Effective this month, Potter County’s continuation in the Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy will come to an end. The decision was made unanimously during June’s board meeting against implementing “Phase 2” of the program, administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. Also during the meeting, a representative from the DEP Bureau of Clean Water presented Phase 2 expectations and outcomes to the board, and ample time for questions and discussion followed.
The Reboot Strategy was originally introduced in 2016 to help meet EPA goals for Pennsylvania’s reduction of nutrient and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past two years, the District has applied the Strategy by assisting in development of Manure Management and Agricultural Erosion and Sediment (Ag E&S) Plans for 60 operations, and by gathering baseline information through visiting 100 Potter County farms within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Phase 2 of the Strategy would include scheduling compliance inspections by the District with farms previously involved in developing Manure Management and/or Ag E&S Plans in order to ensure active farmer application of practices outlined in plans, and overall success in meeting state regulations.
The Conservation District does not aim to be a regulatory entity. The District’s mission is to “provide and administer programs, plans, educational information, and technical assistance for conservation practices that protect the natural resources of Potter County” – not to enforce regulations or be perceived as an enforcement agency. For this reason, the District will not be continuing participation in the Chesapeake Bay Reboot Strategy and stringent farm inspections. From this point on, farmers must be aware that DEP may still conduct inspections, and the District will continue to provide assistance to farmers who request our services.
The District stands by its role as an educator and technical assistance provider, not as a regulator. Withdrawal from the program was a challenging decision, but one that was seen as most beneficial for local farmers and landowners of Potter County. If you have any questions or need assistance on your farm, please call the Conservation District at 814-274-8411, extension 4, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop into the office at 107 Market Street, Coudersport, PA 16915. We look forward to your continued support in working to make Potter County better as a whole.
On Saturday, June 16 Genesee Park came alive during the annual Community Days celebration, and that afternoon Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association, the Potter County Conservation District, and others celebrated the opening of a new Canoe and Kayak Launch site.
The launch lies near the back of the park and features a kiosk provided for by Genesee River Wilds, a non-profit group working to provide more river access, boost interest in outdoor recreation, and conservation. Co-founder of the organization, Alan Kerkeslager, had the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
Steve Richard, Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association president, said “our mission as a community volunteer group is to minimize stream bank erosion and monitor water quality through sampling of macro invertebrate life. It is through our group’s application, assisted by the Potter County Conservation District, that we received the funding through the Western Pa. Conservancy to build the kayak and canoe launch.” The Conservation district also assisted in incorporating fish and wildlife habitat and bank stabilization structures.
The purpose of this new launch goes beyond recreational use. The project benefits both visitors and wildlife, and is a vital tool in creating appreciation for our waterways. “The headwaters area of the Genesee is unique, difficult to traverse and intimate,” Richard said. “If you are lost in the headwaters area, just find and follow a spring run, a bubbling brook or one of the branches and you will always end up in this park. The waters will guide you and the hillsides and hollows will cradle you, and you will be surprised at what you find on your journey.”
The project was made possible by Genesee River Wilds, the Genesee Township Park Council, the Western Pa. Conservancy, the Heavy Equipment Operations and Carpentry students from Alfred State College, the Potter County Conservation District, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which oversees that WAG Trail that runs from Wellsville to Genesee, Pa.