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					                                         Soil and Water                                                                       United We Stand

                                       Conservation News
                                     Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District
                                                       1771 Hanshaw Road • Ithaca • New York • 14850
                                                          Phone 607-257-2340 FAX 607-257-7896

               Volume 15, issue 3                                                    july 2009

       2009 Southern Tier Regional
       Envirothon / NYS Envirothon
                               By Seth Dennis, Education Coordinator

The Southern Tier Regional Envirothon was held April 30th,
2009 at the Tioga County Sportsman's Association in Owego.
A total of 37 teams participated from Broome, Chemung,
Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins Counties. The Envirothon is
an outdoor, hands-on, environmental competition for high
school students. Teams of up to five members test in the
areas of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current issue
topic. This year's current issue topic was Biodiversity in a
Changing World .                                                       Lansing High School’s Envirothon Team know as the “Invasive Natives”
                                                                       took first place for Tompkins County at the Southern Tier Regional
The overall winners of the Southern Tier Regional                      Envirothon, and 12th out of 55 at the New York State Envirothon. Team
Envirothon included Candor Central School from Tioga                   members pictured above in no particular order are Brendan Hannond,
County taking first place; Chenango Forks from Broome                  Martin VanEs Nicolo Gentile, Ian Garnett, and Katy Bland. Advisor for the
County with second place, and Union-Endicott from Broome               team was Diane Stone.
County placing third. The winners from Tompkins County
included the “Invasive Natives” from Lansing High School
taking first, New Visions “Team A” from TST BOCES                      Check out the insert inside this
grabbing second place, and our newest team from
Trumansburg High School took third. The George Junior
                                                                       newsletter! We are having a Fall Tree
Republic also participated with three teams, and New Vision            Sale on September 28th! Also, you
had a “Team B” as well.
                                                                       asked for it, now you have it! We are
Once again, Candor Central School from Tioga County took
first place at the 2009 New York State Envirothon. This                having a Tire Collection Day on
would make them five time defending champions. The NYS                 September 26th in Lansing. Please see
Envirothon was held on May 27th & 28th at Keuka College.
After winning the Southern Tier Regional Envirothon overall,           insert for all details!
taking first from Tioga County, and winning at the NYS
Envirothon, the team continues on to the Canon Envirothon
to represent New York State. This year the Canon
Envirothon will be held at the University of North Carolina,
August 2nd—8th. Best of luck to the Candor students.                   Save Paper! Save Postage!
The “Invasive Natives” team (Lansing High School) moved                Would you like to receive our
on to represent Tompkins County at the New York State                  newsletter through your e-mail,
Envirothon. Here, they did great taking 12th out of the 55
counties competing from all over NY State. The Envirothon              instead of in your mailbox? Let us
program is sponsored and supported by Soil & Water
Conservation Districts nationwide. For more information
                                                                       know that you would like to conserve!
about    the    Envirothon     Program,     please    visit            E-mail to sign, or To create a
team at your Tompkins County school, please contact Seth               up or call our office and ask for Seth,
Dennis at the SWCD office.                                             257-2340.
July 2009      Page 2                                Tompkins County SWCD                            

