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April Column: Erie County's natural resources and environmental policies


We look forward to getting work underway for the safety of those who travel our county roads
Legislature secures the appropriate funding, but the work is simply not being done by our county administration
Additional summer funding to assist these organizations that serve children and the community
With this approval to move forward with repairs, the county will complete the project within the coming year
Encourages all dog, cat and ferret owners to bring their pets to a free rabies clinic next month

kosteckr - Posted on 03 April 2018

I take great pride as a long-serving member of the Erie County Legislature and I am also working to better our community and the district as the chair of the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District. The district is a local government subdivision to coordinate and implement resource and environmental policies in cooperation with the state and federal agencies. This month, I’d like to focus on some of our efforts.

Education is one of the key components for our agency and I am excited to tell you about a program that is fun and important for our students. We host and help organize Envirothon, an annual environmental competition for high schoolers in the area. Students work together to complete a series of challenges in the subjects of wildlife, forestry, aquatics, soils and a current topic. This year’s current topic is “Western Rangeland Management.”

The event allows our young people to get outside and a chance to win some great prizes, but it’s more than that. They’re networking with people in various scientific fields and hopefully some will be inspired to seek out a career. Last year for instance, workshop presenters included local soil scientists, fisheries biologists, field technicians, foresters, conservationists, and naturalists.

Envirothon is spread out over two days. We had a great showing at the end of March at Village Green Park in Elma. Students will join us again at the park on April 26. The winning team earns the privilege of advancing to the New York State Envirothon at Hobart & William Smith College in Geneva. Last year, East Aurora High School took the local title (and nearly won in Geneva) but schools in our district are looking to challenge them in 2018. We’d love to have you join us for what’s sure to be another great day.

The Soil and Water Conservation District also works very closely with the county Department of Public Works on right-of-way drainage issues. I know it is very frustrating for homeowners when storm water collects in streets and often ends up in your yards because there is no place else for it to go. I’d like to assure you we are focusing very closely on these issues this year.

You may have seen recent reports in the local media about issues at Back Creek Road in Boston. While, the county is still finalizing its list of projects, we are very aware of this problem and others like it. If you find other trouble areas please let our office know.

As always, If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can reach my office at john.mills@erie.gov or 716-858-8850.