2015 - 09

New Ecology CAFO Permit Draft Released

The Department of Ecology has released a first draft of the new CAFO permit (final expected sometime around December/January). This is important for all Districts that have livestock operations in their county, particularly operations with some type of manure/waste storage lagoon.

This is because the new permit has language in it that makes it mandatory for all CAFOs with a lagoon to go under permit. Specifically: “Ecology has determined that if the CAFO has a lagoon that does not have a double geomembrane liner with a leak detection system between the liner layers that it is discharging to groundwater.” (page 5, Preliminary Draft 08/03/2015). Therefore, by assumption, all facilities with lagoons are discharging pollutants to groundwater and thus required to apply for the CAFO permit. Unfortunately, this statement operates under the “guilty until proven innocent” principle, and is challenging NRCS design standards for lagoons.

Additional parameters in the current permit language dictate mandatory: vegetative buffer and/or setback distances, three foot soil sampling, mapping of all field infrastructure (i.e., tile lines, pipes, etc.), submission of current lagoon engineering specs, and more. Additionally, the permit is outlining the specifics of nutrient management and recording keeping protocols that may be contrary to current guidance. All of this could mean changes for District work load and operation that you should be aware of and prepared for.

It is highly recommended that if this permit applies to operations in your area, you review the new permit and make comments if appropriate by the September 18 deadline.

Click HERE to view CAFO Draft Permit

Click HERE for more information

It is yet uncertain what impact this will have on District planning for Dairy Nutrient Management Plans, CAFO plans, and other permitted livestock operations. The TPDW Planning group will keep you updated as necessary and help Districts adapt to changes down the road.

Cultural Resource Exemptions Available

WSCC has just received a list of conservation practices and activities from the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) that can be exempted from a Cultural Resource Review.

The approved exemption list and cover letter can be found on the WSCC cultural resource website under the references tab.

When using these exemptions please take note of the narratives describing the conditions of the specific exemption and the description of the practice or activity to see that it applies to the specific practice or activity being considered for an exemption.

Also be aware that even when implementing exempted cost shared practices, all per-sons involved with the implementation should be on the lookout for Cultural Resources and should any be discovered, the protocol outlined in the District’s Unanticipated Discovery Plan (UDP) should be followed.

As always a District can and should go ahead and do a Cultural Resource Review and even an in-field Cultural resource survey even on an exempted practice, if it seems appropriate.

This is the first step in the Exemptions list work we are doing. WSCC’s next step is to seek approval for a list of conservation practices that can be considered for exemption based upon an Archeologist’s recommendation.

If you have questions you can email Larry Brewer at lbrewer@scc.wa.gov.

Planning Groups are Being Assembled

There is a recognized need for better uniformity and accessibility to tools and templates for all disciplines of planning across WA. This is largely in an effort to support planners, but also to make sure that our planning and processes are strong, defensible, and easily transferred from one District to the next. The TPDW is currently organizing the development of work groups for the different disciplines in an effort to get this going and we want YOU to be a part of it!

Goals of the effort:

1. Develop comprehensive planning groups to outline planning programs and define the various types and levels of District Conservation Planning with landowners; create templates for each of the plan types with consistent formatting and content; and create/support websites to access and support planning information.

2. Develop a list of program specific templates and tools for assessments and outreach to landowners that are needed by CDs that NRCS does not provide. Begin the collection and development of such templates and tools to share amongst districts.

3. Begin the development and maintenance of a clearing house of above information for ensuring that technical employees have convenient access to necessary tools for conducting site assessments and evaluations. Post on TPDW webpage by discipline.

Planning Groups currently being assembled:

  • Dairy

  • Small Farm/Acreage

  • Riparian

  • LID

  • Forestry (urban and rural)

  • Shoreline (marine and fresh)

  • Irrigation

Others under consideration:

  • Energy (urban and farm)

  • Fire Wise

  • Financial/Accounting

  • Water Quality Monitoring and Education

If you are interested, please let us know which group you would like to be involved in. We are currently gauging interest, so your nomination is preliminary and once you receive more information, you can decide at what level you want to participate/commit to.

If you would like to see a planning group formed that is not on the list, or you would like to be a part of one listed above, please let us know by clicking HERE or emailing planning@tpdw.org.

