Rod and June Preston in the Township of Worcester, Otsego County, were happy to see the restoration area finally filling with water on the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easement. They were looking forward to enjoying the variety of animals that would be visiting this wetland area. The goal of the program itself is to restore the hydric soil conditions (in an area that was previously drained for agricultural use) and shallow water wetland habitat that provides quality nesting and foraging areas for migratory waterfowl. Successful WRP projects attract more than ducks however, and the Preston’s can expect to see many other wildlife species such as deer, turkey, geese, and a wide array of songbirds and amphibians as the project’s wetland plant community becomes established.
To their surprise, the Preston’s also had a visitor that they were not expecting. Shortly after the new pool of water was established, they were approached by the Chief of the Worcester Fire Department who inquired about the possibility of installing a dry hydrant within the WRP easement with the intent to utilize water from the restoration area for emergencies. The Chief explained that the Worcester Fire District required a reliable source of water to utilize for emergencies occurring in the area between Worcester and South Worcester. The Preston’s advanced the request to the NRCS Cooperstown F.O. staff. Tony Capraro, District Conservationist, completed a compatible use request and forwarded the proposal to Don Pettit, the NRCS State Conservationist. After a lengthy review with the WRP Program Manager and NRCS Biologists, it was determined that the hydrant installation would have only minimal impacts on the project’s overall goal to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl and was approved. This past summer the dry hydrant was installed by the Fire Department on the Preston’s property and within the WRP easement boundary. The new dry hydrant will help the many property owners in the local community and may help save a life.
NRCS offers voluntary programs that provide financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers who are willing to address priority environmental issues by implementing conservation practices. If you are interested in learning more about how conservation programs may protect natural resources on your farm, please contact your local NRCS Office.