Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Successful year for Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District

water qualityThe Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District closes out 2021 with the release of their Annual Report.  The document details the District’s 2021 programs, projects, and events.

“The accomplishments listed in our 2021 Annual Report would not be possible without the steadfast support from our Board of Directors, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hamilton County, and local organizations and agencies” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart.  “Technicians Lenny Croote and Jaime Parslow, and Clerk Marj Remias provided expert and excellent service to landowners and municipalities year round.”

Highlights from the District’s Annual Report include:

MARION BROOK STABILIZATION PROJECT
This summer, the District, Village of Speculator Department of Public Works, United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, long lake trail workand the Bluman family partnered to stabilize 120 feet of Marion Brook’s streambanks.  The Village of Speculator contacted the Hamilton County SWCD for assistance, and District staff recommended installing Streamco willow wattles and rock structures for effective streambank erosion control.  The willows established well, grass grew, and the riparian buffer began to take shape.  The District created a video that details the project, and is available on Vimeo.

WATER MONITORING PROGRAM

  • Created and published GIS Story Maps showcasing 2020 lake monitoring data
  • Monitored priority lakes from May through October
  • The District contracted with an Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) certified lab in Rochester to complete lake sample analysis
  • Shared lake monitoring data with lake associations, colleges, and the public
  • Work has begun on the 2021 Water Quality Monitoring Report
  • Assisted lake associations with water quality needs

HYDROSEEDINGhydroseeding

  • Hydroseeded 9.5 acres for private landowners and municipalities
  • 5 miles of road ditches were hydroseeded for municipalities

RECYCLING PROGRAMS

  • Assisted Hamilton County with recycling paper
  • The District partnered with marinas to recycle 4,880 pounds of plastic through the Boat Storage Plastic Recycling Program

GREEN SERVICES

  • Reviewed and provided feedback on Hamilton County Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Assisted municipalities, landowners and loggers with erosion and sediment control problems, road restoration and stabilization, stream stabilization, and critical area seeding
  • Partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation to provide flood assistance to the Town of Lake Pleasant. The District’s trash pump was utilized to control flood water in a Lewey Lake tributary.
  • Soil pH and fertility tests for landowners

INVASIVE SPECIES
Invasive Plant Management

  • Croote and Parslow are Certified Pesticide Applicators.
  • Treated 30 purple loosestrife sites by pulling, cutting, or herbicide
  • Treated 1 Phragmites site with herbicide
  • Treated 25 Japanese knotweed sites with herbicide, 800 canes were stem-injected with herbicide
  • Staff dedicated 80 hours to management

Invasive Species Monitoringpurple loosestrife

  • Surveyed Eighth Lake for aquatic invasive species – none found
  • Spiny waterflea tows during lake monitoring – none found
  • Galerucella beetle monitoring on Oxbow Lake, Speculator Pavilion, and Sacandaga River – leaf damage and stunted growth of purple loosestrife was seen

Landowner Assistance

  • Species identification
  • Best management practice recommendations

CONSERVATION EDUCATION

  • Over 481 people of all ages attended conservation presentations and events
  • Replied to over 357 natural resource information requests
  • Forest Pest Symposium – Our District organized and hosted this event on April 22. Presenters included APIPP, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  39 people attended.
  • Held the 41st annual Conservation Field Day for fifth and sixth graderscaitlin stewart

WATER TESTING PROGRAM

  • Landowners dropped off 45 water samples for analysis with certified results
  • Samples are analyzed for lead, copper, a water chemistry panel (alkalinity, total hardness, calcium hardness, fluoride, chloride, and conductivity), total coliform and coli

GIS SERVICES

  • Assisted landowners with GIS services
  • Digitizing Master Plan for Village of Speculator
  • Town of Arietta cemetery project
  • Town of Morehouse snowmobile trail project
  • Lake Monitoring Program results story maps

water samplesSEPTIC SYSTEM REPLACEMENT FUND
At the request of Hamilton County, the District is administering this program. Lake Eaton was identified by New York State as being in a priority geographic area where there is a critical need to reduce the impact of sewage effluent from cesspools and septic systems on groundwater and surface water.  The Program provides grants to homeowners to cover up to 50% of the eligible costs of eligible septic system projects, up to $10,000 per project.

  • Staff dedicated 47 hours to the program
  • Developed all program logistics and outreach materials
  • Ranked applications
  • 11 of 13 applicants were awarded funds, expending the entire $85,000 grant for Lake Eaton

HAMILTON COUNTY TRAIL INITIATIVES

  • Staff dedicated 779 hours to the trail initiatives
  • Hired two seasonal technicians for trail work thanks to generous funding from Hamilton County
  • Built trail on Buck Mountain with support from the Town of Long Lake and the Adirondack Mountain Club
  • Assisted DEC with bridge construction on Colonel Peck’s Grave trail, construction of bridge on Pillsbury Mountain Trail, Mad Tom bridge construction
  • Foxey Brown Trail – brushing, cleared beaver dam by new bridge
  • Panther Mountain maintenance
  • Tannery trash removal
  • Powley Road campsite cleanup
  • Auger Falls trail assessment
  • Sacandaga Pathways work – stained signs, weed whacked, brush work
  • Blue Mountain trail – worked with volunteers and DEC on old ranger cabin restoration

“2021 was a stellar year for natural resource conservation in Hamilton County,” said Stewart.  “The District team is always eager to implement cutting edge technology and fresh ideas that get conservation on the ground.”

Hard copies of the report are available at the District office, 103 County View Dr., Lake Pleasant.  The report is also available on their website.

The District has been working to manage and promote the wise use of natural resources in Hamilton County since 1965.  For more information go to www.hcswcd.com or call 518-548-3991.

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Caitlin Stewart manages the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD). The District's mission is to manage and promote the wise use of Natural Resources in Hamilton County. Caitlin will be sharing the District's conservation-focused services, programs, and events. She’s been a full time resident of Hamilton County since 2008 and is an avid hiker, skier, paddler, and biker. She is obsessed with adventuring with her dog Artemis.




2 Responses

  1. Bill Ott says:

    Ms. Stewart,
    It is just in the past hour that I have discovered what a great contributor you are to this site. Your articles are not flashy and dramatic, such as saving lives on Mount Marcy. They are just about saving the Park itself.
    There are 50 bullet points above describing what the HCSWCD has done to protect the land. Some of those bullets describe what seem to me to be large projects. [Smiley Face] Thankyou.

    • Caitlin Stewart says:

      Hello Bill,

      Your comment was an incredible way for me to begin my day. Our HCSWCD is a small team of 4, but we are mighty thanks to the support of our partners and in-house expertise. Thank you for taking your time to read about how we manage and promote natural resources in Hamilton County. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and joyful new year.

      With gratitude,
      Caitlin

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