Lake Plains RC&D Information

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March 9, 2001


PRESIDENT: Ronald Sloat PRESIDENT-ELECT (2001): Joanne Ellsworth

SECRETARY/ TREASURER: Nichelle Billhardt


The first thing to notice in this years Annual Report is the change in the Council name. With the expansion of the Ontario Lake Plains RC&D Area to include Erie County last year, the Council made a decision to change the name of the Council to Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. The process to accomplish this is discussed later in the report.

The Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. (Lake Plains RC&D) is a local grass roots organization serving a six county area in western New York. The six counties are Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wayne

Our vision is a prosperous diverse community that is effectively utilizing, conserving, and sharing the natural resources of the region.

Our mission is to bring together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds who share a common concern for the natural resources of the region, so that, working together, these citizens may form an effective strategy to develop, enhance, and preserve these resources to the benefit of all present and future citizens of, and visitors to our region.

The Lake Plains RC&D Council, Inc. is an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization directed by local citizens. A 501 (c) (3) is an organization designated by the IRS as a "Charitable Organization"; donations to Organizations with 501 (c) (3) tax status can be tax deductible.

Important Administrative Activities During 2000

Name Change - In a letter dated October 1, 1999 to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist, then RC&D Council President Tom Goodwin wrote "We were very happy to receive the recent news that our request for expansion to include Erie County has been approved. I feel this is an appropriate time to officially notify you that with the expansion of the Ontario Lake Plains RC&D Area to include Erie County, the Council has made a decision to change the name of the Council to better reflect the geographic area now covered by the Council. We are currently in the process of officially changing the Council name to Lake Plains RC&D. " Actions put into motion at that time included a revision of the Council Constitution and By-laws, and a revision to the Articles of Incorporation.

Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws - During 1999 and 2000 the Council went through the process of updating and amending the Ontario Lake Plains RC&D Council Constitution and By-Laws. This included changing the name to Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. At the February 23, 2000 Annual Meeting a motion was made to recommend the approval of the changes to the By-Laws and to poll all members. Final results of the poll was the unanimous approval to accept the "Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. Constitution and By-Laws As Amended 3/01/2000".

Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation - With the approval of the amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws the next step was to complete the process to amend the Articles of Incorporation. At the June 15, 2000 Council meeting a copy of the draft Certificate of Amendment was reviewed and discussed. A motion was made to approve the amendment to the Articles of Incorporation (name change and adding Erie County) and to allow the Executive Committee to make the decision on the process for filing the Amendment. The Executive Committee reviewed the Final Certificate of Amendment and other necessary letters of transmittal to the State Attorney General, State Supreme Court, and NYS Department of State. The Officers of the Council signed the Certificate of Amendment on July 26, 2000. The final Certificate of Amendment was approved by New York State on 10-17-00 approving the name change and adding Erie County. The Council can now do business as Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc.

Council Organizational Activities in 2000

The Lake Plains RC&D Council held regular meetings during the year 2000. The Council conducts official meetings six times per year. The meetings are open to the public and are currently held at the Genesee Community College – Orleans Campus Center, 456 West Ave., Albion, NY 14411. The members of the Council represent the following sponsoring organizations: each of the six county legislatures, each of the six county Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), and at-large members from each county. In addition, there are regular ex-officio members representing such groups as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Service, Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), various private organizations and groups. A copy of the 2000 officers and membership list is on file in the Albion RC&D office. Officers for the year 2001 are as follows: President - Joanne Ellsworth (Niagara), President-Elect - Tiffany Boas (Wayne County), Secretary/Treasurer: Nichelle Billhardt (Orleans County). The Council wishes to thank those who have previously acted as Council Officers, your time and efforts are appreciated.

New York Federation of RC&D Councils Annual Meeting March 29, 2000 - The meeting was held in Syracuse at the NRCS Office Wednesday 29th 10a.m. - 2 P.M. Ron Sloat and Tom Goodwin attended the meeting representing the Council. Ron participated in the election of new Officers, and participated in the discussion of administrative issues such as the annual budget. During the meeting Ron offered to host the next meeting of the Federation in the Lake Plains RC&D Council Area.

