County Soil & Water receive award

JAMESTOWN – The Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District received the 2012 Conservation Partner Award from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The award is approved by the NRCS State Conservationist for those partners who provide outstanding assistance to landowners in the planning, installation and maintenance of conservation practices in a cooperative effort with the agency.

Robert Halbohm, NRCS District Conservationist for Chautauqua County said that the District received the award for its efforts supporting the maintenance of more than 30 NRCS conservation easements in the county. The Wetlands Reserve Program easements achieve the restoration of degraded wetlands in order to enhance wildlife habitat, provide flood control, and reduce sedimentation of adjacent waterways.

In 2012, District staff visited each site with the landowners to inspect previously installed wetland restoration projects, inventory sites for the presence of invasive species, check easement boundaries, and investigate potential for additional wetlands enhancements. Halbohm commended the District for the professional manner in which it conducted the easement monitoring effort, which enabled NRCS staff to focus their efforts on the Chautauqua Lake National Water Quality Initiative.

David Spann, District Field Manager, who received the award on behalf of the District, stated that the District and NRCS have a valuable partnership that has existed for more than 60 years. The partnership has assisted hundreds of landowners conserve soil, improve wildlife habitat, and protect water quality throughout Chautauqua County, which is one of the most agriculturally diverse regions of New York state.