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Conservation Clip List is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what's driving conservation. If you have a relevant submission, please contact your NACD Communications Team.

USDA earmarks $32M for 2017 conservation projects via Agri-Pulse

USDA is investing $32 million in new projects and in support of 26 projects already underway, all aimed at improving the health and resiliency of ecosystems where public forests and grasslands connect to privately-owned lands. Federal, state, and local partners will bring an additional $30 million through financial and in-kind contributions over three years to help implement the newly added projects. With this funding, Joint Chiefs' projects will extend to 29 states.

Let's improve soil and water quality with crop insurance via The Des Moines Register

(Opinion) If there are two things that every farmer I know has an opinion about, it’s water quality and crop insurance. But we don’t talk enough about how crop insurance affects water quality and soil health. We need crop insurance to help farmers manage risk. But could crop insurance also encourage farmers to implement practices that are better for water quality and soil health? I believe it can.

US water projects aimed at easing drought to get $225M via The Washington Post

The federal government will spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars to finance several dozen projects aimed at easing the effects of drought in the western U.S. and restoring watersheds that provide drinking water to communities around the nation. The $225 million in funding will be shared among 88 projects, from California’s Central Valley to centuries-old irrigation systems in northern New Mexico and thousands of square miles of fragmented streams in Maine. More than half of the projects specifically address drought and water quality.

As record Appalachian wildfires fizzle out, scientists look to learn from the destruction via Science Magazine

Now, with Appalachia’s wildfires fizzling out, fire scientists and fire managers are figuring out what they can learn from the conflagrations. In part, they hope to assemble data that might help them identify areas most at risk of dangerous fires, and encourage management practices—such as the use of prescribed burns—which could limit future outbreaks.

EPA: Fracking has impacted drinking water resources via Agri-Pulse

Correcting what it considers a misreading of its 2015 draft report on hydraulic fracking, EPA released a thick final report Tuesday that it says “provides scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources in the United States.”

Invasive 'super weed' spreads through Iowa via The Des Moines Register

Farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, and some other Midwestern states have learned that the native grasses and prairies planted to help butterflies and other pollinators inadvertently have spread the noxious weed Palmer amaranth. It has overrun and choked fields across the southern United States, where it has proved resistant to several herbicides, including widely used glyphosate. Seeds from the highly invasive weed could easily sprout again, moving from field to field, crowding out corn, soybeans, and other cash crops.

Interior adopts controversial last-minute rule to make the coal industry cleaner via The Washington Post

The Obama administration finalized a rule Monday morning that aims to protect thousands of miles of streams by forcing coal mining companies “to avoid mining practices that permanently pollute streams, destroy drinking water sources … and threaten forests.” Under the rule, which overhauls regulations in place for more than three decades, coal companies that have finished mining in an area will be required to restore the land to the same condition that existed before digging began.

EPA, farm groups win Mississippi River nutrient case via Agri-Pulse

Mississippi River Basin states should be given a chance to address nutrient pollution first, before the federal government steps in, a federal court ruled late last week. The latest decision “isn't likely to be the end of the road - at least not for many years. But the agricultural community and the states in the Mississippi River Basin should take this opportunity to redouble our efforts to ensure the best practices are in place to demonstrate, when the next round of petitions and lawsuits come, that we are all doing our part for water quality.”

Obama will use his executive authority to impose new permanent bans on offshore drilling via The Los Angeles Times

Invoking a rarely used provision in federal law, the Obama administration announced a permanent ban on offshore drilling in broad parts of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts — a sweeping and controversial move that will help secure the president’s environmental legacy even as critics vowed to reverse it.

Las Vegas now runs completely on renewable energy via USA Today

From street lights to city parks, community centers and fire stations, all Las Vegas city-run spots are now powered entirely by renewable energy, making it the largest in the U.S. to use such sources. Overall, the city’s energy savings because of its shift is estimated at roughly $5 million annually. The city invested more than $40 million in renewable energy over the past few years.

EPA doesn’t have to set water limits for 2 fertilizers via The Washington Post

A federal judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency more time to work with states on limiting their runoff of chemicals blamed for oxygen-depleted “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. A federal judge ordered the EPA three years ago to set firm limits for the chemicals in water, but an appeals court overruled him, and the agency says it wants to keep working with states on alternative solutions. The 11 environmental groups suing the agency contend that numerous pollution-reduction plans went nowhere because the EPA never acted directly, and states have failed to solve the problem.

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