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genesee county soil & water conservation district

March 17, 2021 - 6:14pm

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District enjoyed a record year in 2021 as it initiated and finished 13 grant-funded agricultural and other projects designed to ensure the continued flow of clean, safe water, the department’s manager said on Wednesday.

“It was extremely busy,” said Brad Mudrzynski, during his yearly report at the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

He said projects included cover crop implementation, small erosion control systems and manure management-related topics.

“Another one is a manure storage cover that goes on top of the manure lagoon to capture any burn-off of methane, rather than having methane emissions, and there were a couple of different stream riparian buffers – native plantings along the side of the stream to prevent sediment nutrients from going into the stream,” Mudrzynski said.

Furthermore, he said that seven more similar endeavors will be moving forward in 2021 thanks to another $750,000 in grant funding secured by the district.

Awards from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will be going to six applications to the Climate Resilient Farming program and one to the Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control program.

“We will continue to be busy for the foreseeable few years with just those projects alone,” he said, noting that payments took longer to arrive due to COVID-19. “We didn’t get some of the (funding) hits we were bracing ourselves for.”

On the municipal side, Mudrzynski said the district’s primary function over the past year was to hydroseed for town and village highway departments to facilitate vegetative growth.

“If they clean their road ditch – opening it up – one of the things that we don’t like to see … is a bare ditch at the bottom, the brown soil,” he said. “When water goes through there, it can really cause erosion in the road ditch, which is not good from an infrastructure standpoint. And we don’t like seeing that because the water is carrying the dirt down to a receiving body of water somewhere.”

GCSWCD employees seeded and stabilized 1.2 acres of soil disturbed during the construction of the new Genesee County Sheriff’s Office communication tower in East Bethany, he said.

Mudrzynski said the district has another “pretty good sized” forested riparian buffer project, planting more than 1,000 trees along a stream bank at a local nonprofit conservation club.

He said the agency had to cancel the Genesee County Envirothon, a two-part scholastic competition, for the second straight year but hopes to offer it again starting in 2022.

“Remaining duties, including agricultural environmental management, tree and shrub program, and the fish stocking program, are continuing this year and we expect them to be strong in the coming years,” he said.

The district employs five full-time staffers.

Per its website, the mission of the GCWWCD is to work directly with county landowners to provide for the conservation of soil and water resources, improvement of water quality, and prevention of floodwater and sediment damages, thereby protecting the natural resource base and promoting health, safety, and general welfare of the county residents. For more information, click here.

January 19, 2021 - 5:17pm

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District invites you to buy tree and shrub seedlings offered in its new 2021 brochure (PDF).

Conservation supplies are also available for sale.

All plants are sold for conservation purposes.

If you'd like some eye-popping visual appeal -- vivid color, you might like to try a species new in the district program this year -- the scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). In the fall, its leaves are a real nice brilliant red, says District Manager Brad Mudrzynski. The acorn-producing scarlet oak makes a great shade tree.

Also new here this year are cover crop mix seed packets for small gardens -- up to 2,500 square feet. The ground-cover mix, which costs $5.50 per package, helps prevent erosion and holds nutrients like organic compost materials well in the soil.

Orders are filled on a first come, first serve basis. The district reserves the right to substitute species or refund payment if a choice of yours is unavailable.

Cash or check only accepted, checks should be payable to GCSWCD. Orders are due by March 10 on completed order forms (PDF) (Print out, fill in).

Pickup dates are typically between mid to late April and information will be sent after April 1.

For assistance, call the GCSWCD at (585) 343-2362, ext. 5, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

January 20, 2020 - 3:37pm

Submitted image and information:

Each year the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District holds a conservation tree, shrub and perennial ground cover sale.

A variety of evergreen, fruit, softwood, and hardwood bare-root seedling trees and transplants are available for purchase.

A variety of bare-root flowering shrubs, ferns, berry vines and perennial ground covers are also available to buy.

The yearly brochure* and order form** are made available in January and orders are accepted until April 1st.

Since orders are filled first come, first serve and while supplies last, they recommend ordering early, at least by mid-March. But orders are still accepted until April 1st.

After April 1st, you are encouraged to come shop and order on pickup days to see what's still on hand. Order pickup days are held at the Genesee County Fairgrounds on East Main Street Road in Batavia in mid to late April.

