11-b. Agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control projects. 1. Subject to the availability of funds appropriated therefor, a matching grant program is established to fund agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control projects that meet the following criteria:
a. the project must consist of activities or plans which will identify, reduce, abate, control or prevent nonpoint source pollution originating from agricultural sources;
b. the project must be proposed for implementation by a district or group of districts acting jointly;
c. the project must identify agricultural nonpoint sources of pollution or propose to implement best management practices, as defined in section three of this chapter; and
d. the district or districts must have funds available to pay for its share of the eligible project costs.
2. Applications for matching grants shall contain the following information:
a. the name and location of the water body and the nonpoint source problem to be addressed;
b. identification of the best management practices to be implemented, if applicable;
c. a cost estimate for the proposed project;
d. the source of funds available to the district to pay for its share of the eligible costs;
e. information sufficient to demonstrate that the criteria in subdivision one of this section have been met; and
f. such further information as may be required by the committee through regulations.
3. In awarding grants the committee shall give preference to those projects located in priority water bodies identified pursuant to section 17-1407 of the environmental conservation law. The committee shall also give preference to projects proposed to promote participation or further the priorities of the agricultural environmental management (AEM) program as set forth in article eleven-A of the agriculture and markets law.
4. Eligible costs that may be funded pursuant to this section are architectural and engineering services, plans and specifications, including watershed based or individual agricultural nonpoint source pollution assessments, consultant and legal services, conservation easements and associated transaction costs specific to title thirty-three of article fifteen of the environmental conservation law and other direct expenses related to project implementation.
5. State assistance payments pursuant to this section shall be up to a maximum of seventy-five percent of the eligible costs, as determined pursuant to subdivision four of section 17-1409 of the environmental conservation law, for any specified project. Such maximum shall be increased by a percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligible costs for such specified projects that are contributed by the owner or operator of agricultural land upon which such specified project is being conducted, provided, however, that in no event shall the total of such state assistance payments exceed eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs for any specified project.
6. The committee may adopt rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section.
7. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a concentrated animal feeding operation permitted pursuant to title seven or eight of article seventeen of the environmental conservation law shall be treated as a nonpoint source for purposes of qualifying for funding pursuant to this section.
Last modified: February 3, 2019