Mid-Atlantic RC&D Association Meeting, September 12-14th, Atlantic City - Neither Joanne Ellsworth nor Ron Sloat could attend the meeting. Sheelagh Baily of Greater Adirondeck RC&D voted by proxy for us. Sharon Ruggi of the Greater Adirondack RC&D was selected to serve as President of the Mid-Atlantic RC&D Association. The goal of this meeting was to complete the Strategic Plan. A final document will be sent out for review this winter. The main focus of discussion was to identify what the role of association was, and to look at regional goals of Mid-Atlantic Association. and its’ role in helping local RC&D Councils.

National RC&D Conference – June 19-22, 2000 in Ogden, Utah – Ron Sloat and Robert Remillard attended this conference. The Council wants to thank Paul Blazak of the Drafty Barn Enterprises at 10813 Ridge Road, Medina, NY 14103 for donating three butterfly boxes to be given away at the New York State RC&D Booth. Information concerning the New York State RC&D Councils was available at the NYS booth.

New York State RC&D Booth at the National RC&D Conference

Information concerning the Lake Plains RC&D Council activities was available at the New York State booth.

Lake Plains Web Site - On July 18, 2000 we received notice that we had been approved for a web site to be hosted by Genesee Gateway Rochester Free-Net, Inc. We want to thank Genesee Gateway Rochester Free-Net, Inc. for this free service. The Council approved funding to support the development of the web site information and have begun to post information. Visit our web site at

Lake Plains RC&D Member Handbook - A draft council member handbook was developed in 2000. This handbook covers many different areas including: What is RC&D, organizational information, financial policies, Council member responsibilities and much more. This handbook will be revised and improved as needed over the next year.

Area Plan Development - The Lake Plains RC&D Council is in the process of updating our Area Plan. The Area Plan is intended to be open-ended and establishes the direction that the Council wishes to take; it outlines goals and objectives and identifies strategies and problems associated with these goals and objectives. Currently the RC&D Council’s application for authorization is being used as the preliminary area plan. The preliminary plan can be used for up to three years following authorization. We are in our second year of authorization. During the last two years the Council has revisited the needs and priorities of the RC&D Area during a number of meetings. Over the next few months we will bring all the information together to develop the new Area Plan. We expect to complete this process by the next annual meeting in February 2001.

Area Plan Special Planning Session -August 17, 2000, Godfey’s Pond

Financial Report

The Council continued to operate utilizing membership dues as the sole source of income. The annual dues is $1,800.00 ($300.00 per county). The only significant expenses for 2000 included: the $800.00 payment for D & O Liability Insurance, State/Regional/National RC&D membership dues $550.00, other membership dues or registration fees $150.00 and travel reimbursement to attend the National RC&D Conference $854.00. Final balance for Fiscal Year was $5,635.63.

The Council has begun to pursue grant funding. During 2000, the Lake Plains RC&D Council assisted or was involved in the development of 20 grant proposals.

Council Administrative Issues

Council of Community Services and D & O Liability Insurance - A committee was formed in 1999 to determine whether we should acquire liability insurance. The committee felt that the most critical issue was the protection of our Council Officers from frivolous claims and the need to cover potential legal fees to defend our Officers. The final recommendation was to join the Council of Community Services of New York State, Inc., which offered Not-for-Profit Organization’s Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (provided through Capital Risk Associates, Inc.). The D&O Liability Insurance became effective 11/18/99. The Council continued with this membership in 2000.

NY FARMS! Membership - After participating in a number of activities sponsored by NY FARMS! the Council passed a resolution authorizing membership in this organization. The Council feels this membership is a good way to meet and work with other groups with similar interest. NY FARMS! supports a vibrant, profitable, and diverse agriculture and food system that meets the needs of farm families, consumers, and the environment. The Council continued with this membership in 2000.

