2015 - 10

South Yakima CD Tour Highlights New Technologies and Continued Partnerships

by Bobbi Lindemulder

I recently had the pleasure of attending the WA Conservation Commission’s September tour and meeting in South Yakima CD as your WADE Vice President. I went expecting to see your basic dairy tour, some hops, and possibly a vineyard. What I ended up with was a whole new appreciation for the stunning variety in districts across our state.

The networking, discussions, frustrations, technology, and passion that everyone had for the districts, our desire to come up with solutions, and the willingness of all the great folks who allow us out to their operations was so rewarding. In this article, I want to share the highlights of the tour and give kudos to South Yakima CD for their effort. I also want to express my appreciation to all the volunteer members who serve for us.

The first stop was at a 65-acre hop yard where South Yakima CD used WSCC Implementation funding to help a grower convert from rill irrigation to drip irrigation.

Next, we visited an indoor feed mixing facility that was built to save energy and fuel, reduce equipment maintenance, decrease feed loss, and improve air quality. It was state-of-the-art and completely impressive! This landowner has already realized the cost benefit of implementing his project, which also addressed the issue of dust from mixing. With everything in one place and efficient, he obviously made the right move.

The third stop on the tour was of an Organix composting yard. Russ Davis, President of Organix, Inc. specializes in taking agricultural and municipal wastes and turning them into valuable, revenue-generating soil amendments through composting. This was a very cool setup (aerated model) that used solids from a dairy digester and turned them into a very peat-like consistency…..it was an awesome product and I think a very viable option for many of us.

We then visited the George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy Digester, which is the largest of eight dairy digesters operating in Washington. They are continually working to remove more nutrients from the digested manure, and they also produce pipeline-quality natural gas. This looked like a major juggling act on a very large scale. It was very impressive to see the effort this dairy has put into achieving its goals.

The fifth stop was at a dairy facility that has installed pond liners. They have 60-mil HDPE liners in their two large ponds and two slurry/settling ponds. For easy cleaning, the two settling ponds have 8-inch thick, curbed concrete slabs that run the entire length. These lined ponds exceed NRCS standards but will not meet DOE’s specifications, according to the requirements of the new draft CAFO permit. There was great discussion about this, though it was definitely not an issue that was going to be solved on that day. However, I must commend the farmer on his willingness to undertake the expense of those ponds.

Our last stop was a demonstration of South Yakima CD’s 10-foot Great Plains No-Till Drill, purchased in the spring of 2014. The drill row spacing is 7 ½” and it is capable of planting three different seed types (small seeds, native grass seeds, and regular seeds) at one time. The drill rents for $15/acre plus a $200 refundable deposit.

South Yakima CD put together a great tour, and I was so appreciative to be a part of it. I would encourage anyone to attend these tours if they are able. I personally have not spent much time in the Yakima area (though I was actually born there), but I was impressed with the variety of crops and programs.

Cultural Resources

New Cultural Resources Webinar and Form Posted

A copy of the Puget Sound Districts' cultural resources webinar from September 10 is now posted on the WSCC website’s Cultural Resources Page under the “Webinars and Training's” tab. The Puget Sound districts had several questions that we addressed concerning Cultural Resource Field surveys, the WSCC exemptions for districts, and training. We also discussed Cultural Resource Reviews as part of a district’s risk management and ways that the risk could be reduced.

A new form has also been posted which will help to reduce risks for districts and for our land-owners. It is posted on the Cultural Resources web page under the “Reference Materials” tab and titled “UDP Handout for Landowner.” This one-page handout could be given to a land-owner to keep on the project site, so if any cultural resource should be discovered, the owner, contractor, or worker knows what to do and what NOT to do; doing the right thing protects the landowner and the district. In addition to this on-site, one-page handout, it is recommend that districts still have a full Unanticipated Discovery Plan (UDP) which would provide more complete guidance for the district staff in case something is discovered.

