HAMILTON, NY – “Many hands make light work.” It also rings true that these hands operate the many tools and machines that do the heavy lifting for implementing water quality practices on the ground and near streams.

“Conservation practices don’t just happen in a vacuum. It takes many hands,” said District Manager Steve Lorraine.

For the 12th year, the Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District and its Board of Directors hosted their annual customer appreciation luncheon at the White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton. With 60 guests in attendance, the casual get-together and slideshow of projects implemented serve to appreciate the family of farmers, contractors, local businesses, county highway staff, county supervisors, engineering support, area legislators, state and federal conservation partners and funding organizations.

The many hands help the district initiate its mission to promote voluntary, economically viable and environmentally conscious agriculture through the continual implementation of diverse projects with planning from a locally led Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Program.

Madison SWCD recognize the many hands

A heavy use area project implemented at a local dairy farm. Photo by Troy Bishopp

The effort in 2022 was still marred by construction material challenges, high prices and finding available contractors. Lorraine highlighted the year’s projects that he and his staff of eight worked on using the New York State AEM Program planning matrix. These plans led to funding opportunities, design and construction of grade stabilization projects, municipal culvert projects, stream remediation, manure storage projects, pasture systems, fencing, laneways, spring developments, milk-house waste systems, heavy use areas, riparian buffers, conservation tillage and planting over 850 acres of cover crops locally.

“A special thanks to the Madison County Board of Supervisors for continuing to fund the Flood Mitigation Program. It assists municipalities and landowners with the financial resources to implement designs that the district has completed to repair and upgrade critical infrastructure, capable of handling the severe storm events we have been experiencing recently,” said Lorraine.

Additionally, the district staff managed construction projects, planted trees, installed fencing on stream buffers, consulted on grazing management, developed and applied nutrient management plans, took soil samples, delineated watersheds for culvert sizing, secured stream and lake permits, led educational training events and held the popular annual tree sale within their busy schedule.

The district also worked with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, NYS DEC, the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance to secure funding resources through year-round, extensive grant writing.

To learn more about the work the Madison County SWCD does for the community, or to get your 2023 tree sale order form, contact the district at 315.824.9849 or visit madcoswcd.com.

by Troy Bishopp