July 2015
Your trusted source for protecting farms, forest, land and water.
Economic Viability
Come visit us at the Delaware County Fair in Walton, NY August 17-22! This year the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) will be celebrating our Conservation Footprint and positive environmental impact on the NYC Watershed.

Everyday a Pure Catskills member who is also a participant in one or all of our other  programs (Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Easements), will be showcasing their farm fresh food from 12-4pm.

Stop by for a sample and learn more about how the sustainable practices our farmers are practicing are positively effecting the working landscapes and products of the region.


Question: What do portable saw mill demonstrations, s'mores, crumpled paper watershed models, silly handshakes, splash sticks, deer exclosures, and erosion scavenger hunts all have in common?  


Answer: They're all activities experienced by teachers at this summer's Watershed Forestry Institute for Teachers (WFIT), or "Summer Camp for Adults," as one WFITeer dubbed it. From July 12-16, sixteen upstate and downstate teachers explored watershed forestry topics at different sites around the Croton region. The WFIT is designed to inform, inspire, and equip teachers so they return to their classrooms ready to teach students about the source of NYC's drinking water, the essential role forests play in maintaining water quality, and the human dimensions of ongoing watershed stewardship.  After the training, some WFITeers are inspired to apply for a Watershed Forestry Bus Tour grant so their students can discover their watershed first-hand, too.  In an effort to support the growing community of practice of WFITeers, Tyler Van Fleet, Watershed Educator, will organize additional events and trainings throughout the school year to showcase different regional experts and resources available to teachers. One teacher summed-up the impact of the WFIT this way:

"I know so much more about forestry and water now! Not only will I apply it to my everyday life, but I'm also going to pass it on to my students. This has been one of the best run professional development opportunities I've ever been a part of."
Armyworms at a Delaware County farm July 2015. Photo by Heather Magnan
When scouting corn fields in Delaware County last week  several fields with significant armyworm infestations were found. Armyworms (also known as True Armyworms) are a pest of corn and small grains, but in the past in Delaware County, early cut grass fields have been hardest hit. The armyworms we found were mostly small, indicating that they have a long time left to feed. Large caterpillars do much more damage than smaller caterpillars. So, we can prevent crop damage if we scout and monitor size and numbers in our crops.

Armyworm moths (tan to light brown, approximately an inch long with a 1 ½ inch wingspan) are long-range migrants which arrive on the spring storms from their southern overwintering locations. When the moths arrive, they lay eggs in grassy areas. Caterpillars hatch 1 to 2 weeks later. Moths and caterpillars are both nocturnal. Caterpillars are smooth and marked with two orange, white-bordered strips on each side. They vary in color from dark greenish-brown to black and are marked with two orange, white-bordered strips on each side. Caterpillars start out ⅛ inch and grow to approximately 1½ inches long, then pupate just below the soil surface. The caterpillar stage lasts about 3 weeks, but they are usually 10 to 14 days old before damage is noticed.

Damage in corn fields appears as ragged holes chewed from the leaf margins and pellet-like droppings (frass) in the whorls and scattered on the ground. The caterpillars will be found in the leaf whorls or at the surface of the soil. In grass hay fields, caterpillars will begin feeding during the night time on lower parts of the plant and spend the daylight hours in plant debris on the ground surface. As caterpillars grow in size, they spend more time feeding during daylight hours and feeding on the upper parts of the plant. The best time to scout is at dusk, dawn, or early morning.

For more information, contact Paul Cerosaletti at CCE of Delaware County. 607-865-7090
Conservation Easements



Agricultural lands owned by non-farmers in the watershed are invaluable to our farmers as they provide economic and environmental benefits for farming operations. They can provide additional forages to ensure that there is adequate feed for animals during a year of drought or insect infestations, provide farmers the opportunity to diversify their business by allowing opportunities to grow alternative crops or generate surplus forages that can be sold for additional income and access to additional pastures that reduce the concentration of animals, and avoid overgrazing.   Most importantly, it aids farmers in their ability to meet the environmental requirements of a Whole Farm Plan (WFP) which includes having an adequate amount of acres in which to safely apply the manure generated on the farm.


There are economic and environmental benefits to landowners having farmers utilize their lands for agricultural production as well. Farmers help preserve the value and beauty of property by maintaining open fields. There are potential property tax benefits in the form of an agricultural assessment on lands that are utilized by a commercial farmer. Another unique benefit to landowners in the NYC Watershed is the potential to sell a Conservation Easement (CE) to WAC. WAC's Conservation Easement is a recorded, legal agreement between a landowner and WAC that permanently conditions certain land uses in order to protect its conservation value. Landowners that have at least 50 acres and a Supplemental Farm Plan (SFP) are potentially eligible for a WAC CE. The SFP is a document that lists the Best Management Practice's (BMP) utilized to protect water quality and identifies the association between landowners and farmers that are active participants in the Watershed Agricultural Program (WAP). More information for the WAC Easement Program can be found on our website. 


Overall, the economic and environmental benefits to both farmers and landowners in the NYC Watershed can be fully realized when cropland and pastureland continue to be available for participants of the WAC well into the future.   

For more information call: 607-865-7790  

One Drop, Many Ripples
Sept 18 (Farms & Businesses) & Sept 19 (Homes) - Delhi, NY Register online now!
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Visit us at the Delaware County Fair August 17-22nd. Members sampling daily 12-4. 
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Heather Magnan | (607) 865-7090, ext. 217