   State Funding or More Appropriately Lack                           Stormwater projects on behalf of the MS4 municipalities and
                  There Of!                                           the Stormwater Coalition of Tompkins County. The earliest of
  Effects on Water Quality Programs Throughout the County             these grants goes back to 2003, yet no money has been
                                                                      forthcoming. Municipalities, agencies, and others (CCE,
                                 By: Craig Schutt, District Manager
                                                                      Planning, Health Department, SWCD, Floating Classroom, etc.)
                                                                      have all completed work in good faith that they will be
It is no secret that NYS is in the midst of a severe economic
                                                                      reimbursed for a mandated and regulated program, as of now
recession as is the entire country. I feel compelled at this time
                                                                      everyone is still waiting and wondering. The SWCD also has
to up date you of the devastating effect this situation is having
on all water quality programs and projects here in Tompkins           several grants to implement water quality projects on farms
County and across the state. A bad situation that has only            throughout the county. Some of these farms are permitted
been made worse by actions in Albany with the taking of               CAFO operations with time lines to implement those practices,
funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) for other          but due to the extremely poor milk prices the industry is
purposes. To understand the significance of this action it is         currently experiencing, most are unable to implement
important to understand the history of the EPF. The EPF was           practices without the grant funds. Yet again those funds are
                                                                      not being released. To add to that there are grant funds
set up as a supposed “dedicated” fund for environmental
                                                                      promised to the SWCD for critical stream projects (over
protection within the state. It was solely funded through the
                                                                      $300,000 state funds) within the county that no one knows
real-estate transfer tax (RETT), a tax that the state collects
                                                                      when or if they will be released. FL-LOWPA funding (’08-’09) is
every time there is a real-estate sale within NYS. The RETT
was used for this purpose because it has always been a                tied up in the mess as well. That is $85,000 to the county and
reliable source of funds, even during economic down turns. In         administered by the SWCD, for a wide array of water quality
better times the RETT far exceeded funds used in the EPF and          programs and projects. Some of the programs in jeopardy
so several times that excess has been “swept” by state                include citizen based water quality monitoring of streams,
government to help close budget deficits. Although                    hydro-seeding of road ditches for municipalities, supplemental
environmental groups and others did not agree with these              funding to the County Flood Hazard Mitigation Program, the
                                                                      USGS stream gages on Sixmile and Salmon Creeks, as well as
actions, they were allowed because all funds promised in
                                                                      several other programs and projects. Programs and projects
adopted budgets for environmental programs remained safe
                                                                      that may not continue, or will be seriously hampered without
and obligated funds were paid on a reasonably timely basis.
                                                                      this critical financial support. Contractors will not be hired and
That all changed in this past year and into 2009, a complete
                                                                      local businesses will not sell materials needed for these
or nearly complete sweep of the EPF took place (reported to
be about $300 million) and all funding for environmental work         projects as well. Finally, I must say that SWCDs across NYS
literally dried up. Even funds that were under contract from          are dependent on direct reimbursement of funds from the EPF
several years back; yes NYS seems to think it is acceptable to        for our many water quality programs and projects. Each
not honor signed contracts in a timely manner and not have            county SWCD is eligible to earn up to about $50,000 annually
any water quality projects or other environmental work move           for work completed the year before. SWCDs are dependent on
forward. To insure that no EPF funds would be released the            these funds for general operating expenses such as helping to
                                                                      pay employees salaries. I will say there are indications within
Executive branch of state government created another layer of
                                                                      the last few days that some of these funds may be
bureaucracy in the Office of Budget with the sole power to
                                                                      forthcoming soon. If this holds true, each SWCD should be
decide when, to whom and if funds will be released at all. All
                                                                      receiving its base reimbursement of $30,000 in a few weeks.
contracts and reimbursement in 2008 requests for EPF funding
                                                                      The Tompkins County SWCD had over a million dollar budget
must go to this office and it appears they have the final say.
The contracting agency rather it be NYS DEC, Ag and Markets,          in 2008, with almost 72% of that coming from state sources.
Parks or whomever can only forward their requests and                 Funds that were appropriated in budgets by the legislature,
advocate for the release of funds. Once the paperwork goes            signed by the governor and with contracts, but have yet to be
to the budget office, it is really out of everyone else’s control,    released. I know this same scenario is playing out statewide
including our elected representatives. Our representatives are        and we are not unique in this dilemma.
strongly advocating for us but admit until the budget office is
                                                                      I felt it only fair to let everyone know what the current
ready to release funds their hands are tied as well. The state
                                                                      situation is and thank all of you for your support as we work
insists all contracts will be honored, but won’t make any
                                                                      through these tough times. We will do our best to continue
predictions when that might happen.
                                                                      providing services as we have in the past, but some of those
So how is all of this effecting Tompkins County? Most of our          might have to change somewhat and some that have been at
funding here at the SWCD is tied to the EPF, a place until            no cost to the public, well unfortunately we may need to
                                                                      charge a minimal fee. Please don’t let that prospect keep
now, we had always felt reasonably secure. It is now July and
                                                                      anyone from asking for assistance. I am sure we can work out
to date we have received no state funding this year even
                                                                      accommodations to meet everyone’s needs. The SWCD has
though we are working to implement state mandated water
                                                                      always taken pride in the fact that it is here to provide service
quality programs. The SWCD is the recipient and administrator
                                                                      to all and we will continue to do our best to continue that
of cumulatively of over $532,000 worth of state funding (total
grants total well in excess of $1million) for Phase 2...              policy. The staff and I are all dedicated and determined to
                                                                      come through this unsettling time stronger and a more self-
                                                                      sufficient County Soil and Water District.                                           Tompkins County SWCD                                    July 2009      Page 4

