The Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District received the 2012 Conservation Partner Award from the U.S. Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The award is approved by the NRCS state conservationist for partners who provide outstanding assistance to landowners in the planning, installation and maintenance of conservation practices in a cooperative effort with the agency.
Robert Halbohm, Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist for Chautauqua County, said the district received the award for its efforts supporting the maintenance of more than 30 Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation easements in the county. The Wetlands Reserve Program easements achieve the restoration of degraded wetlands in order to enhance wildlife habitat, provide flood control, and reduce sedimentation of adjacent waterways.
Pictured are Robert Halbohm, U.S. Agriculture Department Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist for Chautauqua County, left, and David Spann, Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District field manager.
In 2012, district staff visited each site with the landowners to inspect previously installed wetland restoration projects, inventory sites for the presence of invasive species, check easement boundaries, and investigate potential for additional wetlands enhancements. Halbohm commended the district for the professional manner in which it conducted the easement monitoring effort, which enabled Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to focus their efforts on the Chautauqua Lake National Water Quality Initiative.
David Spann, district field manager, who received the award on behalf of the district and said the district and Natural Resources Conservation Service have a valuable partnership that has existed for more than 60 years. The partnership has assisted hundreds of landowners conserve soil, improve wildlife habitat, and protect water quality throughout Chautauqua County, which is one of the most agriculturally diverse regions of New York state.