HONESDALE -- Wayne Conservation District Director Jamie Knecht released the 2021 Annual Report, which reviews the activities among the various programs administered by the District.
Knecht said Keystone College graduate Trevor Tochydlowski joined the Conservation District team in December as Forestry Specialist, taking over for Kelley Stewart who resigned in September to take a collegiate teaching position.
One of the key Watershed Programs instituted in 2021 stemmed from a Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener grant to reimburse farmers across the northeast region for the cost of creating a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. Knecht said these plans, which can cost the farmer tens of thousands of dollars in some cases, makes them eligible for grant funds to implement the best practices noted in the plan.
Last year, 13 contracted landowners enrolled in the program-- eight in Wayne County, one each in Pike and Monroe, and three in Lackawanna County. That effort continues with willing and motivated landowners in 2022.
The report also noted DEP created a means of submitting permits electronically for both Chapter 102 (Erosion & Sediment Control) and Chapter 105 (Dam Safety & Waterway Management). While the staff has reviewed several online submissions for both types of permits, the office is still accepting paper applications as well.
Seven farmers took advantage of the District’s Cover Crop Reimbursement Program in 2021, planting a total of 183 acres with cover crops. The Conservation District uses the money from the Clean Water Fund to reimburse farmers 75 percent of the cost of the cover crop seeds.
Knecht said based on estimates from Sustainable Agriculture Resource Education, those cover crops prevented nearly 220 tons of soil from eroding and polluting the waterways. For context, Knecht said that equates to 10.5 typical tri-axle truckloads of dirt.