  Tompkins County Pasture Walk 2009                                       for algae and other nuisance aquatic plants, regulate fish
                                                                          health, and keep you safe from harmful bacteria that may be
                  By: Adam Hills, Grazing Specialist                      encountered while swimming. The following list is a summary
                                                                          of the tests that we can perform on-site along with their
On May 13th Grazers from all over the county assembled at the             associated fees. Temperature – will be conducted free with
farm of Dan Carey in Groton, NY to discuss the old and new                any other test analysis. pH – will be conducted free with any
ways of rotational grazing. The guest speaker for the event               other test analysis. Dissolved Oxygen - $15.00 * Nitrate/
was Grazing Guru Rob DeClue from the Chenango County                      Phosphorus - $25.00 * E-Coli - $45.00 (this test will be
SWCD. Rob has over twenty years of grazing experience and                 analyzed by an EPA certified lab and includes delivery to the
knows what works when it comes to getting the most out of                 lab) *a $35 travel fee will be charged for conducting the on-
your grass.                                                               site test and any explanation of results. This fee will also
                                                                          cover any other technical assistance you may need regarding
We started the morning off with introductions and a general               your pond.
background of each participant. Then host farmer Dan Carey
gave everyone the history of his farm and explained why he
switched to grazing over 10 years ago. “It just made sense to
                                                                          Saying Farewell…
use the land we had,” said Dan, and if you look at the lush               The Tompkins County Soil & Water Conservation District says
green pastures surrounding his farm today, you’ll see why it              goodbye and good luck to a 10 year veteran Jessica Verrigini,
makes sense. Before the event Rob was able to take forage                 a Resource Conservation Specialist who has moved on to a
samples from one of the paddocks in use and the proof is in               new position this past May. During her time at the Tompkins
the protein.                                                              County SWCD she has helped design and install multiple Best
                                                                          Management Practices on farms, and assisting landowners
                                     After     the    group               throughout the county. She also had been very active with
                                     discussed     different              Stormwater and was Certified Professional in Erosion &
                                     grazing methods, we                  Sediment Control (CPESC) and also Certified Professional in
                                     moved up the laneway,                Stormwater Quality (CPSWQ). Jessica now is a Stormwater
                                     making stops to look at              Management Specialist for the Rural Stormwater Coalition in
                                     Dan’s watering systems               cooperation with the NYS DEC cover five counties including
                                     along the way. As you                Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, and Yates.
                                     can see from the                     Congratulations, good luck, and we will miss you.
                                     picture we got up close
                                     and personal with the
                                     cows to discuss their
daily routines. Everybody came with questions which I believe
were answered very well by Rob and the other grazing
farmers. When everyone was satisfied with what they had
learned, we headed back to the farm for lunch.

