Established in 1967 under New York state law by the then County Board of Supervisors, the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District is charged with developing and carrying out soil, water and related natural resources conservation, management and educational activities. Professionals from the county Planning Department provide administrative and technical support to the District’s seven-member citizen board of directors.
Soil and Water Conservation Achievement Awards 2016
The District presented its third annual Soil and Water Conservation Achievement Awards, which recognize activities and projects that promote the conservation, management and restoration of soil and water resources in Westchester County, on December 8, 2016. The awards ceremony was held in Westchester County’s Michaelian Office Building in White Plains. County Executive Robert P. Astorino presented the awards and a framed proclamation to each of the awardees (press release).
A five-member panel, representing the District’s Board of Directors, reviewed the nominees and selected three winners for the achievement award.
Recipients of the 2016 Soil and Water Conservation Achievement Award are:
- The Great Healthy Yard Project of Katonah for Environmental Education
- Pound Ridge Garden Club for Rain Garden at Moat Family Green
- City of Yonkers for Saw Mill River Daylighting at Mill Street Courtyard
Annual Work Plan and Report
The District’s soil and water conservation and management objectives are generally focused on suburban and urban environments. As described in the District’s Annual Report, the objectives are also tailored to the unique ecological diversity of Westchester County, where the Hudson River, Long Island Sound and Croton River watersheds define its borders and character. The District considers a wide range of concerns, such as:
- restoring streams, floodplains, freshwater and tidal wetlands, and other natural resources to improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat
- retrofitting and installing stormwater management practices to improve water quality and control excessive stormwater runoff
- protecting and managing streams, wetlands, ponds, lakes, reservoirs and floodplains
- controlling erosion and sedimentation, and polluted stormwater runoff by advocating the use of best management practices through public education and outreach
- encouraging and facilitating the development and implementation of soil and water resource conservation practices and strategies based on watershed-wide perspectives and analyses
- promoting sound soil and water resource conservation techniques and natural resource stewardship through public outreach and education
The District’s 2017 Work Plan focuses on:
- implementing natural resources restoration and storm water management projects
- seeking non-county funding for additional projects
- installing educational signs at completed project sites
- continuing a conservation achievement awards program
- sponsoring public education and professional development opportunitie
The District continues its partnership with regional, state and federal agencies and organizations, as well as municipalities, to further mutual soil and water conservation and management goals and objectives. District and Planning Department staff also continue to provide technical services and provide information to the public, including the preparation of soil group worksheets for agricultural tax re-assessments.
Work program activities:
- Aquatic Restoration Program
- USDA-NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program, specifically the Streamwalk Program
- Regional and State Envirothons
- Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts (LHCCD) collaborates with New York City and the counties of Ulster, Rockland, Rensselaer, Putnam, Orange, Greene, Dutchess, Columbia and Albany.
- Lower Hudson – Long Island Resource Conservation and Development Council including the counties of Ulster, Suffolk, Rockland, Putnam, Nassau and Dutchess, and New York City.
- Preparing Soil Group Worksheets - go to worksheet form.
- Interpreting the USDA-NRCS Soil Survey of Putnam and Westchester Counties
- Stormwater management and water quality protection, including the New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual and New York State Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control
- Natural resources and ecosystem protection and management
- Environmental mapping, such as national wetlands inventory, tidal wetlands, coastal erosion hazard areas, flood zone, and historic aerial photographs
- Analyses of soil content and characteristics may be made through Cornell University’s Soil Health webpage
Publications available online:
- NYS Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control
- New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual
- Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices
- USDA-NRCS Part 654 Stream Restoration Design National Engineering Handbook
- Westchester County Best Management Practices Manual for Individual Sewerage Systems
- Westchester County Best Management Practices Manual for Stormwater Management - 1984
- Westchester County - A Guide to Aquatic Buffers
- Step by Step: Your Guide to Cleaner Water
- Westchester County's Most Invasive Plants
- Erosion and Sediment Control
- Wetland and Watercourse Protection
- Riparian Buffers
- Stormwater Management
- New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee
- New York State Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS)
- National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)
- Start with the Soil: The Groundwork for Healthy Plants