Farm Bill Program Implementation
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Deputy Chief Jimmy Bramblett gave an overview of how the 2018 Farm Bill is affecting NRCS’ conservation programs, as well as the timeline for input and implementation.
Building the Capacity and Coordination to Market Conservation Districts
Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC)’s Communications Coordinator
Laura Johnson and NACD Board Member
Doug Rushton gave an overview of the living marketing toolkit created by the SCC for conservation districts. Through their work, they have created templates, a branding kit, talking points and more to help the 45 districts in the state champion their collective mission.
Local Work Group Training – Powering Up Your Local Work Group; Conservation Application Ranking Tool (CART)
Ray Ledgerwood and
Aaron Lauster led a session on how to re-energize Local Work Groups (LWG) in order for participants to provide input on USDA and state conservation Programs. Participants also learned more about the NRCS Conservation Application Ranking Tool (CART) application.
Invasive Species: Education to Eradication (Eventually) and Western Governors’ Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative: Outcomes and Next Steps
Otero SWCD’s Victoria Milne and
Western Governors Association’s Bill Witacre led a session on how to identify and develop an invasive species program, starting with a summary and discussion of the Western Governors Association’s Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative and the resulting policy. Participants then learned how to put the plan to action.
Watershed Restoration on the Canadian River
New Mexico State Representative
Jack Chatfield discussed the chemical treatment of salt cedar, an invasive species that is spreading rapidly across the Southwest.
Riparian Restoration on the Rio Grande
Nyleen Troxel Stowe and
Will Kolbenschlag from the
Socorro SWCD introduced the Canadian River Riparian Restoration Project, which began in 2004 with 21 state and federal agencies involved, and is organized around the eight SWCDs that make up the Canadian River Watershed. Since then, it has established a monitoring program, mapped over 880,000 acres of riparian areas, and treated over 33,000 acres of salt cedar.
Life is Better in the Shade: Preventing Water Loss in Your Stock Tank
Through a cost-share program,
Roosevelt SWCD in Portales, N.M. has been conducting research using “shade balls” on livestock water tanks since 2015. Roosevelt SWCD’s
Mike Cone discussed how the district has found measurable decreases in algae, debris, weeds, ice formation, and most importantly - water evaporation.
Sierra SWCD Cost Share Program: Helping People Help the Land
Soil and water conservation districts work in many ways to assist private landowners.
Sierra SWCD’s Travis Day led the session by describing the district’s cost-share program aimed to help landowners implement conservation, from fencing to ditches to erosion control and livestock water facilities; household programs like low flow toilets; and grade stabilization.
Pecos Watershed Initiative
Retired New Mexico Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Director Jesse Juan and
Norman Vigil discussed the challenge of landscape-scale conservation when it comes to covering various land ownership statuses such as BLM, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, state and private.
Vigil described the Pecos Watershed Initiative, which collected data farmer by farmer to determine treatments to regrow grasslands and eradicate invasive species.
Implementing the Alternative Funding Arrangement at the Local Level
Marcos Valdez led the session by discussing the benefits of using the alternative funding agreement (AFA) with NRCS, as well as introducing the RCPP program, which granted $3.2 million to build resiliency in Rio Chama/San Juan Watershed. Over 19 partners contributed, totaling $13.4 million. Valdez explained how through match-funding and partnership building, large-scale conservation can be achieved.
Engaging Youth in Urban Agriculture and Environmental Education
Valencia SWCD’s Allison Martin led the session by discussing how the district engages local youth by taking them to the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, a 97-acre conservation area, allowing local students to learn about the nature around them. From January-May 2019, over 1,500 students visited from 20 local school grades K-12. “We’re trying to enforce using outdoor spaces as classrooms,”
Urban Ag Demo and Backyard Farms
Dona Ana SWCD’s Jennifer Kleitz and Backyard Farms’
Rachel Ryan led the session by introducing the urban ag demo program, a result of an NACD Urban Ag Grant, which creates a space for underserved populations to learn how to grow their own food.
Empowering Youth Through Conservation Education and New Mexico Envirothon
San Juan SWCD’s Melissa May and
Andy Bleckinger and
Taos SWCD’s Peter Vigil led the session by describing how their two districts teach future generations about conservation. Vigil introduced the New Mexico Envirothon and its mission to instill a passion for conservation in young leaders.
Forest Management and Why it is Important
Retired New Mexico State Forester
Anthony Delfin discussed how forest management impacts communities in many ways, where forests provide water, wood, recreation and habitat for wildlife.
Woodland Thinning Partners on Private Land
East Torrance SWCD’s Ken Leiting discussed the vastness of New Mexico’s partnerships due to the numerous land ownership statuses throughout the state. Leiting introduced the Estancia Basin Watersheld Health, Restoration and Monitoring Project, which was founded in 2002 and sought to maintain the health and vigor of forests, protect wildlife and improve the productivity and health of the watershed.
Next Generation Leadership Institute
The Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) is a new program of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF).
Ray Ledgerwood and
Patricia Lardie led the session by describing the program and how it prepares conservation leaders to protect the future of our natural resources.
Sustainable Soil Systems
Linda Scheffe kicked off the session by defining healthy soil as a complex and multifaceted term, that is in a constant state of change. Sustainable soil systems provide ecological function for the whole farm and watershed, where methods include minimizing or eliminating tillage, maintaining ground cover year-round by using cover crops and mulches, and rotational grazing.
Brenda Simpson utilized a rainfall simulator to demonstrate five soil systems and how they’re interrelated, as well as the symbiotic relationship between the plants and the soils. “Soil diversity is inevitable, but you can prepare for it,”