After a filling lunch provided by the Central NY RC&D, we
ended the day with a watering demonstration from Rob
DeClue. Rob has mastered the technique of retrofitting                     TCSWCD Welcomes…
unwanted 55 gallon plastic barrels into perfect watering tools.
We were even able to give out 6 of the plastic barrels to the              Darrel Sturges is the new Resource Conservation Specialist
attending farmers. All in all the day turned out to be a great             taking the reigns from Jessica Verrigni after her departure.
learning experience for new and experienced grazers. Keep                  Darrel “The Sturgeon” grew up in Patterson, NY and has a
your eye open for the next pasture walk coming your way in                 B.S. degree in Business Management/Administration from
Tompkins County.                                                           Mount Saint Mary College and a B.S. degree in Water
                                                                           Resources from SUNY Oneonta. His career began at two
                                                                           different environmental consulting firms where he
             Water Quality Testing                                         calculated mining yields and designed groundwater
                                By: Jon Negley, Conservation Technician
                                                                           remediation systems. He then moved on to the Cortland
Have you wondered why you have so much algae in your                       County SWCD, and had been there for 5 years before
pond, or why you have a fish die-off every summer? You can                 joining the Tompkins County SWCD team.
now get answers to these and other water quality related
questions by having a district staff member perform a test of              “The Sturgeon’s” hobbies include hunting, fishing, and
your pond’s water. These tests will not be EPA certified, but              hiking and recently has added a new addition to the family
will give a good baseline of the water quality in your pond.               welcoming his first born son Wesley on May 14th. Darrel
This data can then be used to determine treatment methods                  looks forward to maintaining and expanding on the
                                                                           stormwater and agriculture programs at the Tompkins
                            Continued...                                   County SWCD.
July 2009    Page 5                           Tompkins County SWCD                      


CLEANSWEEP NY IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL B ENEFIT PROJECT that provides for the environmentally safe and
economic collection and disposal of unwanted or unusable pesticides, school chemicals, golf course chemicals,
and elemental mercury and mercury-containing devices (e.g. manometers and thermometers). CleanSweepNY
also collects and recycles triple-rinsed HDPE plastic containers from agricultural and certain non-agricultural enti-
ties. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation administers the CleanSweepNY project through its
Albany, NY Central Office Pesticides Program. Funding for this environmental benefit project is administered by
the Natural Heritage Trust.

To date, CleanSweep has collected and disposed of over 855,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals, more than 480
pounds of elemental mercury, and approximately 3,200 plastic containers that could have wound up in landfills
across New York State. CleanSweepNY results in enhanced stewardship of the environment through improved
management of those materials which can pose human health risks upon exposure and a significant hazard to the
environment such as water resources.

A FALL 2009 CLEANSWEEP NY collection targeting Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga,
Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins Counties will build on the success to date. The collection will occur during the
week of November 2, 2009. When arrangements have been finalized, collection site locations will be posted at Holders of pesticides and chemical materials who are located in other counties
may also participate if they register and transport their materials to the collection sites.

ACCEPTED FREE OF CHARGE OR AT LOW FEE. CleanSweepNY funding was originally earmarked for the benefit
of New York agriculture. Farmers and former farm owners can bring unwanted pesticides to CleanSweepNY
events at no charge and with no quantity limit. For all others (excluding home owners),
CleanSweepNY will accept 100 pounds or less of unwanted pesticides free of charge from these sources: non-
agricultural certified pesticide applicators, retail establishments, commercial or home & garden pesticide holders,
golf courses, schools, marinas, cemeteries and others. A nominal fee of $1.35 per pound will be charged for each
pound of pesticides over 100 pounds. The rates are substantially lower than typical fees for privately negotiated
legal disposal. A pricing sheet is posted on the webpage.

CleanSweepNY services are not available to homeowners. Information about household hazardous waste collec-
tions can be accessed at

PRE-REGISTRATION & INFORMATION         Pre-registration is mandatory to participate in CleanSweepNY. Fall
2009 Registration deadlines are October 2nd for holders of unlabeled or unknown products and compressed
gas cylinders, and October 23 rd for all other participants.