New this year is the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), which grow 100-feet tall and is long-lived. It is uncommon but a New York native species nonetheless. It tolerates very wet ground to average-moisture soils. Can handle some shade. It features showy yellow foliage in spirng; it's green in summer and orange in the fall. Needles regrow each year. It is offered as a 12- to 18-inch, 1-year-old seedling.

Another new offering is the striped maple (Acer pennsylvanicum). It grows 25 feet tall and prefers shade to semi-shade. It is adaptable to most soils. It features smooth gray/green bark with showy white/yellow striping. Its bark browns with age. The leaves look like a goose foot. Showy leaves in fall; flowers in spring. Considered a good landscape tree. Offered as a 1-year-old, 12-18 inch seedling.

Returning this year is the Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). It grows 70 to 100 feet tall and is native to the area. It prefers cool, shaded areas with moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Its finely textured foliage makes it good for screens and hedges. The species is intolerant of wind, salt, and excessively dry or wet soils. Only transplants are available, 7 to 12 inches high.

Also back for 2020 is the American mountain ash (Sorbus americana). This variety of bare-root deciduous tree seedlings is native and grows 35 to 40 feet tall. It's adaptable to most soil conditions. It is not shade tolerant. There are white flowers on it in spring. It IS resistant to the emerald ash borer. Comes as a 12- to 18-inch seedling.

New multi-species packs, created to help enhance your planting, are offered this year and they include:

  • Tim's Evergreen Pack
  • Windbreak Pack
  • Brad's "Wet Feet" Pack
  • Blossoms and Honeybees Pack
  • Bob's Edible Berry Pack
  • Hardwoods-for-the-Future Pack
  • Wildlife Habitat Pack

Please note that no customer substitutions are allowed on packs. The district also reserves the right to substitute species and sizes in the event of a crop shortage.

Bare-root fruit tree and grape packages are a convenient way to begin wildlife-friendly planting or a homestead orchard. New this year is the peach primer pack, suitable for the beginner.

Bare-root flowering shrub seedlings are available, too, and there are a couple of new ones, the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

The butterfly bush grows up to 12 feet high and prefers average-moisture, well-drained soils and full sun. Likely to die back in winter but grows again in spring. Purple, spike-like flower clusters up to 18-inches long from summer to first frost. Loved by birds, butterflies and honeybees.

The buttonbush grows up to 12-feet high and is adaptable to most soils. It prefers swampy areas, pond banks and full sun to moderate shade. Often used in rain gardens and for erosion control. White pincushion flowers bloom in spring. Highly used by birds, butterflies and honeybees.

Of the wildflower seed mixes, a native wildflower mix is available for 2020. It is intended to help restore native habitat landcaping and it's a great mixture to supply pollen and nectar for pollinators.

Bare-root berry vines and ferns are offered as well.

Please contact the district with any questions at 585-343-2362, ext. 5.

The district would also like to thank its newsletter sponsors that help make the newsletter possible. If you are interested in being a newsletter sponsor, please contact the district as it is a great way to get business information out to many people.

Remember to get your tree and shrub orders in by April 1! It is best to get in EARLY as some items are hot sellers and we do run out.

*Here's a link to peruse the latest brochure.

**Here's a link to the plant order form.

October 2, 2019 - 6:48am

Town of Batavia officials, in conjunction with the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District, are looking at adopting guidelines for solar farm developers to follow when it comes to pollinator habitat plantings on ground-mounted mudrzynski.jpgsystems.

Appearing at the Batavia Town Planning Board meeting on Tuesday night at the Town Hall, Bradley Mudrzynski, district manager for GCSWCD (photo at right), presented a draft of a plan that covers topics such as the need and importance of pollination, planting process, maintenance and performance standards.

“The main thing is for flexibility (in the plan) – having the ability to plant in the fall or spring with either stock mix or through a seed contractor,” Mudrzynski said. “In the end, (you’re saying) the seed mix should look like this, with these characteristics.”

Mudrzynski’s plan supports the Town’s concern over losing prime farmland to solar development – even if temporarily – and the Town’s view that “pollinator habitat plantings can mitigate farmland losses and increase ecosystem services provided to farms in the form of pollination.”

Discussion with the planning board ultimately came down to the percentage of the solar farm that should be seeded, where to locate grass mix in the solar array and enforcement of the guidelines as they pertain to special use permits issued by the Town.

