Beech-Nut donation eyed for stream projects

The Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District will likely pursue several projects with

The Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District will likely pursue several projects with an $80,000 donation that Hero Group/Beech-Nut is making as part of its permit agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Hero/Beech-Nut is building a new baby food plant in the Florida Business Park as part of a $124 million project.

The donation, dedicated to stream restoration projects, is the second time in recent history that the Soil and Water Conservation District got support through a development project, District Manager Corey Nellis said.

The Army Corps required a $15,000 environmental mitigation grant from the Lowe’s home improvement store on state Route 30 in Amsterdam, Nellis said.

With that money, the conservation district created a 1.5-acre wetland on property off Cranesville Road.

The wetland recently underwent a one-year review, Nellis said. “It was a beautiful project, it came out great.”

The Army Corps permit, which focused on the destruction of 1.19 acres of wetland at the Florida Business Park, calls for the development of 1.6 acres of wetlands near the site in addition to $80,000 worth of stream bank restoration projects.

Nellis said plans for the $80,000 are not yet determined, but he sent the federal agency a list of possible projects that include bank stabilizations, plantings along stream banks, heavy use protection and “nutrient exclusion” efforts geared toward keeping farm waste out of waterways.

“We have a lot of degrading stream banks in Montgomery County just because of the way our topography is,” Nellis said.

Many of the county’s farms are built alongside streams and creeks, and the agency’s work often focuses on keeping contaminants like cow manure and fertilizers out of the waterways.

Nellis said in some cases there are farming projects on hold because portions of the work aren’t funded through government programs.

It’s possible some of the money can be used to fill in those gaps, Nellis said.

“We’d like to take that money and enhance another project,” Nellis said.

One farm is eyeing a project to build a mile of fencing to keep cows out of the nearby creek. Existing programs would pay for that work but not for stabilizing the banks of the stream.

A portion of the new grant could be used in such an instance, Nellis said, as long as it’s approved by the Army Corps.

Categories: Schenectady County

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