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Finger Lakes will get $370K to safeguard water quality and soil health

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Finger Lakes region in New York is set to benefit from a $370,000 investment from the state to safeguard water quality and maintain soil health. The funding, sourced from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund, will be allocated to the Finger Lakes Cover Crop Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM).

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The initiative aims to support local farmers in implementing cover crops, which are essential for preventing erosion, managing watersheds, and preserving water quality. The funding will extend to all 11 Finger Lakes, including Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, Honeoye, Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles, and Otisco.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos emphasized the state’s commitment to helping the agricultural community protect the environment and preserve soil and water quality in the Finger Lakes through the backing of county Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Historically, cover crops such as rye, oats, wheat, radishes, peas, clover, and sunflowers have been utilized in New York State. They are typically sown in the fall after harvest to enhance soil health for the following spring. These crops are known for their ability to absorb nutrients, filter surface water, protect groundwater, add organic matter to the soil, reduce weeds, pests, and carbon dioxide emissions. The initiative has already proven successful in the Eastern Finger Lakes region.