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Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what's driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

The Herald: District receives grant to combat invasive species
By Candy Neal

“It’s kind of that level up from a weed. It’s not just that it’s unwanted,” said Emily Finch, invasive species specialist for the the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District. “They aggressively spread and invade because they’re not native to our area.”

USDA-NRCS: New Rule Improves Partner Flexibility in Regional Conservation Partnership Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final rule offsite link image for its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The rule updates USDA’s partner-driven program as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill and integrates feedback from agricultural producers and others.

SCIENMAG: Soil Degradation Costs U.S. Corn Farmers A Half-Billion Dollars Every Year

One-third of the fertilizer applied to grow corn in the U.S. each year simply compensates for the ongoing loss of soil fertility, leading to more than a half-billion dollars in extra costs to U.S. farmers every year, finds new research from the University of Colorado Boulder published last month in Earth’s Future.

Springer: Monitoring wetland water quality related to livestock grazing in amphibian habitats

Land use alteration such as livestock grazing can affect water quality in habitats of at-risk wildlife species. Data from managed wetlands are needed to understand levels of exposure for aquatic life stages and monitor grazing-related changes afield.

University of Wyoming: UW Researchers Find Wildfire Smoke is More Cooling on Climate Than Computer Models Assume

A study of biomass burning aerosols led by University of Wyoming researchers revealed that smoke from wildfires has more of a cooling effect on the atmosphere than computer models assume.

Associated Press: Sage grouse review done, but scant time for Trump’s changes
By Matthew Brown

The Trump administration has completed a review of plans to ease protections for a struggling bird species in seven states in the U.S. West, but there’s little time to put the relaxed rules for industry into action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The Guardian: A river used to run through it: how New Mexico handles a dwindling Rio Grande
By Di Minardi

A finite amount of water flows through the Rio Grande every year, so when there are shortages, every city along the river is affected. Due to climate change, hotter and drier seasons are reducing the snowpack that melts to feed the Rio Grande, and rising temperatures are increasing evaporation from the reservoirs. Because of this, the river has had just seven years with a “full supply” of water in the past 20, and only two in the past decade.

Civil Eats: Why Aren’t USDA Conservation Programs Paying Farmers More to Improve Their Soil?
By Virginia Gewin

Soil health is crucial to fighting climate change, but a new study finds that funding to support it in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is lacking.

The Spokesman-Review: Field reports: DNR commissioner to unveil forest health bill

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) [joined] experts and advocacy leaders from across the state Tuesday for a virtual event to unveil a bill that would create a dedicated funding source for wildfire response, forest restoration and community resilience strategies.

Big Country News: US Department of Interior Seeks to Increase Broadband Access, Reduce Wildfire Hazards Across Rural Communities
By Sarv Mithaqiyan

On Monday, January 11, the Department of the Interior announced three new actions by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to aggressively increase broadband internet access in rural communities and reduce wildfire risks.

Monash University: It's a gas: How soil feeds on the air that we breathe
By Chris Greening

New research led by Associate Professor Chris Greening from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has found that more than 70 percent of soil bacteria feed on the hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane in the air we breathe. It was previously believed that only one percent of soil bacteria were active in this way.

Morning AgClips: Soil health case studies share farmer experiences
By Michael Doyle

“As these successful farm management practices become more common, stories like these provide the inspiration farmers need to develop an optimistic view of their own farm futures,” said Theresa Keaveny, executive director of SFA.

ScienceDaily: No-till practices in vulnerable areas significantly reduce soil erosion

Soil erosion is a major challenge in agricultural production. It affects soil quality and carries nutrient sediments that pollute waterways. While soil erosion is a naturally occurring process, agricultural activities such as conventional tilling exacerbate it. Farmers implementing no-till practices can significantly reduce soil erosion rates, a new study shows.

USDA-NRCS: USDA Invests $11.65 Million to Control Destructive Feral Swine

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $11.65 million in 14 projects to help agricultural producers and private landowners trap and control feral swine as part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. This investment expands the pilot program to new projects in Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

E&E News: Republicans revive bill to keep gray wolves off ESA list
By Michael Doyle

(Subscriber Only) A long-running political fray over the gray wolf now has a new combatant, with a House freshman's introduction of a bill to deny the animal Endangered Species Act protections.

AL.com: Auburn researchers study feral hog damage in Alabama
By Dennis Pillion

Professors and graduate students at Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences secured a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove hogs as well as monitor and prevent the damage that hogs do in Alabama, and show which strategies for hog control are most effective.

YubaNet.com: UC ANR releases new publication that synthesizes scientific knowledge on annual rangeland

Decades of research-based knowledge about the history, physical characteristics and vegetation in California annual grassland, oak-woodland and chaparral ecosystems has been consolidated in a new nine-part PDF document.

E&E News: 'Small, scrappy bird' is heralded as ESA success story
By Michael Doyle

(Subscriber Only) The interior least tern made the most of the Endangered Species Act and thereby dodged an extinction threat, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Arizona Public Media: When wildfire burns a high mountain forest, what happens to the snow?
By Luke Runyon

Record-breaking wildfires in 2020 turned huge swaths of Western forests into barren burn scars. Those forests store winter snowpack that millions of people rely on for drinking and irrigation water. But with such large and wide-reaching fires, the science on the short-term and long-term effects to the region’s water supplies isn’t well understood.

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