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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 NACD Communications Manager Sara Kangas.

NACD Blog: San Antonio’s Mission Reach urban ecosystem restoration provides many benefits
By Candice Abinanti

During the 73rd NACD Annual Meeting, the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) partnered with the San Antonio River Authority to provide a tour that showed over 40 participants how both gray and green infrastructure along the San Antonio River help protect the city from floods and provide additional benefits.

Agri-Pulse: Conservation districts cultivating their urban profile
By Ed Maixner

The urban side of soil and water conservation is becoming a major player at the National Association of Conservation Districts' annual conventions. In fact, urban agriculture’s expanding profile among America’s 3,000 conservation districts was clear when the NACD gathered in San Antonio this week.

Forbes: Land O'Lakes Launches Software Platform To Help Farmers Boost Sustainability
By Jenny Splitter

Truterra works by pulling in data from a number of public sources to create what Weller calls “the mother of all environmental databases.” From there, the program asks the farmer a number of questions, digging into the nitty gritty of the farm’s agricultural practices, everything from nutrient application to water irrigation to cover cropping. Once the analysis is complete, the program provides the farmer with a number of recommendations designed to increase the farm’s sustainability.

The Washington Post: Wildfires, hurricanes and other extreme weather cost the nation 247 lives, nearly $100 billion in damage during 2018
By Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney

NOAA said 14 separate weather and climate disasters, costing at least $1 billion each, hit the United States during 2018. The disasters killed at least 247 people and cost the nation an estimated $91 billion. The bulk of that damage, about $73 billion, was attributable to three events: Hurricanes Michael and Florence and the collection of wildfires that raged across the West.

The Guardian: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'
By Damian Carrington

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Nebraska Farmer: Investing in soil health pays off
By Tyler Harris

When most people talk about the possibilities for improving organic matter through no-till and cover cropping, they usually talk about an increase of 1% or 2% at most, depending on the time frame. However, on a 4.5-acre field on Del Ficke's farm west of Lincoln, Neb., the organic matter rose from 2.6% to a whopping 6.9% over the course of 10 years, with an infiltration rate of 13 inches per hour.

High Country News: As shutdown ends, rural Washington considers life without feds
By Carl Segerstrom

A program pioneered in the Colville National Forest that started in 2013, dubbed the “A to Z” project, allowed the local timber company, Vaagen Brothers Lumber, to hire outside contractors to develop timber harvest plans, making the Colville ground zero for privatizing land planning in federal forests.

The Salem News Online: More than 9,300 feral hogs eliminated from Missouri in 2018

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has tallied up feral hog elimination numbers from January through December 2018. The final number is 9,365 feral hogs removed from the state’s landscape by MDC, partner agencies, and private landowners. In 2017, 6,561 feral hogs were removed.

Mt. Shasta News: Conservation easement to protect Black Butte Working Forest

More than 5,000 acres of forest surrounding Black Butte has been permanently protected, thanks to a conservation easement. The easement conserves 5,006 acres of productive timberland on the north and east sides of Black Butte and helps reduce wildfire risks to the cities of Mount Shasta and Weed.

Los Angeles Times: Navajo shepherds cling to centuries-old tradition in a land where it refuses to rain
By David Kelly

A brutal drought gripping the Southwest is hitting New Mexico and the Navajo Nation reservation especially hard, threatening traditional shepherds and a pastoral way of life going back generations.

Agri-Pulse: Bernhardt tapped by Trump to head Interior
By Steve Davies

President Donald Trump says he plans to nominate acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to lead the agency. Bernhardt was confirmed as deputy secretary of the department by the Senate, 56-39, and began serving in his position Aug. 1, 2017. He then became acting secretary in January after then-Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned Dec. 15.

Agri-Pulse: EPA pushing water quality trading to address nutrients
By Steve Davies

The Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging states to develop water quality trading programs to tackle nutrient pollution, which has become an increasingly visible issue in farm country.

The Fence Post: Should agriculture be involved in watershed planning?
By Phil Brink

The collaboration that goes into developing a watershed plan better positions local water users to effectively deal with increased demand in the face of diminished water availability. Watershed planning and implementation can bring many benefits to agriculture.

The Mercury News: California’s ‘dry farmers’ grow crops without irrigation
By Priyanka Runwal

While unfamiliar to many consumers, dry farming is an age-old practice that entails carefully managing soils to lock winter rainfall into the top layers until it’s time to begin growing crops during the spring and summer.

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