Agricultural Committee Development - The first meeting of the Lake Plains RC&D Agricultural Committee took place on July 28, 1999. A number of people have brought a lot of energy to this Committee which has met a number of times since then, during these meeting we have tried to develop and refine the scope and objectives of the Ag Committee. As a result of these meetings the Committee has identified the following as key areas of interest: Tourism/Marketing, Information Education, Technology Transfer and Development, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative and Farm Land Protection. The committee made it clear from the beginning we do not intend to duplicate efforts already underway by other organization(s). The Ag Committee's role would be to work with these other groups, support them where needed, invite them to partner with the RC&D Council to meet mutual goals and objectives, to pool ideas and knowledge. Mr. James A Ghent Jr. took over the position of Chairperson of the committee in the year 2000. We want to thank past Chairperson Greg Tessmann for his efforts in starting the committee.

Council Project Measure Activities in 2000

Each year the Council develops a list of projects they hope to accomplish or assist others to implement, the following is a brief summary of 2000 Project Measure activities.

Springdale Farm - Springdale Farm is a demonstration farm, which is open to the public year round. The Farm is located within Northampton Park, Monroe County New York. Heritage Christian Home, Inc. operates the farm. This non-profit agency as part of its farm operations serves people with developmental disabilities by giving them an opportunity to work in a farm environment.

They host a number of festivals throughout the year and also offer tours to school groups. Last year they had over 40,000 visitors, approximately 10,000 were children grades Pre-K through 2nd grade.

Visitors to Springdale Farm enjoy a visit with the farm animals while waiting to take a Forestry Education Hike with the Lake Plains RC&D Coordinator on July 26th.

The Forestry Hike program included for 4 tours with approximately 60 people attending

Springdale Farm is interested in developing a strategic plan to address the needs of the public while also providing a quality education program focused on agriculture and environmental conservation. Potential activities include: construction of an Education Center with classroom space, improved farm demonstration areas (fields, crops, greenhouse, chicken coop, milking station, field test plots, and forestry) improved tours, and improved trails. Lake Plains RC&D has been a very active member of the Springdale Farm Advisory Group.

With the assistance of Lake Plains RC&D, Springdale Farm received a New York State Urban and Community Forestry Grant. The $7,500.00 grant will be used for the design of the Forestry Demonstration Project. The Lake Plains RC&D also helped identify the National AmeriCorps program as a potential resource for the Farm. An AmeriCorps crew of eight people worked at Springdale Farm from June thru August.

The Lake Plains RC&D helped identify the National AmeriCorps program as a potential resource for the Farm.

An AmeriCorps crew of eight people worked at Springdale Farm from June through August.

Forestry Related Activities

Agroforestry at Springdale Farm - Using the information available through the USDA National Agroforestry Center, the Springdale Farm Advisory Committee would like to develop and display agroforestry practices that are suitable for the site. These demonstrations would be incorporated into the overall agricultural, environmental and conservation education program at the Farm. Springdale Farm offers many opportunities to present agroforestry management practices in a typical western New York setting. To help accomplish this goal the RC&D Council supported the development of a grant proposal that was submitted to Northeast Region SARE program. Although the grant was unsuccessful the Lake Plains RC&D Coordinator assisted the AmeriCorps crew with development of an agroforestry demonstration plot (woodland mushroom cultivation) and assisted the AmeriCorps crew with development of a natural trail at Springdale on June 7th.

Visitors of all ages enjoy a Forestry Education Hike with the Lake Plains RC&D Coordinator at Springdale Farm

The Lake Plains RC&D assisted with a tree-planting program on May 3rd, approximately 65 Xerox employees volunteered to help plant 65 saplings, and 150 seedlings.

Mark Gooding a NYS DEC Forester supervised the planting which was funded through a NYS Forestry Tree Planing Grant ($5,000).

