Public Participation / Agricultural Stewardship Program
Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
The Onondaga County Water Quality Strategy Priority Water Problem List
identified the Chittenango Creek as precluded and Butternut and Limestone Creeks
as impaired. This is primarily due to the negative impacts of sediments and
nutrients on water quality.
The goal of this project was to provide water quality management assistance
to farmers, watershed schools and the general public. The needs of these three
diverse audiences was determined through the use of surveys and focus groups.
Representative individuals from the Chittenango, Butternut and Limestone Creek
watersheds were selected to develop the survey, analyze the results and develop
an Information/Education Strategy for soil erosion and sediment control. The
main emphasis of the project was to enable watershed landowners to become partners
in not only evaluating the problems but also in helping design the solutions.
The Great Lakes Basin spent $10,000 over a 12 month period to: 1) establish
focus groups; 2) survey three target audiences; 3) summarize and prioritize
survey results for each audience; and, 4) design and implement a streambank
Water quality concerns and educational needs of three diverse audiences (farmers,
teachers and planning boards) within the watershed were identified. Surveys
were effectively used to inventory their knowledge and identify their concerns.
Additionally, through the use of focus groups, the survey results were reviewed,
an information/education strategy developed and priorities for implementation
of best management practices established. Results from the surveys for each
audience are summarized below:
A priority need identified in the survey of 15 middle and senior high school
teachers in the watershed was to purchase of good water quality teaching model
that could be shared through a central office. As a result, an Enviroscape portable
watershed model was purchased through this grant.
Seventy letters and surveys were distributed to planning boards in the watershed.
The priority need identified from the twenty who responded was to make available
general watershed and water quality education materials with an emphasis on
urban erosion and sediment control measures related to new developments.
Forty full time watershed farms covering 126,000 acres were surveyed to determine
general farm data, existing conservation practices on the farm, and current
nonpoint source pollution (NPS) conditions and concerns. This information was
evaluated and prioritized with some of the farms exhibiting severe NPS pollution
problems. Farmers requested demonstration projects that would illustrate efficient
and cost effective best management practices. The survey revealed that one of
the main obstacles for farmers is the lack of funding available to implement
NPS pollution abatement projects.
Results from the farm survey and prioritization of farms exhibiting the most
sever NPS pollution problems provided the background information necessary for
Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to seek best management
practice implementation dollars from other grant sources.
The use of willow wattle was demonstrated on approximately 100 ft
of eroding roadbank and streambank to stabilize the soil and divert the water
away from the bank. As a result of the demonstration project, approximately
10.25 tons/year of soil have been prevented from eroding. This low cost method
is effective but not widely used in Onondaga County. The benefits of using willow
wattle were promoted through many education efforts such as conservation tours,
the Family Forest Fair and through the SWCD's newsletter.
Contact: Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District, (315) 469-5034