The Conservation Program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in consultation with the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. Applications for funding will be accepted from County Soil and Water Conservation Districts within the eligible counties. Eligible counties are those that received a disaster designation for Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The Soil and Water Districts will determine land eligibility based on site inspections of damage. For land to be eligible, the Tropical Storms must have created a new conservation problem that, if left untreated, would: degrade the state’s natural resources; impact public drinking water supplies; present ongoing pollution risks to surface and groundwater; pose threats to production facilities; impair farm safety; affect the land’s productive capacity; or present challenges to farm production that would be too costly to implement without state assistance.

Eligible emergency conservation practices include, but are not limited to: debris removal; restoring fences and conservation structures; crop removal; land shaping and grading; and installation of vegetative practice, including cover crop. Eligible costs include: architectural and/or engineering services; consultant services; construction; and other direct expenses related to implementation.

Project sponsors within eligible counties may submit applications on a weekly basis. Applications will be taken until all available funds are awarded.

Project selection will be based on identified need and degree of loss and with consideration of the available funding for eligible counties. Recovery funds requested will be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets. The Commissioner may consult with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the agency that oversees policy and programs for New York’s 58 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.