Wood Products Manufacturing Focus Group - The first meeting of the focus group was held July 16, 1999 at the office of the Empire State Development Corporation in Buffalo, NY. To support this effort the Lake Plains RC&D Council development a proposal titled: Promote the Niagara Region Wood Products Manufacturing Potential. The proposal addressed development of a marketing plan, which could be used by groups such as the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Council, aimed at supporting forest industry in our region. One result of this effort was the Wood Products Industry Leaders Conference on May 31, 2000 at Holiday Valley Resort in southwestern New York.

Western Erie Canal Heritage Corridor Planning - The Western Erie Canal Heritage Corridor is the newest of the States 17 Heritage Areas. The region contains all or parts of Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, and Wayne counties. An 18 member planning commission will oversee the writing of a management plan for the heritage area over the next three years. While each heritage area has its own organization, actions and theme, they all strive to promote preservation and recreational use of natural and cultural resources, local and regional heritage education and economic revitalization. The Lake Plains RC&D supported the development of the Planning Commission in a letter dated May 28, 1999. We also offered the assistance of the RC&D staff and members to support the development of the plan. The Western Erie Canal Heritage Corridor Planning Commission is currently setting up Task Force meetings to help with the development of the plan. The Lake Plains RC&D will participate as a Task Force member and assist with development of the plan as needed.

The Lake Plains RC&D Council submitted a letter to Senator Maziarz's Office on May 28, 1999 offering our support: We feel strongly that the RC&D can be of assistance in the development of the Western Erie Canal Heritage Corridor Plan. The Lake Plains RC&D Council is willing to offer the assistance of the RC&D staff and members to support the development of the plan.

Science, Mathematics, Agriculture, and Related Technologies (SMART) Center - A proposed regional year round science education center, focused to teach all aspects of science education using agriculture and environment issues as the theme. The SMART Center would be a premier facility that will be designed as an education center for all ages. The proposed location for the SMART Center is the Genesee County Fair Grounds east of Batavia, New York. Martin Culik, Executive Director of CCE is spearheading this effort. The Lake Plains RC&D has offered our support for this project.

Envirothon - The RC&D Council provided support and participated in this educational program during 2000.

Niagara-Orleans Regional Envirothon – The Lake Plains RC&D was asked to help with the Envirothon program at Bond Lake on May 4th, assisted with the monitoring of tests at the forestry table.

Pictured above the Lyndonville High School winners of the event.

Watershed Enhancement Projects - The Council is supporting the Village of Lyndonville (Orleans County, New York) in its efforts to develop a restoration plan for Johnson Creek Pond area. Pictured below are representatives of the Village, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the NRCS. The meeting was part of the efforts by the Lake Plains RC&D to help begin the projecting planning process.

Recent activities include development of a number grants. These grants will help with the planning and assessment needs for the project. The restoration plan will identify and evaluate the feasibility of actions to improve water quality in the pond and in Johnson Creek, remove contaminated sediments from the pond, remove barriers to fish migration, and increase recreational opportunities at the pond and Johnson Creek. The project will help to protect, enhance, and restore the water quality and fish habitat of Johnson Creek, a designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

Johnson Creek Pond Project - Johnson Pond Dam site

Caring for Creeks II Watershed Symposium The Lake Plains RC&D introduced the Johnson Creek Pond Project and helped Orleans County SWCD put together a display for Johnson Creek/Oak Orchard Watershed Projects at the Caring for Creeks II Watershed Symposium held at the Genesee Country Village, April 28, 2000. Lake Plains RC&D members attending the meeting included Ron Sloat, Nichelle Billhardt, George Squires, Robert Remillard and Esther Leadley.

New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative The Lake Plains RC&D entered into a contract with the NRCS to provide Grazing Land Technicians/Advocates who make contacts with area farmers to promote grassland farming. The contract amount was $20,625.00. This is the second year the Lake Plains RC&D Council has provided this service to the local community. The contract covered eight counties in western New York. In addition to providing four Grazing Technicians/Advocates the Lake Plains RC&D has sponsored three pasture walks and a grazing conference.