Upcoming Training Events

Improving Your ArcGIS Skills

When: January/February (exact date still TBD)

Location: TBD based on area interest

Cost: No registration fee

Instructor: Andrew Phay, IT Specialist, Whatcom CD

Level: Beginner and Intermediate

Description of the training: We will go over the steps to create site/farm plan maps for multiple types of projects in a hands-on training session. If you would like to learn how to create a site map in ArcMap using geodatabases and templates to make your data consistent throughout your organization, then this is the training for you.

Requirements: Must know basic ArcMap skills. If you don’t, you can go through the training manual “Getting to Know ArcGIS” (Amazon). Must have laptop with ArcGIS 10.2 installed.

If interested in this training, please apply HERE to help us gauge interest and choose training locations and times.

Training Updates

August has been a great month for TPDW training efforts!

We were pleased to be able to participate in the NRCS Employee Development Committee (EDC) and participate in development of the training calendar for NRCS/CD training events. CD’s will be hosting a couple of Core Curriculum courses in fiscal year 2016. The details (time, place, etc.) have not been worked out as yet, but please stay tuned for further updates.

We held 2 joint CD/NRCS training events centered on the Animal Waste Calculation and Forage Balance Worksheet tool. The first of these was hosted by King CD and facilitated by Bobbi Lindemulder from Snohomish CD. The second was held at the NRCS Field Office in Tumwater, WA and also facilitated by Snohomish.

We had initially planned for one session for this particular training event, but we had such a huge response (26 to be exact) it was necessary to hold at least one additional event. A training session such as this where a worksheet is being demonstrated and there is a significant amount of one-on-one instruction with the attendees, it is prudent to limit the class size. We limited it to 15 per class between NRCS and CD folks. I must say the vast majority of people attending we CD planners.

Marty Chaney, who is the NRCS Area Agronomist/West Area and a Range Specialist led the training. She also developed the worksheet, so there is no one more knowledgeable than she about this tool and how to best use it.

A big Thank You Marty!

We will be holding further session of this training on the east side, and possibly one more on the west side. The lessons learned from the first 2 sessions tells me we hadn’t ought to go at this like we’re killing snakes, so we are going to plan the next sessions a little further out. As soon as we can nail down some rough dates and places, we will be sending out a Doodle Polls to set some firm dates that hopefully work for everyone that is interested in receiving training on this tool. Look for those in the next 2 weeks. The polls will also be posted on the TPDW website.

Also, if anyone has a tool or worksheet they would like to have a training session on, please forward that to James Weatherford (JWeatherford@thurstoncd.com).

Getting to Know You: District Highlight

Spokane Conservation District

Website: www.sccd.org

District Size: 1.125 million acres

District Population: 484,000

No. of Employees: 15 full-time; 3 part-time; 2 interns; 2 summer high schoolers

Main Programs: State Revolving Fund (SRF) program for direct seed operations; On-site Septic System Replacement and Repair (OSS); Livestock and Land (L&L); Vets on the Farm

Fun Facts: Spokane was home to the World’s Fair in 1974 | Spokane hosts the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world | Spokane is the childhood home of Bing Crosby | Spokane is described as a hub of activity, wrapped in scenic beauty.

Key Partners: WSCC, WA RCO, WA DOE, PNDSA, NRCS, Spokane River Forum, Spokane County, City of Spokane, City of Liberty Lake, City of Spokane Valley, City of Millwood, Spokane County Farm Bureau.

Project/Program Most Proud of: Vets on the Farm - Our newest endeavor to serve our returning post 9/11 veterans as they transition back into civilian life and careers involving agriculture, livestock, and other conservation-related businesses.

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 re-posting this survey in hopes that we can increase response rate). 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

FAQs & Fun Facts

According to the EPA....

Your operation is an Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) if:

  • You confine animals for at least 45 days in a 12-month period, and

  • There's no grass or other vegetation in the confinement area during the normal growing season

Your operation is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) if:

CAFOs make up approximately 15% of total AFOs.

What's New on the Web Site?

Our website is constantly being improved and expanded with new information. Tune in regularly to see what we have posted and what opportunities are available.