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Tioga Soil and Water Conservation Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Environmental Youth Corps August 1978 E Branch Project

On November 27, 1944, the Tioga County Legislature, decided to make the preservation of the counties natural resources a priority. In doing so, the legislature authorized the creation of what is today known as the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District. The District’s core mission is to assist individual landowners, groups and units of government with any natural resource concern that is brought before it. This may take the form of technical advice, technical assistance or finding a solution through another entity.

As the District celebrates our 75th anniversary this year, District Manager Wendy Walsh reflected on the programs, projects and staff that have worked to strengthen the conservation ethic in our county and protect our natural resources. Over the years, the District has strived to develop programs that deliver benefits to our municipalities, landowners and agricultural operations in the county. Our primary focus has been on meeting local needs but also making sure the work we do will provide both regional and watershed wide improvements.

Installation of a lined manure pit in the Town of Candor in 1996

Across the United States, there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts. The core mission of each district is to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forest and wildlife. Whether decades ago or here and now, protecting resources is a crucial cause. Over the last few years, the District has purchased two no-till drills to assist farmers with no-till planting, purchased a new hydroseeder to assist municipalities with the seeding of critical areas, and expanded office spaces for our growing staff. Ron Dougherty, current Tioga County Soil and Water Board Member explains, “Wendy Walsh and the current Soil and Water team deserve a great deal of credit for all they do in continuing this 75 year legacy of preserving Tioga Counties’ natural resources.”

Today, the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District assists with:

• Agricultural Conservation – By working with local farms, the District focuses on the preservation of natural resources through the implementation of conservation practices. Some of these practices include the installation of riparian buffer areas, no-till planting, structural practices such as heavy-use protection areas, and planting cover crops.
• Urban Conservation – A District favorite of many community members is our annual tree and shrub seedling sale, held in April of every year. The sale gives an opportunity for rural landowners to learn more about backyard conservation practices that can help promote healthy soil and water on their property and throughout the community.
• Environmental Education – Every year the District makes it an effort to put boots on the ground and participate in education and outreach events throughout the county. You’ll catch us at the Tioga County Fair, the Candor Daffodil fest, and even in schools throughout the county. We also love to partner with local community groups to hold pot up events and plant riparian areas!
• Stream Conservation – By walking and inventorying different watersheds throughout the county, our staff is able to take information gathered to monitor stream health and prioritize areas in need that are consistently affected by flooding, debris damage, and erosion. The District works with towns, municipalities, and private landowners to provide technical assistance to promote stream health throughout the county.

As programs and services continue to grow, the District looks forward to making natural resource conservation and preservation in the County a priority. To learn more about the District, visit us at Tiogaswcd.org, stopping by our main office located at 183 Corporate Drive Owego, or giving us call 607-687-3553. Be sure to follow us on Facebook @TiogaSWCD for updates and program opportunities! Here’s to another 75 years!

– By Miranda Palmer