GLCI G.O.N.E. Grazing Conference The Lake Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council hosted a Grazing Conference March 14th at the Apple Grove Inn, Medina, New York. The Conference was well attended with approximately 35 local farmers in attendance. The topics presented included Economics of Grazing – Extending Your Profit Margin, Plant Animal Interactions, Animal Health on Pasture, Maximizing Fat and Protein Production on Pasture, and a Producer Panel Discussion. The speakers included Jim Grace (Cornell Cooperative Extension, Extension Educator), Darrell Emmick (Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Grassland Specialist), Ken Gumear (Veterinarian, Middleport New York), Karen Sullivan (NRCS Dairy Nutritionist), and Don Wild (NRCS Grazing Specialist). Special thanks to all the speakers, as well as the Apple Grove Inn for providing the meeting room.

Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative - Pasture Walk - Baskin Livestock Farm, Genesee County 9/07/00

This program was sponsored by the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Lake Plains RC&D, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Calving Ease, (37 people were in attendance).

Pasture Walk - Brad and Eric Bentley Farm 9/28/00, Orleans County,

Highlight of meeting was inspecting the September 99 demonstration planting of 10 varieties of grasses; also covered were management options, and grazing preference (23 were people in attendance).

This program is part of the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, to promote the use of grasslands farming through intensive use of pastures for raising livestock. Through the program more than 200 farmers have been contacted and 24 grazing plans have been developed.

GLOW Household Hazardous Waste Collection The Lake Plains RC&D was represented at the GLOW Household and Hazardous Waste Collection on May 20th in Albion. They had at least 300 sign ups. Based on the surveys collected everyone was very happy with the program.

GLOW Household Hazardous Waste Collection

May 20th in Albion.

WESTERN NEW YORK (WNY) "BUY LOCAL" CAMPAIGN: Our mission is to create awareness, support, and understanding of the importance of local farms to our area by local consumers and businesses. We seek to increase the consumption of locally grown farm products to the benefit of everyone in the region.

Phase I - Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension received a grant of $5,000 from NY FARMS! for development of these educational materials for promotion of local products. Phase I has been completed.

Objectives: 1) To develop an easily identifiable logo for placement on local farm and value-added products. 2.) To create an educational package including brochures, posters, and other printed materials that explain the advantages of buying locally produced farm products. This material would be for use by local farm markets, farm stands, grocer, restaurateur, or other marketing enterprises to promote regionally grown products sold at these establishments. This was completed in 1999.

Activities to support this effort included a booth at the Buffalo Convention Center, which hosted the AgriTourism Expo on March 23, 2000. The Lake Plains RC&D provided $300.00 in funding support for the booth.

Pat LaPoint indicated that approximately 1,300 attendees boarded coaches to visit local sites and view the displays at the Convention Center. The following counties were targeted for this Expo: Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

Phase II - Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension and Lake Plains RC&D received a second grant of $5,000 from NY FARMS! to implement phase II titled Education Outreach "Our Lakes Make it Local" (Pride in NY Farms!) This proposal has two components: 1) We will complete a follow up and evaluation of the promotional material developed in 1998/99 and 2) we will take advantage of relationships developed with local colleges and universities and expand our outreach into the food service community. The second phased was approved August 2000 and is currently underway.

The Lake Plains RC&D Council looks forward to working together with and supporting member sponsors, groups, agencies, schools, and individuals to enhance the quality of life and environment for residents and visitors to the area. Environmental problems do not stop at township, county or state boundaries and that is where the beauty and flexibility of the RC&D program comes into play.

Your support, participation, and interest in the Lake Plains RC&D activities would be appreciated. For further information contact Robert Remillard at the 716-589-5320 ext. 102.

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RC&D is a program supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (Voice and TTD). To file a complaint write USDA, Director; Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W; Whiten Building; 14th h and Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (Voice and TTD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.




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