Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Orleans County Legislature unanimously approved the county’s annual appropriation for the Orleans County Soil and Water Conservation District Wednesday after hearing a presentation on one of the area’s where the district works to preserve a cherished county resource.
As in past years, the county will contribute $57,750 to Soil and Water in 2013, an investment that Soil and Water District Manager Dan Schuth said would once again lead to a return of approximately $20 for each $1 in funding.
According to Soil and Water’s January newsletter, the district added more than 370,000 feet of drainage tile in 2012, along with 42,000 feet of new ditches and 4,320 feet of grassed waterways. In 2012, the OCSWCD was the agency that both provided assistance to farms experiencing early budding and again when the canal needed to be drained for maintenance.
The district also administers an annual tree and shrub seedling sale in the spring and organizes a shoreline cleanup in the fall.
Schuth and Oak Orchard Watershed Protection Alliance President David Drake detailed for legislators the work that OOWPA has provided to the local area since 2004. They said the alliance brings together many of the interest groups that focus on segments of a watershed that stretches from northern Genesee county and wide swaths of Orleans County before reaching Lake Ontario.
”The Oak Orchard River breathes life into Orleans County,” said Drake, who noted the waterways impact on agricultural, energy production, tourism, business and residential interests.
The alliance has succeeded in publishing, in partnership with SUNY Brockport, a State of the Basin report on the geology, water quality and other factors in the watershed. It has also won grant funding for agricultural projects aimed at reducing nutrient run off to the waterway, which leads to a number of unwanted results, chiefly algae blooms.
Schuth said the alliance is now working towards creating a watershed management plan, an expensive project but one needed to determine the future of the river.