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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.

NACD Blog: Ohio SWCD transitions during pandemic to meet the needs of the community

The Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is sharing the world of conservation and urban agriculture with at-risk students in Ohio through a $44,000 NACD Urban Agriculture Conservation (UAC) grant.

NACD Blog: Forestry Notes Q&A: Terry Baker

Terry Baker joined the Society of American Foresters (SAF) as chief executive officer in September of 2018. Recently, he shared time with NACD to discuss his work at SAF.

NACD Blog: Engineering Technical Assistance Boosts Conservation Practices in Stearns County, Minnesota

In 2018, Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Minnesota was able to hire Mark Greve as their soil and water engineer-in-training thanks to an NACD Technical Assistance (TA) Grant.

NACD Blog: USDA Launches Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production at NRCS
By Eric Hansen

The 2018 Farm Bill required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.

NACD Blog: Michigan district awarded grant to reduce pollution in two watersheds
By Erin Fuller

The Van Buren Conservation District (CD) in Paw Paw, Mich., has been awarded a two-year $413,362 grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Earlier this week, NACD submitted public comments to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on the interim Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) rule.

Brownfield Ag News: Illinois S.T.A.R. Program Reaches More than 80,000 Acres in 2019
By Rhiannon Branch 

The Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources initiative, also known as S.T.A.R., saw tremendous growth in 2019. The program, which began in Illinois’ Champaign County in 2017, encourages farmers to use conservation practices such as cover crops and no-till on their land by giving them a 1-5-star rating.

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation: Making conservation count: The importance of assessing resources and documenting outcomes to USDA
By Bill Northey

One of the requests of the 2018 Farm Bill was to refocus USDA's efforts to document outcomes of conservation programs on private lands. We agree. It's imperative that we show that USDA conservation programs work and that farmers and ranchers using voluntary conservation efforts are making a difference. In fact, USDA has a long history of working toward this goal.

The Southern Illinoisan: Guest View: Soil and water conservation more important now than ever
By Dale Shumaker

(Opinion) As the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events has increased in recent years, the conservation efforts of our local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) have become more important now than ever.

Civil Eats: Most Farmers in the Great Plains Don’t Grow Fruits and Vegetables. The Pandemic is Changing That.
By Daphne Miller

Amid massive tracts of wheat and corn destined for global markets, some farmers are planting cover crop mixes designed to be harvested by their communities.

Phys.org: Rethinking (waste)water and conservation
By Tess Eyrich

In an article published this week in the journal Nature Sustainability, [Kurt] Schwabe and his co-researchers [from the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside] take a close look at how water conservation measures taken in Southern California in the wake of a major drought affected the availability and quality of regional wastewater.

The Orange County Register: CSUF biologist looks into how native plants survive in the driest soil

What limits the ability of plants to draw water from dry soil? That is the question Cal State Fullerton plant biologist H. Jochen Schenk and his international research collaborators asked in an effort to solve the mystery of how plants suck water from the driest soil.

COSMOS: Soil pathogens rise as temperatures do
By Natalie Parletta

Pathogenic plant fungi are likely to multiply and spread as rising temperatures warm soils, thereby accelerating climate change-induced crop losses, according to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Yale Climate Connections: How improving soil health can help farmers adapt to extreme weather

Heavy rain can wash topsoil off farm fields. Droughts can leave crops withering in the sun. But improving soil health can help farmers adapt to extreme weather.

Science Magazine: Deadly imports: In one U.S. forest, 25 percent of tree loss caused by foreign pests and disease
By Gabriel Popkin

From a deadly fungus that showed its face in 1904 on an American chestnut in the Bronx to a nematode recently found to kill American beeches in Ohio, forests in the United States have faced more than 100 years’ worth of attacks from introduced pests and pathogens. But how much of a chunk are these invaders actually taking out of the woods? A new study suggests the impact is severe, accounting for one-quarter of all tree deaths in eastern U.S. forests over the past three decades.

The Colorado Sun: To reach sustainable wild horse levels, feds say it will take more than $1 billion and years of work

Federal land managers say it will take two decades and cost more than $1 billion over the first six years alone to slash wild horse populations to sustainable levels necessary to protect U.S. rangeland.

Williston Herald: Water quality can impact livestock production

Providing adequate water to livestock is critical for animal health and production. “Good-quality water can have a major impact on your cattle’s intake and weight gain,” says Miranda Meehan, North Dakota State University Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist.

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