Results and Accomplishments
The City of
Syracuse established the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program (SLWAP) in 1994, as an alternative to a costly filtration system required by the 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
SLWAP served as a pilot for the Agricultural Environmental Management program in
New York . The program is a comprehensive process dedicated to helping farmers put into operation environmentally sound farming practices to help ensure water quality. This is primarily accomplished through pathogen, nutrient management, and erosion and sediment control plans to protect more than 150 tributaries entering the lake.
SLWAP is the primary environmental protection program that allows the city to maintain a filtration waiver. Farmers receive technical and educational assistance to address concerns on their land, and plans are implemented according to NRCS standards and specifications. Annual visits are conducted to each farm so the farmer and planner can review and revise farm plans. Accomplishments include:54 of 60 farms enrolled in watershed program (90% enrollment, 95% of agricultural land base)
- 44 Whole Farm Plans completed
- 35 farms implemented (65% of cooperators)
- More efficient use of fertilizers (organic and inorganic)
- Increased awareness of buffer necessity by water corridors
- More than 14,000 acres covered by nutrient management plans
- Farmers incorporating reduced or minimal tillage techniques
In October 2004, the SLWAP celebrated its tenth anniversary of this cooperative program and realized two amazing milestones: In July 1, 2004, the City of Syracuse was granted an indefinite water filtration waiver with no expiration date from the New York State Department of Health (as long as the program maintains consistent results), and in January, 2005, the mayor of Syracuse signed a letter supporting the continuation of the SLWAP and its blueprint for continued growth through the next 10 years.