicious, high-quality food delivered to local grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Thank you for all that you do!

On-Farm Housing Grants Available

PathStone Corporation is currently accepting applications for their 2021 On-Farm Housing Grant

This program is a matching grant of up to $2000 to repair and upgrade existing farm labor housing. Examples of eligible repairs include, but are not limited to: bathrooms, plumbing, laundry facilities, recreation rooms, upgrading kitchens and appliances, heating, windows, ceilings, doors, and other major structural components.

Farm Owners must agree to provide $1 for every $1 provided by PathStone Corporation. This grant is available in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston and Genesee counties. If interested, or if you have questions, please contact Susan Lerch at 585-261-1779 for an application.

Applications will be due March 1, 2021 and the work will need to be completed by May 21, 2021. Please help us spread the word as we want to assist as many farms as possible!

The program is limited to farmers and growers who own existing farm labor housing that is in need of repairs and upgrades that will have a direct impact on the safety and health of farmworkers.

Typical Examples
• Bathrooms and plumbing systems
• Kitchens and replacement of appliances
• Heating and insulation
• Interior walls, floors, and ceilings doors, windows, and other major structural components

Click here to download a brochure /2021-Farm-Housing-Grant/