2016 - 04

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New Cultural Resource Exemptions Available

Conservation Districts now have a second set of Conservation Practices that may be considered for exemption from a Cultural Resource Review. Be aware that this second set of conditional exemptions requires a professional archeologist to determine if your practice, as applied, meets the exemption criteria shown at the beginning of the list of practices. Based upon a professional archeologist’s written comments, a District may decide whether or not to use the exemption if it is recommended.

This new WSCC set of exemptions is the same as Washington State NRCS’s 2015 “Prototype Programmatic Agreement” list of conservation practices that need reviewed, but has a different review process.

The “Archeologist Exempted Feb2016 DAHP Approval Letter” and the “ Archeologists Exempted Practice List -Feb2016” of exempted practices are posted on the WSCC Cultural Resource website under the reference tab.

If you have questions, contact Larry Brewer at (360) 701-7859.

Gardening with a Purpose

Top Five Ways to Put the Rain to Work in Your Yard

By Stacy Aleksich, Snohomish CD LID Specialist / reprinted with permission from Winter 2012 NEXUS

While rain gardens may not be for everyone (or every yard), there are a lot of other great ways to beautify your landscape, reduce your maintenance and costs, and put the rain to work in your yard! Bog gardens, rain barrels, amending your soil, filter strips, terraces, buffers, berms, splash blocks, layered plantings, permeable path-ways.. . the list goes on.

Why Bother with the Rain?

Putting the rain to work on your property will lead to healthier, more beautiful plants and lawn, and a landscape that is easier to care for. Many practices encourage reducing or replacing your lawn, therefore giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your yard.

By managing rain where it falls, you are also protecting our local streams and Puget Sound. When rain runoff leaves your property it makes its way to the nearest waterway. This rain picks up pollutants along the way and carries them downstream, eventually to Puget Sound. Slowing the rainfall and putting it to use in your yard cuts pollution and mimics nature.

Top Five Tips

Here are our top five simple, relatively inexpensive ideas to help you and your yard and protect our special Northwest environment:

#1 Use Splash Blocks – Redirect your downspout to a splash block so the water runs downslope and away from your foundation. Make sure the block empties onto your lawn or into a planting bed, where rain water can be best absorbed and used. (Don’t let water pool next to your foundation.)

#2 Collect Rain Water – Save rain water for the summer when we need it most! Rain barrels fill up quickly, so consider installing two or three, and be sure to direct the overflow away from your foundation. Better yet, get a cistern (shown below right) or tank – they come in all shapes and sizes. Have you seen our new brochure on rain water collection? Check it out on the Publications page of our website www.snohomishcd.org.

#3 Add Plant Buffers – Slow the rain down once it’s hit the ground, and put it to use before it runs down the storm drain, or down the road. Planting small shrubs and perennial plants along the edges of your yard will enhance your landscape, increase your property value and capture some of that rain, allowing it to soak into the ground.

#4 Amend Your Soil – For better grass and less summer watering, add a layer of compost to your lawn (1/4 inch) and planted areas (1 - 2 inches). This will help your soil absorb and hold rainfall, leading to a healthier lawn and plantings, and reduce your water bill and need for fertilizers. Do this annually in the late spring/early summer (May) or as needed.

#5 Layer Your Plants – “Layering” your landscape means you put the tallest plants in the back of your planted area, the shortest in the front, and mix other heights in between. Besides creating interest in your garden, this provides great habitat for wildlife, and also catches rain drops so they don’t become runoff. The extra shade also helps your soil hold moisture during our dry summers.

Training Events

Greetings from the Training folks!

The Conservation Planning Certification (Basic Planner 3) courses the weeks of May 9th and 23rd in Ellensburg are on track and on schedule. Both of these sessions will be packed as we have over 30 attendees on the list from CD’s, plus attendees from NRCS and WDFW. We even have a county planner from Whatcom planning to attend. Please be sure to complete ALL the prerequisites and submit your proof of completion.

The CNMP Planning Certification course is also on track for the week of April 11th. Again, prerequisites have been added since the first list was distributed, so be sure to get your proof of completion for these courses submitted and make your room reservations.

Check the webpage for more details on prerequisites for both courses above.