Nominations Open for TPDW Leadership Team

The TPDW is seeking nominations (self or other) for the TPDW Leadership Team. If you are interesting in participating in the TPDW and joining a great team of folks, please consider nominating yourself or an individual (with their permission, please). Nominations are open until October 31.

The following positions are open:

  • Chair - Lead meetings, uphold vision, and is the designated point of contact for TPDW.
  • Strategic Coordinators – Oversee the Work Plan tasks within area (see below), management task teams, carry out work items, and report to the Leadership Team at monthly meetings.
    • Employee Development - activities related to the direct enhancement of professional employee development
    • Communication and Outreach - activities related to outreach and communication of information to individuals and organizations
    • Technical Expertise and Support - activities related to the support and implementation of the technical expertise and resources of an individual or organization
    • Science and Planning - activities related to building District capacity in science and planning programs, addressing new and emerging issues, and creating frameworks for individuals and Districts to operate within

For more information on the TPDW and open positions, please review our Charter.

Submit your nominations HERE by October 31.

Grants and Funding Opportunities

WSDA has just release a call for proposals for their “Dairy Nutrient Management: Nutrient Application Training Project Grant Program”. The objective of the grant is “to implement a nutrient application training program for farmers that provides training in agronomic application of dairy nutrients”. This is a great opportunity to host an event for manure producers and/or users in your region!

The Whatcom CD and South Yakima CD piloted this program last year with great success and would be happy to assist other Districts that would like some guidance on hosting a training event in their region. For more information, feel free to contact Nichole Embertson at Whatcom CD: (360) 526-2381 x 126.

Find more information and a copy of the grant proposal at: http://agr.wa.gov/News/2015/15-30.aspx

FAQs and Fun Facts

Did you know that there are five different species of Pacific NW salmon and only one Atlantic species? Salmon are anadromous, which means most types of salmon are born in fresh water, migrate to the sea much of their lives years (1-8 years depending on species), and return to freshwater to reproduce, or "spawn." Once salmon enter fresh water, they do not eat while migrating upstream and some will travel up to 3,500 miles before spawning! Once they spawn, most species will die within a couple weeks (a few species will spawn 2-3 times). There are even a few species of salmon, such as the kokanee that live their entire lives in freshwater. How many species of salmon can you name (be careful: each species has two different names)?

Getting to Know You: District Highlight

Upcoming Training Events

Remember to check the Training Calendar regularly for upcoming training events, webinars, and other great chances to increase your professional development.

Also, if you have a training event that you are considering putting on in your region, let us know ahead of time so that we can post it on our website and help you get the word out.

Training Events Update

Greetings friends and colleagues,

Another month has come and gone, and TPDW is still working to coordinate training events that CD employees can access and will find valuable and germane to the natural resources conservation world work that you all do so well.

One example of this is the GIS training events coordinated between Peirce CD and Whatcom CD, with TPDW and WSCC support. Andrew Phay will conduct this workshop series. This series of workshops will be held in January/February (exact dates TBD). The first workshop will be hosted by Peirce CD, and another 2 workshops are planned with TPDW support.

This brings us to another subject of interest; if you or your district has an idea or a need for training, or if you wish to hold a workshop yourself, you can coordinate this through the TPDW. We can give your group or District assistance with getting the word out and scheduling, keeping track of the attendance roster, and even possibly some financial support. Additionally, this will enable us to track training received by staff so that experience and education is in each individuals file if you so desire. This will help toward certification and credentialing.

In the very near future we will be developing a form and process for accomplishing that, outlining the criteria for training events, the process for tracking those events, and crediting those individuals receiving training. There will be a form for the purpose on the website.

Until that is up and running, we hope that you coordinate through the TPDW so that we can give whatever assistance we can.

Contact us through the website, or contact James Weatherford directly: 360.754.3588 ext 138/360.304.9714 or email jweatherford@thurstoncd.com.