This Water for Ag Project Area consists of a broad range of local watershed groups, the Potter County Water Quality Working Group, conservation and environmental districts, local government, agriculture and industry business, concerned citizens and small businesses.
A diverse group of people will start meeting in early 2019 to bring together ideas and concerns and begin to develop short term plans and long-term goals. This initial group will help plan a future model of assistance and direction so that many generations will benefit.
The project area is mostly mountainous and very rural. The agricultural and timber industries are very well established for and in the future. There is also some oil and gas exploration. Land is managed by various groups of people from local farmers and homeowners to larger landholding entities and smaller non-resident family camps.
The Upper Cowanesque is formed just a few miles from the Triple Divide. The Triple Divide in Potter County is the only Triple Divide east of the Mississippi. The summit is not the divide of the Cowanesque itself, which flows east to join with the Chemung River in New York and back into Pennsylvania, forming the upper Susquehanna. The three rivers forming from the Triple Divide summit include the Pine Creek which flows southeast into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, the Allegheny River which flows northwest into New York, and back to Pennsylvania, where it flows to the Ohio River, and the Genesee River, that flows North to Ontario Lake and the St Lawrence River. The land here sits on the High Allegheny Plateau near the Glacial Maximum, resulting in soils of mixed origin with variable soil conditions within small fields.
Agriculture and Forestry and related industries remain the mainstay economy in this region, though not the largest, unquestionably the longest standing. The USDA Census of Agriculture in 20212 reports 442 farms in Potter County and 1,125 farms in Tioga. The average farm in this area is larger than average farms in Pennsylvania at 180-220 acres per farm. Potter and Tioga have a market share valued near $115 million in Crop and Livestock Products sold annually. Forage crops are the mainstay of the area, as feeding both Dairy and Beef Cattle continue to be the majority, a close second by row crops for Corn Grain, Soybean and Vegetable production.