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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: Rhode Island conservation districts expand conservation planning for farmers

Rhode Island’s three conservation districts are expanding efforts to help farmers develop and implement farm conservation plans. A $179,520 NACD technical assistance grant allowed the districts to hire two full time staff members, one at Northern Rhode Island Conservation District (NRICD), and the other at Southern Rhode Island Conservation District (SRICD).

NACD Blog: 2018 Farm Bill Breakdown: Conservation Stewardship Program

The House of Representatives proposed merging CSP into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NACD supported keeping the programs functionally separate, and we are grateful to see CSP continue as a standalone program. However, the 2018 Farm Bill still made changes to CSP, including moving from an acreage-based program to a monetary one, cutting the program’s 10-year baseline, and eliminating the $18 per acre payment requirement.

NACD Blog: Partnership puts turkeys back on the ground in New Hampshire

NWTF is building on the past 20 years of collaboration with the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts (NHACD) to build turkey habitat and create accessible hunting property.

NACD Blog: 2018 Farm Bill Breakdown: Forestry

On December 20, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. Historically, the Forestry Title has been one of the more non-controversial titles debated between the chambers. However, it was one of the last items finalized due to the recent catastrophic wildfires in California.

Agri-Pulse: Pelosi announces new appointments to House Agriculture Committee
By Hannah Pagel

New Democrats on the House Agriculture have been announced, giving the committee a handful of new members with both urban and rural backgrounds.

Agri-Pulse: USDA to open FSA offices temporarily
By Ben Nuelle

About half the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency offices will reopen temporarily during the government shutdown. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday the agency will open Thursday Jan. 17, Friday Jan. 18, and Tuesday Jan. 22, to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers.

U.S. News and World Report: Government Shutdown Taking Toll on Wildfire Preparations
By Gillian Flaccus

The government shutdown is taking a toll on a wildfire fight that hasn't even started yet. Wildfire training courses are being canceled, piles of dead trees are left untended in federal forests and controlled burns to thin fire-prone forests aren't happening.

The New York Times: Female Ranchers Are Reclaiming the American West
By Amy Chozick

Against the vast blue skies and craggy prairies, female ranchers have found the same independence and adventure that first lured their male antecedents, but they are also forging a new path. Women are leading the trend of sustainable ranching and raising grass-fed breeds of cattle in humane, ecological ways.

The Enquirer: Cincinnati’s local zoo is paving the way in green and sustainable efforts
By Ladan Nikravan-Hayes

By 2025 the Zoo will produce more power on its properties than it consumes. It will use no potable water for non-drinking water needs and will be sending zero waste to the landfill. The Cincinnati Zoo would be the first zoo in the world to achieve this.

NACD Editor’s Note: Hamilton County SWCD helped install rain gardens and a vegetated roof at the zoo through grants. These features have signage enabling the district to educate the millions of visitors that go to the zoo each year. “It’s a great partnership,” says district director Holly Utrata-Halcomb.

Agri-Pulse: Farm bill spares but ‘downplays’ major conservation program
By Philip Brasher

Although the final bill preserved CSP as a standalone program, the bill cut its annual funding level from $1.8 billion to $1 billion and diverted an estimated $50 million to make payments to farmers who will no longer be eligible for commodity subsidies on acreage that isn’t planted to program crops.

Bay Journal: Farm Bill could increase funding to control ag runoff to Chesapeake
By Timothy B. Wheeler

Specifically, (the 2018 Farm Bill) triples to $300 million the funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which provides financial and technical assistance for multi-state or watershed-scale projects. It also increases from 35 percent to 50 percent the share of that funding that’s available to one of eight designated “critical conservation areas,” including the Chesapeake.

Independent Record: Stream project aims to restore a mile of Prickly Pear Creek
By Tom Kuglin

McNeal was hired to design a new flood plain and reshape about a mile of the creek to a more natural flow. Jeff Ryan with (Lewis and Clark) Conservation District joined McNeal on-site and noted that the 319 funding has been a critical source for restoration projects on Prickly Pear and other area streams. The conservation district is working with state and federal agencies on proposals to reduce some of those engineering costs.

AP News: Apps let everyone help track health of insect populations
By Katherine Roth

A number of recent studies have shown precipitous declines in some invertebrate populations. As alarm over the situation grows, so does the importance and popularity of citizen-scientist projects involving insects.

The Bulletin: U.S. Forest Service may allow sale of horses for slaughter
By Scott Sonner

The U.S. Forest Service has built a new corral for wild horses in Northern California, which could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter. (The agency) says it may have no choice because of the high cost of housing the animals and continued ecological impacts it says overpopulated herds are having on federal rangeland.

Los Angeles Times: ‘Goat Fund Me’ campaign aims to use farm animals to fight wildfires
By Anh Do

The cost of using goats to eat away overgrown brush is affordable, supporters say. Booking a herd costs between $500 to $1,500 an acre, according to City Manager Catrina Olson. Some 200 animals can plow through an acre of land daily, officials said.

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