Soil and Water Quality Field Day

Janette Lesher of NRCS and Ryan Cherwinski of NCCD discuss the importance of cover cropping and soil health.

By: Judy Becker, District Manager, Northumberland County Conservation District

The Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Schuylkill Conservation District held a joint Soil and Water Quality Field Day on August 29, 2018, at the Agricultural Research Service Lab in Klingerstown, PA. The meeting was free for attendees.

The Field Day was offered in two sessions. Session 1 covered new information about the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Session 2 covered important research that occurred in the Mahantongo Creek Watershed. Attendees had the option to sign up for one session or both.

Topics for both sessions were provided by representatives of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Pheasants Forever, the ARS Lab, The Pennsylvania State University, NRCS, NCCD, and the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance. Time was also provided for questions during both sessions. Approximately 100 people were in attendance. The meeting was paid for by the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program and grant funding that was available from the Schuylkill Conservation District.

Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

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Butler Completes Storm Drain Stenciling and Marker Program

Photo of stencil provided by Butler County Conservation District.

During the 2017-18 round of the Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grant Program, Butler County Conservation District (BCCD) received a $1,913 grant for stormwater education.

BCCD produced and distributed storm drain educational brochures and stenciled storm drains in three housing developments in Buffalo Township. Working with the homeowners associations, the district held an event where homeowners and family members helped with the storm drain stenciling. Educational brochures were also distributed to these neighborhoods.

BCCD also marked 30 storm drains on Main Street in Saxonburg where many events are held each year. The project increased the community’s knowledge about nonpoint source pollution and the steps they can take to reduce it.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

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Closing the Deal – Free Workshop in Lancaster for Conservation District Staff

Learn the tricks of the trade from the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s most successful conservation field people. If you want rural landowners to say “yes” to voluntary conservation practices and easements, this course is for you.

PACD is co-hosting a free workshop on Thursday, December 13, 2018, from 10 am – 3 pm. The event will take place at the Farm and Home Center (Multipurpose Room), 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This workshop is designed for early-to-mid-career field outreach staff at soil conservation districts, land trusts—anyone working directly with landowners to help implement voluntary conservation practices on farm and forest lands. The training explores the demographics and decision-making of rural landowners, and perceived benefits of, and barriers to conservation practices and easements. Field staff will learn how to cultivate and maintain stronger relationships with landowners to help them reach a decision to pursue conservation on their property. The workshop includes three 90-minute blocks of information and interactive learning, plus a working lunch. Workshop content is based in part on surveys and focus groups of conservation field staff identified by their peers as being especially effective at working with farm and forest landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices.

This training is co-hosted by the Land Trust Alliance, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA), and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts. We are grateful for the project support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund’s Technical Capacity Grants program, funded in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as funding from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

Click here for the event flyer or contact Jennifer Miller Herzog, Land Trust Alliance, jmillerherzog@lta.org, 406-580-6410. Registration is free, but required

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PACD Moving Update

Renovations are underway at the new PACD office.

The PACD office has been busy with moving preparations! The office is scheduled to move from downtown Harrisburg to a condo seven miles east of downtown on November 9. The condo is currently being painted and small renovations are underway. 

“Staff continue to pack up the old office and prepare to move into the new office. I am pleased with the progress we are making. We are on track to make the move on November 9,” said Brenda Shambaugh, PACD Executive Director.

The new office address and phone extensions will be sent to PACD members via listserves and the weekly e-newsletter once the move is complete. Email addresses, the fax number, and general office phone number will remain the same. Only the individual employee’s phone extensions will change.

 

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All Bay Meeting Moving to New Location

Please save the date for the 2019 Chesapeake Bay Program Conservation District and PA Agency Staff Meeting. The meeting will be held March 11, 2019 (snow date March 13). The meeting will be held at a new location: Susquehanna University’s Degenstein Center Theater in Selinsgrove, PA. Staff from PA state agencies, USDA-NRCS, conservation districts, and other organizations working within the Chesapeake Bay are invited to attend.

The meeting is sponsored annually by the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

Questions? Contact Amy Salansky at asalansky@pacd.org.

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Conservation District Watershed Specialists Convene in State College

Over 80 attendees, including 67 watershed specialists, participated in the 18th Annual Conservation District Watershed Specialist Meeting at Toftrees Golf Resort in State College, PA, October 9-11, 2018.

The first day provided an orientation for newer staff, with the full group in attendance for the rest of the conference. The event offered hands-on workshops, including: computer modeling software to help improve water quality, macroinvertebrate identification with staff from Stroud Water Research Center, and PAOneStop. Presentation topics included invasive species, grant-writing and the bidding process, and partnering with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to implement best management practices. PACD coordinates this annual meeting through a grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

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PACD Listserves Connect Districts – Are You Subscribed?

Did you know there is a PACD listserve for every PACD member? They are free to join and use. Conservation district directors, associate directors, and staff can all take advantage of this service for members. Listserve members can communicate with counterparts across the state in a single e-mail, and receive announcements and information relevant to their job duties.

PACD currently offers listserves for the following individuals:

  • agricultural technicians
  • erosion and sedimentation technicians
  • administrative support staff
  • managers
  • directors and associate directors
  • watershed specialists
  • dirt, gravel, and low volume road specialists
  • environmental educators
  • mosquito-borne disease control technicians

Interested? Contact Molly Burns at mburns@pacd.org to subscribe.

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Elk County Conservation District Holds Successful Agriculture Tour with Unique Twist

Hops at Hoffman Appalachian Farm. Photo provided by ECCD.

By Kelsey Kilhoffer, Resource Conservation Technician, Elk County Conservation District

On August 14, 2018, the Elk County Conservation District (ECCD) held a successful Agriculture Bus Tour. Twenty-six attendees toured Hoffman Appalachian Farm, Straub Brewery, and Chocolate Drop Farm, all located in St. Marys, PA.

At Hoffman Appalachian Farm, owner Joshua Brock gave a tour of his hop farm and explained the hop growing process. Brock plans to implement a solar powered irrigation system that utilizes the capture and reuse of rain water. The tour continued at Straub Brewery where George Hasselman gave a very informative overview of the facility’s history and brewing process. The tour wrapped up at Chocolate Drop Farm, owned by John and Sylvia Straub. They feed the spent grain from Straub’s brewing process to their 17 Hereford beef cattle. They also practice rotational grazing. This has greatly minimized any heavy use areas on their property, reducing nutrient runoff. It was fascinating to see the process from beginning to end. From the growing of the crops, to production, to use of the spent grains, each phase was uniquely interesting.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Click here to read the entire article. 

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