Cayuga Lake Watershed
Agricultural Advisory Committee
March 26, 2001 Minutes
(Ithaca Wastewater Treatment Plant Conference Room)

Present: Craig Schutt Liz Moran Mark Ochs John Fleming
Jim Young Lyn Odell Sharon Anderson Janice Degni
Tim Patronski Dan Dostie Jose Lozano Mark Johnson
Sherry Forgash

The meeting was called to order: at 9:40 AM by Craig Schutt.

1. Jose Lozano, Director, Environmental Laboratories, City of Ithaca- Jose is assisting with the final draft of the RPP (Restoration and Protection Plan). The first draft should be out by the end of the year. He feels the Committee must justify their funding requests to other agencies. The impact of the RPP is very significant in that it will increase the chances of obtaining funding. Jose distributed 2 handouts: A Program of Activities and an Estimated Cost Sheet (for different Management Options). He hopes this Committee will help him obtain endorsement for his proposals. He feels the first draft proposals should be endorsed by the IO, and also the second draft of the RPP. He asked what agencies the proposals should be sent to; Bond Act Funding or EPF. Craig said that the EPF is the only source for Nutrient Management Planning funding. Jose asked about funding from #319 source, Bond Act, EPA, DOE and USDA. He feels we have at least 5 potential sources of funding. He stated that no proposal has been successful without the endorsement of cooperating agencies. It is imperative that this Committee endorse his proposal for success. He stated that funding through USDA and EPA programs requires smaller cost/share, approximately 50%. It was noted that through the Bond Act there is approximately $7.5 million available for projects. Dan Dostie stated how a proposal has already been submitted. Craig explained how an Agricultural Waste Management Plan must be carried out. Usually the cost/share is at 75% and 25% match. We are working with Mark Ochs on Nutrient Management Plans. Mark Ochs’ concern is that of the producers. A need must be identified. Some projects are estimated at between $75,000-$100,000. Funding may not be available for these amounts.

Mark noted how some farms are within two watersheds. Dan explained the HUC (Hydrologic Unit Codes) and how this data is noted in the grant proposals. Priority watersheds are taken into account when applying for funding. Jim Young also noted how some farms are in more than one watershed and how this would affect the cost/share of a project. Dan and Craig explained the Fall Creek EQIP proposal and that only 8 farms may qualify for funding for the first year. There were 20 sign-ups for EQIP FY 2001. The deadline was 2/23/01. Dan is evaluating the requests and will visit all farms by the end of May. The target is to fund 8 farms at $20,000 or less per farm for FY 2001. Dan must assign Environmental Benefits to each farm as they relate to the request for funding. The EQIP proposal is a 5-year proposal and hopefully it will be funded for another $150,000 next year. We must reapply for this funding each year. If the proposal is in the top two, USDA will fund it for 5 years without reapplying each year.

Jim Young mentioned the Owasco Lake EQIP funding for Nutrient Management Planning. The funding was only for plans and not for storage. Jim feels storage does not necessarily work and that it may create more problems than it solves. He noted how there is a movement in the agricultural industry that shows manure storage is not the only solution to this problem.

Jose discussed other options, such as, SBR (Sequential Batch Reactor method). The treated agricultural waste should have almost no water remaining in it. Many reports have been written on this method and it is almost 100% efficient. Sharon Anderson asked if this was theory or if a model had been done on this method. It has been tested on a pilot scale. Lyn Odell explained how there is a model to turn dairy waste into a product that is semi-dry. The composted material can be used as bedding. Methane digestion is another method, but there are issues concerning the liquid with this method. Through methane digestion, power can be created and used on the farm. Lyn also explained the aeration process to treat manure. This method needs a large surface area. By-products from these treatment methods can be sold, but there is no market for the product. Shawn feels a full-time person is needed to market the product. The challenge with methane digestion is to make it more economically feasible.

There was a lengthy discussion on the methane digestion and sequential batch reactor methods and issues concerning their use. Other topics discussed were phosphorus and nitrogen levels. Lyn foresees an increased demand for liquid manure due to the price increase of nitrogen fertilizers. Shawn stated that there are liability issues with spreading liquid manure.

