Welcome our New Agricultural Conservation Specialist - Jim Clauser The County Agricultural Conservation Specialist is responsible for direct technical services and assistance to production agricultural cooperators, owners and operators of Northampton County farms and other landowners to help solve natural resource problems in the areas of soil conservation and nutrient management with the development and implementation of conservation/agricultural erosion and sedimentation control plans. Work includes assisting with the coordination of overall Conservation District activities with those of other local, State and Federal government agencies. The position's goal is to promote the conservation of the soil and water resources of Northampton County.
Click photo for a Greystone Building history lesson
The Northampton County Conservation District is one of 66 Conservation Districts statewide and nearly 3000 nationwide dedicated to conserving soil and water resources (click for Conservation District History). The Conservation District is part of county government and also a sub-unit of state government.
Over 65 years ago Pennsylvania state legislators recognized the need to support grassroots local conservation efforts. As a result, the PA Conservation District Law was passed authorizing the creation of county conservation districts in every county, except Philadelphia. The Northampton County Conservation District was founded in 1961 when a group of farmers joined together to promote the use of conservation practices to protect soil and water resources in Northampton County.
Today, the Northampton County Conservation District's main goals are to promote soil conservation, maintain or improve water quality and promote environmental education. To achieve these goals, the Conservation District performs a variety of programs ranging from reviewing erosion and sediment pollution control plans for earth disturbance activities to providing advice on starting a local watershed association.
The Conservation District is led by a seven member Board of Directors. District Directors are volunteers that are nominated by an approved local organization and then appointed by Northampton County government. Their responsibilities range from policy creation to supporting efforts of district staff and their partner agencies to provide quality administrative, technical, and educational assistance to all county residents. Four members of the board are farmer directors, two are public directors and one is a representative of Northampton County Council.
Both construction and post-construction stormwater runoff is to be managed through project layout design and BMPs to protect, maintain, reclaim and restore water quality and the existing and designated uses of waters of this Commonwealth. Some sites, after consideration of possible project design and BMP options, do not have direct access to surface waters to discharge stormwater runoff. Applicants for permitting under 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102 may propose off-site discharges of stormwater to areas that are not surface waters. In these cases, the applicant must have the legal authority to discharge stormwater onto off-site areas. The applicant must provide documentation that the discharge will not cause accelerated erosion on the properties along the flow path to a surface water. This documentation is required with the permit application showing that the applicant has avoided, minimized or mitigated accelerated erosion and stormwater impacts to the receiving surface water(s). Click the above link to go to the FAQ which clairfies the definition of a surface water as covers what is required to be submitted for a complete Offsite Discharge Analysis.
If you think you require a NPDES Permit Amendment but aren't sure what type, DEP now has a FAQ document available which provides several different example scenarios; you may not find your exact scenario but by reviewing the ones provided you can get an idea for your discussion with the assigned Chapter 102 staff member for your project. If it is determined that a major amendment is required, a pre-application meeting is recommended. prior to submission. Field changes can be discussed directly with the regional 102 staff member but minor amendments would require formal review submission and fee.