“When you spec out a 10-acre site (for example), what percentage of the solar array do you want planted down?” Mudrzynski asked. “Between the rows? Around the outside? Thirty percent? (The point being) finding a good and reasonable acreage or percentage.”

Working off a solar site pollinator habitat scorecard from the state of Vermont, planners initially said they were in favor of a 46 to 60 percent vegetative cover for each solar project. After more discussion, they agreed on 80 percent of the lot, including putting grass mix under the solar panels.

“And this (level) would cover those solar farms already approved since none have more than 20 percent (of the total space) for access roads,” said Steve Tanner, a planning board member.

As far as enforcement once the guidelines are formally approved, planners decided to include the pollinator piece in the special use permit and to require developers to work with GCSWCD or an “agreed-upon equally qualified consultant” such as a landscaper or architect to perform periodic inspections.

Planners also talked about the importance of developers contracting with licensed herbicide applicators to ensure that performance standards are achieved.

Following the 20-minute discussion, Planning Board Chair Kathy Jasinski said she will share the draft of the plan with other Town leaders and asked Mudrzynski to return to the next planning board meeting on Oct. 15 with an updated version.

In other developments, the planning board:

-- Voted to extend the State Environmental Quality Review process and tabled the developers’ application in connection with a proposal to build two 20-acre, 7.2-megawatt ground solar systems at 8050 Oak Orchard Road (Route 98).

The request by Borrego Solar Systems LLC has been in the works for quite some time, hampered by the fact that it seeks to site the solar farm on land that is in the Town’s Planned Business Development District.

Requirements of the PBD District center on a development of at least 100 acres – a measure put in by Town officials to ensure large-scale commercial projects that would benefit the Town and preserve the agricultural viability of the land.

Jasinski said that the board will take no action “until we get more information” from Borrego. She said she expects the developer to come in with a new application, which could result in having to redo the SEQR application as well.

Extension of the SEQR was mutually agreed upon by both the planning board and Borrego, as required, she noted.

-- Received an update from project officials Dan Yanosh and Tom Healy on the revisions made to their proposal for a 19.8-acre, 4-megawatt ground-mounted solar system at 3565 Galloway Road.

Last month, the plan by Bright Oak Solar LLC to place solar panels on property owned by Wayne Dunham was met with solid opposition from neighbors on Galloway and Lewiston roads, with comments focusing on lack of screening, decreased property values, and potential negative effects on the environment and aesthetics.

Yanosh and Healy presented another visual of the layout, this time noting that they added screening (trees) along the front on the southeast side – in response to an objection from the adjacent property owner – and increased the size of the culvert in front and reduced the number of poles from five to four.

Jasinski advised them that no action will be taken until they meet with town engineers and zoning officers to review the changes.

She did say the matter would be put on the board’s Oct. 15th meeting agenda as long as she receives a report from the aforementioned town officials before that date.

April 27, 2017 - 3:50pm

Submitted photo: Holding award plaques are honorees Shelley Stein, left, and Jodi Chamberlain. (Names were not provided for the other individuals.)

Press release:

Two awards were presented to Genesee Co. Soil & Water Conservation District personnel last month at the NYS Conservation District Employees’ Association Inc. and NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee’s 2017 Water Quality Symposium in Syracuse.

Congratulations to Genesee Co. SWCD Director and Chairperson Shelley Stein on receiving the District Director Award.

This fitting honor was bestowed upon Stein as she exemplifies the drive and determination all Districts should seek to head their organizations. Her knowledge of agriculture, passion for Genesee County, and commitment to conservation make her a commendable board member. Outside of the District board meetings Director Stein always has her Soil & Water hat on. She represents the District on the Genesee County Ag and Farmland Protection Board, and the Ag and Farmland Protection Steering Committee.

She also routinely attends CDEA and NYACD functions as well as Division meetings and Regional Managers’ meetings. When a topic arises where Soil & Water can help, she is sure to refer the District, whether it’s at the Genesee County Legislature, in her town of LeRoy, or in a discussion with a neighbor. As the Chairman of the Board she has worked hard to ensure that Genesee Co. SWCD is well perceived by the taxpayers, especially farm owners.

