NCSWCD has a spring and fall pond
stocking program. Each year, the District assists in providing fingerlings to
area residents by coordinating delivery of stock to the District office located
at the Niagara County Fairgrounds on Rt. 78. The program offers a variety of
fish such as largemouth bass,
perch, trout, bluegill, minnows and koi. Fathead minnows are also available for starting
food chains in new ponds.
Triploid Grass Carp for aquatic weed
control are also available for purchase. You
obtain a stocking permit from the NYS
Department of Environmental Conservation in order to obtain Grass carp from the
Fish Pond License
Pondowners Guide to Grass Carp
Fish Mgt. Guide
NCSWCD provides a local
link to nurseries for the purchase of various conservation items. An annual sale
of deciduous and evergreen tree seedlings and transplants, shrubs, ground covers
and grasses assists landowners with the establishment of
conservation areas and the restoration of natural resources. Each spring, we
package and distribute approximately 30,000 seedlings to provide landowners with
economical plant materials for windbreaks, to establish wildlife food and
habitat areas, for reforestation and to prevent soil erosion. If you would like
to be added to the newsletter mailing list or email list, call our office, (716)
434-4949 Ext. 4.
A no-till drill is maintained and operated by our office, which is used for the
establishment of wildlife habitat in the county. The drill is specially designed
to install warm season and cool season grasses for enhancing our natural
wildlife areas. The goal of grassland establishment is to provide habitat for
the natural propagation of pheasants to expand the wild turkey range and
populations, while also benefiting other grassland birds like the bluebird,
bobolink and meadowlark, and other birds of concern in New York State. Many
other species of wildlife will benefit from this type of wildlife restoration as
Our office is involved in many ways to promote conservation education - through
seminars, newsletters, and two major educational events sponsored each year.
Since 1969, the Victor Fitchlee Conservation Education Park in Gasport has been the
pristine location for the annual Environmental Conservation Field Days. This event for 5th and 6th grade students, classes rotate through the park
to learn about topics ranging from water quality, forestry, conservation law and
outdoor hobbies. In 2001, the District was presented the U.S.E.P.A Region 2
Environmental Quality Award for this valuable educational program that enriches
the lives of over 1000 students every year.
The Envirothon, an outdoor environmental competition for high school students,
began in 1990. Working as a team to complete several exams, the Envirothon
challenges students’ knowledge of soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and
current issues, while enhancing their environmental awareness. Local winning
teams move on to the State and National competitions to compete for prizes and
scholarships. Teaching about our natural resources, and giving our children an
understanding and appreciation of their environment is the best way to ensure
our community will flourish for generations.
If you are a teacher and
would like to get your students
involved, please call Darcy at our office, (716) 434-4949.
The Soil and Water Conservation District provides surface and sub-surface
drainage assistance to all Niagara County residents, farmers and municipalities.
We have assisted farmers with the survey, stakeout and design of countless tile
systems which increase product yield and make it a little easier to be a
producer in today’s difficult farming environment. Our office has also assisted
municipalities by designing tile systems, ditches and diversions for golf
course, baseball fields and numerous roads and waterways located within Niagara
A hydro-seeder is maintained and operated by our office and is available to all
municipalities. Any areas disturbed by ditching and drainage projects as well as
sensitive environmental areas along the lake and creeks that have the potential
to produce sediment-laden runoff can be hydro-seeded to quickly establish
vegetation and reduce soil erosion. Highly erodible lands, such as the sledding
hill at Bonds lake, and acres of lands along local watercourses and the lake
have been hydro-seeded to reduce soil erosion, to stabilize banks and to protect
Since its inception, the Soil and Water Conservation district has assisted in
the development and management of countless ponds within Niagara County. Ponds
can be constructed for fish production, fire protection, water for livestock and
landscape improvement. Whatever the reason, it is important to have a good
understanding of the factors that will make the difference between a beautiful
pond and a big empty hole. Prior to construction, the district will evaluate the
proposed pond location, water sources, soils and overflow drainage features to
assure that a functioning pond is the end result. Private ponds have long been a
tradition in American Culture. They beautify our landscape and are essential to
aquatic wildlife enhancement.
If you are looking to
construct a pond on your land please speak to your towns assessor and get a tax
map for your parcel. In order to set up a site assessment we need this map and
our pond site suitability assessment form to be filled out and returned to the
office with the $100 fee. Below is also a good reference document published by NRCS. It provides great examples and considerations when designing a pond.
Site Suitability Assessment Form
NRCS Ponds- Planning, Design, Construction Handbook
Agricultural Assistance is one of the main activities that the Soil and Water
Conservation District is engaged in. With grants funded by N.Y.S. and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, we are able to assist farmers with the implementation
of best management practices specifically aimed at controlling point and
non-point source pollution.
The Soil and Water Conservation District works in partnership with local
farmers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency
to deliver United States Department of Agriculture Farm Bill Programs. The
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)
have been two successful ventures in Niagara County. With district assistance,
the WRP program provides landowners the opportunity to establish long- term
conservation and wildlife practices on their property. The EQIP program provides
farmers with a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural
production and environmental quality nation wide. This is accomplished by
providing technical assistance, installation and implementation of structural
and non-structural management practices.
ASSESSMENTS & MAP ASSISTANCE
Our office is responsible for completing soil group worksheets for landowners
applying for agricultural assessments. Eligible landowners can receive a
reduction in the amount of their property tax bills for land in agriculture
production by obtaining a reassessment of the property based on the defined
value of the soils located at the property. The Niagara County Soil and Water
Conservation District can assist with a variety of natural resource information.
We are your one stop repository for Niagara County Flood Insurance Rate Maps,
New York State and Federal Wetland maps, Soil Survey maps and Topographical
Quadrangles. Our office is equipped with the most up to date aerial photography
as well as the latest Geographical Information System (GIS) software and data,
making natural resource planning and maps user friendly for all who are
MONITORING & STREAMBANK STABILIZATION
Streambank erosion causes property loss and carries endless amounts of soil into
our streams. It pollutes our water and results in the degradation of aquatic
habitat and diminished navigability of our waterway. Our office has been very
active completing structural and non-structural measures designed to protect
critically eroding streambanks within Niagara County.
In 2003, we partnered with Niagara County Department of Planning, Town of
Newfane, Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental
Conservation to protect the water and aquatic life of Eighteen Mile Creek. The
Eighteen Mile Creek Restoration Project was designed to improve water quality
and fish habitat in the creek, and make fishing a safer and more enjoyable
activity. A quarter mile stretch of the creek just below Burt Dam was restored
and the creek banks stabilized. Utilizing innovative techniques, the project was
successful in removing debris, improving existing hiking trails, stabilizing
eroded stream banks, improving fish habitat and reducing pollution.
Eighteen Mile Creek has been designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) by the
International Joint Commission under the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement. The Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District serves as the
lead agency for the Remedial Action Plan Coordination and Management designed to
de-list Eighteen Mile Creek as an AOC. This is being accomplished through
strategic management of present and future creek remediation activities. One way
this is being accomplished is through a county wide water quality monitoring
program. The program is designed to collect water quality data to provide
scientific evidence of water quality impairments to local areas of concern,
which will enhance data used to prioritize local programs and update the NYS
Department of Environmental Conservation Priority Waterbodies List.
The Niagara County Soil and Water District is working for you and the
For more information on all district programs, Contact us at (716) 434-4949 ext.