Quarterly Update

Potter County Conservation District is comprised of many different programs, managed by six employees. Our mission is to provide leadership to ensure the protection of the natural resources of Potter County through project implementation, educational programs, technical assistance, and by fostering public and private partnerships.  A summation of some of our program activity during the past few months follows:

Chapter 102: Erosion and Sedimentation Plans are required for all earth disturbance activities over 5000 square feet.  The goal of this program is to help decrease accelerated erosion caused by human activity, which has the potential to discharge sediment pollution to the waters of the Commonwealth.  PCCD reviewed 14 E&S Plans, three NPDES permits, and one ESCGP-2 permit for compliance with rules and regulations.  In addition, the following also occurred:  92 technical assistance contacts, 14 sites inspected, 20 inspections completed, and 12 complaints investigated.

Chapter 105: Permits are required for constructing, operating, maintaining, modifying, enlarging, or abandoning any encroachment, which is defined as any activity that changes, expands, or diminishes the course, current, or cross section of any body of water, including wetlands.  PCCD reviewed and approved eight General Permits, provided 91 technical assistance contacts, inspected 13 sites, completed 20 inspections, and investigated 12 complaints.

PCCD and Potter County Planning /GIS held one-on-one meetings with local municipalities discussing E&S Plans, NPDES, wetland and stream permitting, building permit processes, storm-water and floodplains, subdivision and land development, and other topics of interest. A resource booklet was provided to each municipality at the Township Convention.

PCCD assisted the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) with cleaning up a dumpsite in Roulette. Since 2015, a total of 35 illegal dumpsites have been cleaned up.  In addition, PCCD has coordinated with PEC on other sites this year.

Local farmers within the Chesapeake Bay area have been working with PCCD to complete their Manure Management and Ag E&S Plans required by DEP to help improve the polluted waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay waters come from six states and Washington D.C, comprised of 64,000 miles, and encompassing 100,000 rivers and streams.

PCCD rents three no-till farm implements (corn planter and seed drills) to local farmers to help reduce soil erosion, soil compaction, chemical runoff, fuel usage, and time and labor. No-Till equipment increases organic matter, infiltration, and soil quality.  PCCD’s No-Till equipment has been used by fifty different farmers.  A demonstration of No-Till equipment was held to help answer questions related to the use of this equipment.

PCCD permitted, designed, and constructed several stream restoration projects using log and stone in-stream structures to enhance fish habitat, while adding the benefit of bank stabilization. Projects included the following:

Five structures were placed on Freeman Run along Portage Road, stabilizing the road base and providing fish habitat for this well-stocked fishery.

Six structures were placed on Southwoods Branch, providing stabilization to an eroding bank.

Two structures were repaired on the Genesee River property open to the public for fishing. Several large, golden rainbow trout were utilizing these structures even as repairs were being completed.

Three structures were placed on Ludington Run, a tributary to the Genesee River, to help maintain the stream channel flowing into a new culvert and helping to maintain the deep water trout habitat on the downstream side of the culvert.

One structure was placed on the Genesee River at the town park to provide additional bank stabilization and create a stabilized point to access the river for canoes and kayaks.

Roads across the county are being improved as boroughs and townships work with PCCD’s Dirt and Gravel Road program, which provides merit-based funding for unpaved roads. Along with improvement of the roads, the streams also benefit, due to sediment from the driving surface being managed in an environmentally beneficial way to support stream organisms.  Partnering with PCCD to improve roads and minimize erosion and pollution were Eulalia, Genesee, Harrison, Homer, Keating, Sweden, Sylvania and West Branch Townships and Oswayo Borough.

Farmland Preservation is important to PCCD. There are currently seven farms encompassing 1,136 acres preserved in Potter County.  These farm properties are managed by private landowners using sound soil and water conservation practices that protect soil from erosion and also protect local surface waters from contamination. Open farm and forest lands are important for the recharge of ground water in our communities. These acres are eased forever as farmland property regardless of deed changes. PCCD is in the process of obtaining the easement for an eighth farm in Potter County.

Lastly, PCCD coordinates and assists with multiple projects during the year benefiting the youth of Potter County, such as FFA CDE fall study day, Envirothon, Conservation Field Days, Farm and Fishes Tour, My Growing Tree, Trout Releases, and a Summer Reading Program.