2. Corrections to the Draft RPP – Liz Moran would like to make some corrections to the draft RPP. In the “Recommendations” section she asked who would take leadership and what was the time frame. Jim Young said that those he met with would like to see the word “family” in “family farm”, changed to “small farm”. Lyn also noted paragraph 5 on page 2. This Agricultural Advisory Committee will make recommendations to the IO on the changes to be made.

Mark Ochs explained the P-Load Index Model that Cornell is working on as it relates to NY soils.

Dan explained NRCS standards and CAFO permit requirements.

Liz would like to reword item #1-a-iii, balancing for ‘P’. This will be reworded to reflect the NRCS standard. P-index data can be found on the web. Janice Degni explained to the Committee about the P-index and what it really means. The NRCS standard will also cover item 1-a-iv, page 3. Sharon stated that the document should be worded for easy reading for the non-agricultural community. Janice asked if Cayuga Lake is an area that needs to be balanced for ‘P’. Craig said no, but it is an area of concern. Item ‘iii’ must be reworded. Liz will handle this. Dan will give the web information and NRCS standard to Liz. This is standard 590.

Item v. – BMPs for silage leachate – It was suggested to remove this from the Nutrient Management Section and include it in a different one, possibly the Agricultural Waste Management Plan section, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans. These must meet NRCS standard #312.

Suggestions were made for rewording section ‘v’, covered storages.

Discussions on the remainder of this part of the meeting concerned the rewording and/or categorizing of topics in the draft RPP. Sections discussed were: Section C- Hydrology’
Section C- V
Section C- ii
All of the Agricultural Waste issues are to be listed – Manure
Silage Leachate
Milkhouse Waste

There was a short discussion on the disposal of pesticides and a Household Hazardous Waste Clean-up.
Also, Mark Ochs referred to section C-iv, calf manure and how to isolate it. Janice and Dan suggested deleting this section. Liz said that “Clean Sweep” information will be added to section D-Pesticide Management.
The worksheets found in the AEM (Agricultural Environmental Management) Handbook should be added and put in bold face type. There should be a description of what AEM is in the draft RPP.

Liz wanted to know the number of dairy livestock in the watershed. The figures can be obtained county-wide but not by watershed.
Shawn also suggested changing the word “manure” to “by-products” in section 2a, page 4. Sharon was concerned with the last paragraph on page 1, reading “resulting in new rural residents.......”

3. Sharon Anderson – Cayuga Lake Watershed Steward – Sharon had copies of the Seneca Lake Watershed Agricultural Environmental Management brochure as an example of an educational brochure the Committee might produce. The brochure could include information about the consumers’ relationship to the watershed and the value of agriculture. Sharon asked the Committees’ opinion about producing such an educational brochure. Nothing was decided at this meeting.

4. Mark Johnson – Cornell Ag. Engineering – Mark is working on his Master degree in Agricultural Engineering. He is doing a watershed hydrology model with USGS near Rochester. The model will evaluate potential problems. He met with the Technical Advisory Committee to find out if any issues they were facing could be used as a test for this new model. He needs more data to input into the model and hopes the use of the model will benefit the overall goal of Cayuga Lake Watershed groups. Cornell is limited to what they can accomplish with their present model. Mark did a ‘focus’ interview with the IO, Ag. Committee and Tech. Committee to learn about some scenarios they would like to see simulated with the new model. Liz was at one of the focus group meetings and found it very useful. Mark would like to schedule a meeting to gain more data for the new model. He would like at least 5-10 people, equally comprised of farmers and agency people. A sample scenario might be, “How would the watershed benefit if buffers were implemented on every farm?” Mark said these models are the best available, to date. Mark Ochs asked what models are in use today. Janice knows of a model used at Pennsylvania State University, by Bill G. Burek (spelling may be incorrect) with the Agricultural Experiment Station.

Several members of the Committee asked if the models could depict old data showing the condition of the lake in past years, even from the 1930’s. Liz said there is data as far back as 1910.

Liz explained the timeline for completing the plan. She will send the editing changes/corrections made to the plan today, to Sherry and they will be forwarded to committee members for their comments.

The next meeting of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Agricultural Advisory Committee will be on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 from 9:30-11:30 AM at the Ledyard Town Hall.

The meeting adjourned at 12:05 PM.

Submitted by,

Sherry Forgash
Tompkins County SWCD

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