Requesting a registration packet is easy and can be done by calling 1-877-793-3769 or by e-mail to NOTE: Information received by CleanSweepNY is kept confidential.

There is NO enforcement potential for any product turned in as part of this collection project. NO enforcement
has been taken on any of the 1,629 registered participants in 11 CleanSweepNY events.

     Please participate and help us to properly manage unwanted pesticides and chemicals in NY State!                                   Tompkins County SWCD                   July 2009      Page 3

                                                                        Advertise Here!
                                                                        Call our office for details.

      ? Landscape Planting ? New Lawns ? Drainage
       ? Hydro -seeding ? Conservation Plantings
       ? Erosion Control ? Shoreline Stabilization

                    DISTRICT SERVICES
                    • Hydro-seeder (fee)
                 • No-till Drill (fee for rental)                     Please remember our
          • Broadcast Seeder (loaned out for free)                  newsletter sponsors when
                    • Soil Sampling (fee)
                • Pond Site Evaluations (fee)                       you need the products and
        • Streambank Erosion, Technical Assistance                  services they offer. Thank
         • Drainage Problems, Technical Assistance                             you!
           • Comprehensive Nutrient Management
Tompkins County SWCD
1771 Hanshaw Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

Soil & Water Conservation Districts
        in New York State

 Providing Today, Protecting Tomorrow

                                                                                                              Board of Directors
                                                                                       Ron Updike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair, Member at Large
                                                                                        Dan Carey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-Chair, Farm Bureau
                                                                                        Alan Teeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grange
                     ITEMS FOR SALE AT THE                                                Frank Proto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Legislator
                                                                                           Greg Stevenson . . . . . . . . . . . . County Legislator
                         SWCD O FFICE
                                                                                                                  District Staff
                                                                                      Craig Schutt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conservation District Manager
  •     BLUEBIRD BOXES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 11.88 *         Vicki Hendrix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District Secretary/Treasurer
                                                                                         Darrel Sturges. . . . . . . . . . . . Resource Cons. Specialist
  •     BAT ROOSTING BOXES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.28 *
                                                                                          Adam Hills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grazing Specialist
  •     WOOD DUCK BOXES - PINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38.88 *                   Seth Dennis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Education Coordinator
  •     KESTREL /SCREECH OWL BOXES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27.00 *                    Jon Negley . . . . . . . . . . . Conservation Technician
  •     FERTILIZER TABLETS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16/EACH               Jake Bengeyfield . . . . . . . . Project Assistant
  •     MARKING FLAGS . . . . . . . . . . . . .       .13/EA . OR 100/$8.64 *
                                                                                                                   USDA - NRCS
  •     TREE PROTECTORS - AVAILABLE AT TREE ORDER TIME ONLY                             Patrick Barry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District Conservationist
  •     RAIN GAUGES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.96 *                                              (Schuyler & Tompkins Counties)
  •     NYS STANDARDS & SPECIFICATIONS FOR EROSION &                                   Lori Beach . . . . . . . . . . Civil Engineer Technician (Area III)
        SEDIMENT CONTROL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65.00         Josh Hornesky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Soil Conservationist
            HARD COPY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50.00
                                                                                        Board meetings are held monthly on the 2nd
  •     SOIL GROUP WORKSHEETS - NEW . . . . . . . . . . . 25.00                        Monday at 12:30 P.M. in the District office. The
                                   REVISED . . . . . . . . 15.00                                  public is always invited.
  •     TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7.00*
  •     TREE & SHRUB PROGRAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   VARIES               Tompkins County Soil & Water Conservation District
                                                                                                       1771 Hanshaw Road
  •     FISH STOCKING PROGRAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    VARIES
                                                                                                         Ithaca, NY 14850
  •     BARLEY STRAW (PER BALE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        VARIES
                                                                                             Phone 607-257-2340                   Fax 607-257-7896

      The Tompkins County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service
      prohibit discrimination in all their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gen-
      der, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.