2015 - 08

Time To Get To Work!

Holy moly! In July we found out that we have been generously funded for FY16 by the WA Conservation Commission to bring you all kinds of great new programs and opportunities. We are diligently working on putting together work plans and details of the harvest coming your way. You can see a list of the proposed tasks and keep up on our progress on the TPDW Work Plan page.

Some things to look forward to in FY16:

  • Development of statewide planning groups to create consistent planning templates, identify useful planning tools, and create cohesive planner groups for communication. Stay tuned for announcements to get involved in your area of planning.

  • The Discovery Farms® Washington program is kicking off with seed money to help get edge-of-field monitoring sites installed across the state. This will be a unique opportunity for CDs to combine applied research with practical results to help identify the impact of conservation practices on water quality.

  • New training events are being developed across the state in nutrient management, GIS, riparian buffers, water quality, and more! Keep up-to-date on events on our Training Events page.

We had a great recruitment event in July to start getting folks on board to help with all of the FY16 tasks we have ahead. If you missed that event, don’t worry, we recorded it! You can find the link to the video HERE, as well as the TPDW application form. We are always open to including those who may want to get involved in the TPDW.

What's New on the Web Site?

Our website is constantly being improved and expanded with new information. This month, we have added a new tab highlighting some of the great projects that are happening throughout Washington State on our CD Projects Around WA page. If you have a project that you would like added, just use the form on the page to submit your info.

This is a great way to see what other CDs are up to and discover amazing work that might benefit your District. You can also use it as a way to find collaborators for new projects and increase your chances of getting grants. We hope to see this list expand and grow!

Click and Share!

Notice the picture at the top of the newsletter? Want to see yours there? Every month we would like to highlight the beautiful places that Conservation District employees work throughout Washington State on our newsletter banner. If you have a great picture from your District, please upload it to the SCC Photo Gallery for your chance to have it used as one of our monthly newsletter banners. Happy clicking!

Monthly Survey of Interest

Every month we will be posting a quick survey that we need your help with. These surveys will help us identify needs and interests from around the state to help design better programs, events, and trainings for you.

This Month: Major Agriculture Sectors and Issues in Your District

We are working with WSDA to design effective nutrient management and irrigation water management training events for farmers/producers across Washington State. We would like your input on discovering the needs of your District and how we can help you better serve your clientele. If there are enough responses from your region, one of the trainings may be hosted in your District!

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VBHYQCN

Training Events

The TPDW, in cooperation with the NRCS Employee Development Committee (EDC) and the Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC), is in the early planning stages of putting together a series of major Natural Resource Conservation Technical training events to be held in the coming year.

Planning is underway to hold three major training events: a 3-day Nutrient Management Planning training, consisting of an advanced Nutrient Management Planning (NMP) session; a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning (CNMP) session; and a Dairy Nutrient Management Planning (DNMP) session.

The next training event will be centered on Riparian Restoration and Planning with a CREP component that will be similar in structure to the Nutrient Management course. This training will be focused on Riparian Restoration work in Conservation Planning.

Lastly, after many years of planning and preparation, the TPDW is preparing to hold the Basic Conservation Planner Certification course. We have been working toward this goal for many years, and now it is finally about to come to fruition.

These training events will be preparatory toward certifications, and will also be suitable for Continuing Education Credits for several Professional Credentials (CCA, CPAg, Soil Scientists, etc.) and great training for career advancement.

We are very excited to be finally coming to this point. A good many people from all over the Natural Resource Conservation world have worked long and hard over the years to bring this program to life, and now it is on the cusp of an astonishing step forward. Please, stay tuned for more information as it becomes available so that you can be a part of this historic event in Washington State Natural Resource Conservation Family history!!

Waste-Calc Training

August 10, 2015 / 10 am—2 pm

King CD

Instructor: Marty Chaney, NRCS

The TPDW, in cooperation with NRCS, is kicking off a series of Joint CD/NRCS workshops/trainings on the Waste-Calc nutrient management planning tool, beginning Aug 10th from 10:00 to 2:00 at King CD. The Waste-Calc worksheet is a tool for inventorying, evaluating, and assessing small livestock operations for nutrient management, forage production, and grazing management.

The Waste-Calc series will be presented by Marty Chaney, NRCS West Area Agronomist. Marty developed this tool for evaluation and assessment of small livestock operations and keeps it updated and current, so there is no one more knowledgeable than she about how to use this great tool. Marty will also be discussing the feed & forage-livestock balance page (ffbalance) as it relates to developing grazing plans and evaluating forage production. Please be sure to read Chapter 11 of the AWMFH (Ag Waste Management Field Handbook) prior to the class, so that you will be familiar with terms and definitions of the various processes that affect manure nutrient values. The AWMFH is available online on the NRCS website. This is a prerequisite for attendance.

This workshop series will be conducted regionally by WACD Area, beginning with the Northwest Area. The Northwest Area workshops are sponsored by Snohomish CD and hosted by King CD. Class size is planned to be kept at about 15 individuals (CD and NRCS), and interest in the Northwest Area is so high a second session is being planned to fill the need. We will do our best to fill all the needs in all the other CD areas.

Email and notices will be going out from the TPDW soon with Doodle Poles to facilitate the scheduling of workshops in the other areas. If you or your district would like to host one of these workshops, please contact: James Weatherford at jweatherford@thurstoncd.com.