The Riparian and Instream Planning Considerations Course is also moving forward, with the Westside session being planned for the week of August 8th in Olympia, WA (tentative). We are now back to planning for two Riparian course sessions, with the Eastside session planning to come.

Additionally, look for new GIS Training events upcoming on the TPDW website on the Upcoming Training page.

This is an historic year for Conservation Districts and NRCS in Washington State. I am looking forward to seeing all of you in training and working on a training plan in the coming months.

James Weatherford

Getting to Know You: District Highlight

District Name: Cascadia Conservation District

District Size: 2,994 sq. mi. All of Chelan County, except for the incorporated cities of Wenatchee and Chelan.

District Population: 74,588 (2014 census)

Number of Employees: 11 permanent, plus an annual AmeriCorps intern

Main Programs:

Education and Outreach:

Cascadia’s Quarterly Newsletter – The Conservation Quarterly, keeps citizens updated on our current programs and opportunities. Look for Cascadia at community events, like: the Chelan County Fair, Earth Day Fairs in Leavenworth, Chelan and Entiat, Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, Ardenvoir Swallow Fest, Entiat Summer Fest, Entiat Kitefest, river cleanups, and public meetings/open houses. Cascadia hosts several education and community improvement programs, such as: the Kids in the Creek- outdoor environmental education program, Native Planting 101 Workshop, and the Chelan County Clean Water Campaign. Cascadia also maintains a website, Facebook page, and blog to connect with citizens through digital media.

Landowner Assistance:

Cascadia administers a number of programs that are designed to help landowners ensure that their land remains healthy and productive for years to come. Programs include: riparian restoration, pasture management, soil testing, fuels reduction, irrigation upgrades, erosion control, and more!

Stream Habitat Restoration:

Many streams and rivers in Chelan County are home to threatened and endangered salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations that require specific aquatic habitat conditions to support them during different life stages. Cascadia works to restore instream habitat in the Wenatchee and Entiat watersheds to provide salmon, steelhead, and bull trout with the necessary conditions to live and thrive. Trout and other wildlife benefit from projects in the Lake Chelan Basin as well as Squilchuck and Colockum Creeks.

Watershed Planning:

Watershed plans are developed by planning units composed of representatives from the public and private sectors and are required to address water quantity issues. Cascadia is the lead agency for the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 46 Entiat River watershed planning effort. The Entiat Watershed Planning Unit (EWPU) is recognized for developing cooperative, proactive solutions to natural resource issues. Cascadia also participates in WRIA 45 Wenatchee River watershed planning unit and subcommittee meetings as well as implementing restoration projects in the Wenatchee Watershed.

Wildfire Preparedness:

Although fire is important to natural eco-systems, the threat that wildfire poses to property, infrastructure, human life and the local economy can be devastating. It is important for residents of fire-prone areas to take appropriate actions to protect themselves and their community before a wildfire starts. Cascadia offers free wildfire risk assessments for residences, funding for fuels reduction work, and support for communities seeking national Firewise Communities/USA recognition.

Project/Program Most Proud of: We are very proud of our Firewise program. We annually host one or two chipping programs that treat 80-100 acres each. We conduct 100+ home fire risk assessments annually. We currently have seven established Firewise communities in Chelan County and are working with 12 more this year to get them through the Firewise recognition process. We are in the process of securing funding to implement landscape-scale fuels treatments and continue to provide cost share as it becomes available for forest health projects, including thinning and fuels reduction.

Fun Facts:

Chelan County:

  • Has four watersheds

  • 73 square miles of major rivers and streams

  • Is 80% public land and 20% private land

  • Has three federally protected fish species – spring Chinook, steelhead trout, and bull trout

Grant Opportunity

The national NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) is open for proposals! This is a great opportunity for Conservation Districts to conduct demonstration, research, and effectiveness monitoring projects for evaluation of current conservation practices, or to discover new farming methods and ideas. In fact, three Districts in Washington have received CIG’s in the past few years! You could be next! Proposals are due May 10, 2016 to NRCS. Click HERE for more details and application materials.

Think about partnering with multiple Districts and/or staff to come up with a great project. If you need help getting the proposal together, finding partners, or with ideas, contact the state research coordinator through the TPDW at: research@tpdw.org. Best of luck!