|Cornell Chronicle-- Cooperative Extension in Delaware County, NY|
As a disclaimer, this article is not a scientific one and has not been published anywhere of significance. The author, Albert Appleton is a Senior Fellow with the Regional Plan Association (RPA) of New York City, and also a Senior Fellow at the City University of New York Institute of Urban Systems (CIUS) and also served as the commissioner for New York City's Department of Environmental Protection. The author of the paper discusses the successful story New York City's watershed protection program and his involvement.
The history of New York City's drinking water supply is environmentally, socially, and economically extraordinary. Changes in upstate land use, a turn over of agricultural land to vacation homes and an increase in non-point source pollution in the 1980's brought upon the call for action for water resources between city and rural residents. Because farmers did not want non-point source regulation controlling their practice, a compromise was to develop Whole Farm Planning, a voluntary farmer program integrating environmental protection and business improvement. This program was designed to incorporate economic opportunities for all involved around an ecosystem services model and to simultaneously promote preservation, enhancing the natural ecosystem.
This example of a successful ecosystem service strategy benefits over nine million people, and is physically far reaching as well. This innovative program uses upstream and downstream protection and resulted in a financially successful model for both rural farmers and land owners, the water needs of the city, the protection of the ecosystem and resources and a strategic move which banks nearly a billion dollars of revenue a year by the city water supply.
The particular example of watershed protection in New York City and the integration of ecosystem service strategies worked in the favor of all parties and could not have been as functional had there not been the flexibility and commitment to develop a new program from the ground up, rather than implementing a standard policy or regulation of resource and ecosystem management. As a conclusion of New York City's success, the author suggests three elements that are critical to the widespread investment of ecosystem services for natural and human resources. Definitely a good read about a successful ecosystem service model.