Water Quality and Livestock Grazing – a Solutions Workshop for Ranchers & Landowners

October 22, 2015 / 9 am—5 pm

Spokane area

No registration fee

Keynote speaker is Dr. Kenneth Tate, UC-Davis

Water Quality and Livestock Grazing – a Solutions Workshop for Natural Resource Professionals

October 23, 2015 / 9 am—5 pm

Ellensburg Armory Bldg., 901 E 7th Ave., at the fairgrounds

No registration fee, travel is on your own

Keynote speaker is Dr. Kenneth Tate, UC-Davis

Non-point source water quality has always been difficult to assess and solve. By definition, NPS pollution comes to a receiving water body from multiple sources, none of which may be large contributions. The challenge remains to promote water quality through watershed health, which requires individual landowners to care well for their own land. This requires at least a two-faceted approach of 1) identifying and addressing acute problems and 2) promoting management which maintains conditions at the soil-plant interface that stabilize soil, nutrients, and other substances that are considered pollutants when they are present in surface water above regulatory thresholds.

The environmental and legal concerns involved in water quality regulation threaten all three classic aspects of agricultural sustainability for livestock farmers: economic sustainability, from costs of compliance and fines for persistent non-compliance to the potential of losing access to grazing land; environmental sustainability through water quality impairment, decreasing value of ecosystem goods and services, and a declining forage base for production; and social sustainability, through additional rules and regulations established to counter poor management and poor water quality.

This one-day, intensive class will help natural resource professionals in Washington State understand how livestock grazing practices and grazing land conditions affect water quality directly (proximate factors) and by long-term changes in riparian condition, which is the ultimate driving factor. The workshop will cover how to select and communicate management practices to livestock farmers to reduce risk of noncompliance and pollutant discharge, how to assess that risk, and how to measure improvements in riparian condition, an accurate leading indicator of water quality.

They keynote speaker will be Dr. Kenneth Tate, a watershed specialist with the University of California at Davis and a researcher at the Sierra Foothills Research & Extension Center.Dr. Tate is a leading researcher in non-point source water quality and livestock grazing; you can learn more about his work here: http://rangelandwatersheds.ucdavis.edu/main/tate.htm. The full agenda and registration details will be available soon.

Contact: Tip Hudson, Rangeland & Livestock Specialist

Washington State University Extension

509-962-7507 | hudsont@wsu.edu

AGLEARN- What’s That???

All conservation folks should know what AgLearn is, since it is one of the key sources of training for soil and water conservation district staff. AgLearn provides web based training on a wide range of topics related to natural resource management.

The Agriculture Learning (AgLearn) system is USDA's department-wide system for managing training activities for USDA employees and USDA partners, such as conservation districts. Learning opportunities in AgLearn include both online resources, such as courses, webinars, videos and books, as well as registration in the more traditional instructor-led training.

Check out their website at: http://www.aglearn.usda.gov/ for more information.

Two AgLearn courses in particular that every conservation district technical person should complete are:

  • Introduction to the Field Office Technical Guide (Web Based NRCS-NEDC- 000149), which takes only about 1 hour, but gives you an understanding of the conser vation practices and where to find resource information for your district.

  • Conservation Planning, Part I (Web Based NRCS-NEDC-000019) , which provides background and framework for conservation planning. Conservation Planning, Part 2, is the in-field training provided by Washington NRCS.

To access AgLearn, you need to contact one of our AgLearn NRCS points of contact, which are Eileen Jackson (509.323.2931) and Kathleen Dickerson (509.323.2933 ), in order to establish an account. If you need additional help or have questions, you can contact James Weatherford or Larry Brewer through the TPDW web site.

FAQs & Fun Facts

What is a Watershed Improvement District?

“A watershed improvement district is a type of special purpose district, like a Conservation District, governed by landowners. While legally organized as an “irrigation” district, WIDs have statutory authority to work on a variety of issues – including water supply, water quality, drainage, and habitat restoration.”* Farmers like this structure because it gives them a coordinated voice in working water issues with regulatory agencies (and amongst themselves). Regulatory agencies like them because they provide a responsible point of contact for a region of farmers. Watershed Improvement Districts are not just for the irrigated agriculture areas of Eastern Washington. They are now cropping up on the wet, west side in places such as Whatcom and King County.

*From http://www.svpa.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/WID-concept-paper-and-FAQ-March-2015.pdf

Getting to Know You: District Highlight

Walla Walla County Conservation District

District Size: 762,151 acres

District Population: Total population of Walla Walla County is approximately 60,000. However, incorporated areas such as the City of Walla Walla, College Place, Waitsburg, etc., are not included within the boundaries of the District.

Number of Employees: 10 + 1 intern

Main Programs: Riparian Buffers, Irrigation Diversion Screening, Irrigation Diversion Metering, Irrigation Efficiency & Piping, Fish Passage Barrier Removal, Fish Habitat Restoration

Key Partners: Bonneville Power Administration, WA Dept. of Ecology, WA Salmon Recovery Funding Board & Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Services Agency

Project/Program Most Proud of: Gardena Farms Irrigation District #13 Upper Canal 2,800 ft. & North Lateral Piping Project: The first 2,800 ft. of this project was constructed with 66-Inch diameter high density polyethylene pipe. The North Lateral portion of the project resulted in 7.3 miles of earthen delivery canals being replaced by 34,726 ft. of delivery pipeline and 19,667 ft. of lateral pipeline. There were 34 pumping stations either modified or built. The saved water (water that is no longer diverted from the Walla Walla River) amounted to 5.95 cfs put into trust. The cost was $4.733 million. Funding partners were BPA, WA-DOE, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), WA-State Conservation Commission and GFID #13.

Fun Facts: WWCCD’s buffer program has resulted in over 170 contracts on approximately 3,300 acres and 200 miles of streambanks. On these sites, approximately 1.6 million native trees and shrubs have been planted. The meter program has installed over 400 meters to date and the screening program has put in more than 350 screens. Our piping projects have eliminated over 34 miles of inefficient delivery ditches with pipeline conveyance.