Congratulations also to District Clerk and Treasurer Jodi Chamberlain. Jodi was awarded the Division 1 Merit Award for her continuous hard work and dedication to the District.

In a beautiful presentation, the MC gave the crowd an overview of the many wonderful contributions Chamberlain has made to assist in achieving the mission of conserving natural resources. Jodi is a breath of fresh air and we are proud to say that she is extremely deserving of this honor. She goes above and beyond to assist county residents, staff and partners. Everyone in attendance enjoyed the evening as Jodi was acknowledged by her peers as “one of the best!”

Both women attribute the success of Genesee County Soil & Water to the stellar work ethic and terrific team effort demonstrated by all the staff.

October 4, 2013 - 1:28pm

Press release:

Due to the Federal Government partial shutdown, the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District has temporarily been relocated to the Genesee County Park on Bethany Center Road in Bethany.

We are open for business, but do not have access to our regular staff e-mail, so you can use this e-mail address to contact us <[email protected]> or call 344-1122.

May 5, 2012 - 1:29pm

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District is planning the next collection of ag plastic containers for recycling in between June 11-29 (exact date to be determined). A second pickup is planned for late September / early October.

Acceptable containers:
•       1-gallon jugs to 55-gallon barrels made from #2 high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
•       250-gallon totes accepted but must have all metal removed and be cut into 2' x 2' strips
•       5-gallon buckets must have metal handle removed
•       All containers must have caps and booklet removed and MUST be clean, empty, and pressure rinsed or triple rinsed

Pre-registration is required. Please call us to advise of the approximate amount of containers you will have for pickup. Collection dates and locations are based on the anticipated amount to be collected. Large plastic bags in which to store your clean containers are available free through our office.

Elizabeth Bentley-Huber
Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District
29 Liberty St., Suite 3
Batavia, NY 14020
Phone: 343-2362
Fax: 345-1815

April 13, 2011 - 1:13pm

Attention plant lovers!

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District is still accepting
pre-orders for tree and shrub seedlings and native plants and perennials.

Our brochure is on the Genesee County website:

The seedlings and plants will be distributed at Genesee County Fairgrounds
on the following dates:

Thursday, April 21 – 8:30 to 4:30

Friday, April 22 -- 8:30 to 6:00

Saturday, April 23 -- 8:30 to Noon

Also, a Cash & Carry Sale of excess inventory of seedlings and plants will be held at the fairgrounds during seedling distribution on April 21-23.

August 27, 2010 - 5:37pm

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District wants people to know that more farmers are being “green” by demonstrating "product stewardship" -- recycling. And that in October, there will be pick-ups scheduled for recyclable plastic containers.

Farmers all around Western New York are recycling their triple-rinsed plastic containers from agricultural crop protection products such as specialty pest control, crop oils, surfactants, micro-nutrient/fertilizer, and/or adjuvant products.

USAg Recycling, Inc., offers agricultural producers and custom applicators an environmentally “green” convenient option for disposing of their empty containers.

USAg Recycling, Inc., will be picking up agricultural plastic containers in several locations throughout New York State from Oct. 18-29. The service is free to farmers and provides an environmentally friendly alternative to burning or throwing away agricultural containers.

Last year, USAg Recycling, Inc., collected 46,000 pounds of plastic containers from New York State.

It is a member company of the national Agricultural Container Recycling Council (ACRC), which in 2008 celebrated 100 million pounds of agricultural plastic containers recycled from across the United States.

Today, ACRC averages eight to 10 million pounds collected each year. Collected containers are ground into chips and recycled as corrugated plastic drainage pipe, railroad ties, fence posts, pallets, and many other products.

That’s farmers helping to keep plastic out of the landfills.

Containers accepted are HDPE #2 plastic containers only, ranging from less than one gallon to 55 gallon barrels. Larger containers such as 250 gallon shuttle totes must be cut into 2’x2’ pieces and free of any hardware. Cutting large containers in this manner facilitates proper cleaning and inspection, reduces storage area, and allows for direct feed into the granulation machine.

To be acceptable for recycling, plastic containers must be empty, clean, uncapped and dry. To help store containers until pick-up time, bags that hold up to 50 one-gallon containers are available for free upon registration.

Exact pick-up dates at local sites will be available within the first week of October.

Please contact Elizabeth Bentley-Huber at Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District at 585-343-2362 or at <[email protected].> for more information and registration.

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