At the recent New York Association of Conservation Districts (NYACD) annual meeting and banquet held in Cazenovia, OCWA–Central New York’s Water Authority–was honored to receive the 2019 NYACD Partnership Award.  The award was in recognition of OCWA’s longstanding support for and partnership with the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) in protecting the Otisco Lake watershed.

The partnership began in earnest in 2012 when OCWA stepped in to provide funding for the District’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) conservation program which was in danger of being substantially curtailed due to loss of funding.  The program was critically important to assist farmers in protecting the Otisco Lake watershed, while maintaining the health and vitality of their farm operations.

In the ensuing years, OCWA partnered with the District to help fund a cover crop reimbursement program whereby farmers were reimbursed for installing cover crops in the watershed to prevent erosion.  The OCWA partnership also funded a waste tire disposal program with farmers which has helped prevent the accumulation of tire piles in the watershed, thereby reducing the chance of tire fires.

Pictured from left to right are Geoff Miller, Peggy Murphy, Mark Murphy, John Bianchini (OCWA Board Chair-standing), Mike Hooker, Jeff Brown and Mike Luber (OCWA Board Secretary).