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.

Annual SWCD Work Plan

The district’s soil and water conservation and management objectives are generally focused on the natural environment within suburban and urban settings. As described in the district's Work Plan, these objectives are tailored to the unique ecological diversity of Westchester County, where the Hudson River, Long Island Sound and Croton River and their tributaries define much of the county’s character as well as its boundaries. 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 Work Plan focuses on:

  • carrying out stormwater management and natural resources restoration projects and studies
  • seeking non-county funding for additional projects
  • partnering with other entities to achieve mutual soil and water conservation objectives
  • developing and sponsoring public education and professional development opportunities

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 Westchester County 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.

What is the Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon?

Teams of five students, with two alternates, from public and private high schools work together to compete on five environmental topics. They are tested on their knowledge of soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, and a special topic. They also give a five-minute oral presentation, as a team, on a problem-solving scenario related to the year's special topic. The primary goal of the Envirothon is to have students understand and appreciate the natural environment so as to become good stewards of the land. In preparation for the event, students develop research skills, practice team building, and gain an appreciation for consensus decision making.

The Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon incorporates schools from ten counties including: Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Sullivan, and Westchester. The annual Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon takes place in the spring; this year at the Taconic Retreat Center in Milan, NY on March 30, 2020. The highest scoring school from each county advances to the New York State Envirothon.

There is no cost to participating students, parents, or schools other than the necessary transportation to and from the event site. Each student participant and adult advisor will receive giveaways.

For more information about the event, contact Robert Doscher at Westchester’s Soil and Water Conservation District at 914-995-4423 or or Michele Lindsay at Columbia County’s SWCD at 518-267-3311 or .

Any high school within the ten county region is welcome to register. Medical and modeling forms can be brought with you on the day of the event. Please submit the registration form to Michele Lindsay either by email or mail. 

Columbia County SWCD
Columbia Co. SWCD
Attn: Envirothon
1024 Route 66
Ghent, NY 12075
518-267-3311

Work Begins, Grassland Restoration Project at Croton Point Park

The County of Westchester has begun restoring the largest grassland habitat in the Hudson River corridor. The grassland sits atop the former landfill at Croton Point Park. The project is paid for with state funding to the Soil and Water Conservation District. More than 85 acres of grassland will be restored under the two-year-long project. The grassland provides a critically important place for ground-nesting and migratory birds, including raptors, to find shelter, build a home, feed and rest throughout the year. Restoration will halt the grassland’s steady decline in habitat value and raise it to its full ecological capabilities by removing less desirable, invasive plants in favor of more ecologically friendly native plants. Please see the District’s Work Plan for more information.  “Grassland Design & Management Specifications, Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson” (2015), laid the groundwork for the current restoration project.

Confronting Climate Change: What To Expect In Our Region Workshop 

Two hundred seventy-five people attended the Soil and Water Conservation District’s workshop, “Confronting Climate Change: What To Expect In Our Region,” at the Westchester County Center in White Plains on December 12, 2018. It was the largest workshop ever sponsored by the District. Co-sponsors were Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County, Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, Watershed Agricultural Council and Westchester County Planning Department. Arthur DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University; David Vallee, hydrologist-in-charge, Northeast River Forecast Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Mark Wysocki, New York State Climatologist, Cornell University, were the speakers. The following are presentations from the workshop:

Change is in the Air: Global Climate Change from a New York Perspective

Climate Trends in Southeast New York and Their Impact on Flood Frequency

Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Communities Across New York State

Aquatic Restoration Program:

Technical services:

  • 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:

Model ordinances:

Guidance documents:

Related links:

SWCD Board of Directors

Jan Blaire, Chair

Terry Singer, Vice Chair

Suzanne Nolan, Secretary

David Avrin

Frank DiMarco

Andrew Ratzkin

Marc Godick

 

District Manager

Robert Doscher

 

For more information, please contact Robert Doscher, District Manager/Principal Environmental Planner, at (914) 995-4423 or .