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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.

Editor’s Note: NACD will not issue an edition of Conservation Clips next Friday, November 29. Happy Thanksgiving!

NACD Blog: Committee holds hearing on agriculture’s role in climate change
By Lea Mayer

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing on agriculture’s ability to positively impact and mitigate the effects of climate change. Improving management practices, bettering soil health, and enhancing carbon sequestration were among the most viable solutions to the current climate crisis.

NACD Blog: Rhode Island district helps maintain statewide high water quality standards

The Northern Rhode Island Conservation District (NRICD) has developed a partnership with the city-owned Providence Water Supply Board and the State of Rhode Island that will utilize $2.9 million from a U.S. Forest Service grant to continue improving water quality in the Scituate Reservoir Watershed by providing easements to landowners who are managing their forests.

NACD Blog: New York district tackles erosion and promotes stream conservation

One New York farmer’s erosion concerns has prompted the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to use a $244,130 grant to install riparian buffers on the property and conduct streambank protection and wetland mitigation downstream.

NACD Blog: District working to improve Cleveland’s tree canopy

Ohio’s Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is in the early stages of work on a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project that would expand tree planting and landowner education on larger properties. It’s part of a broader effort by the district, with help from government entities, to increase tree canopy in urban areas.

NACD Blog: SWCD utilizes available programs to meet military and watershed needs

Minnesota’s Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is using federal and state programming and a partnership with the military to secure easements and establish and maintain buffers.

Agri-Pulse: CDFA provides technical assistance to address climate change
By Sara Wyant

The California Department of Food and Agriculture selected 33 organizations for Climate Smart Agriculture Technical Assistance awards, totaling $2.1 million. Recipients, including several conservation districts and the California Land Stewardship Institute, will provide technical assistance to the applicants and awardees of CDFA’s Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) and the Healthy Soils Program (HSP).

Ag Professional: Gone with the Wind: How to Lose a Lifetime of Soil Health
By Chris Bennett

Franzen believes North Dakota farmland generally requires approximately six years of no-till to change soil biology. (Four years, he says, may be adequate for clay.)

WESA: California must learn to fight fire with prescribed fire, experts say
By Adam Wernick

Natural fires, often caused by lightning, can be beneficial for forests so long as they happen often enough to clear tinder that can feed a firestorm. One proven way of preventing wildfires is the use of prescribed fire, not unlike what Native Americans historically did to manage the landscape and attract game.

KTVZ: Merkley intros bill to create monarch, pollinator highways

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) on Wednesday to introduce new, bipartisan legislation to help states create pollinator-friendly habitats along roads and highways.

USA Today: Our bird populations are dying off. Here's how we can save them.
By Sen. John Boozman, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Mike Thompson and Rep. Rob Wittman

(Opinion) Congress can take an important step to restore and promote even more habitat for birds by reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. The measure provides grants to increase bird populations and wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, family farming and ranching.

FFAR: FFAR Joins Consortium to Establish Ecosystem Markets for Agriculture

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) contributed $10.3 million to the Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) to establish a $20 million research arm for the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, an innovative collaboration that is creating a functional ecosystem services market that will launch and be fully operational in 2022.

Phys.org: Implementing no-till and cover crops in Texas cotton systems
By American Phytopathological Society

While producers of many major crops in the United States have adopted conservation agriculture practices, cotton producers have lagged behind. In 2018, conservation tillage (which includes no-till, strip-till, and mulch tillage) was used in 70% of soybean acres, 67% of wheat acres, and 65% of corn acres but only 40% of cotton acres.

Science Daily: Dead-zone report card reflects improving water quality in Chesapeake Bay

The 2019 'dead-zone' report card for Chesapeake Bay indicates that the volume of low-oxygen, 'hypoxic' water was on the high end of the normal range, a finding that scientists consider relatively good news given the unfavorable weather conditions.

Purdue University News and Stories: Long-term study will offer more data on cover crop benefits
By Brian Wallheimer

Armstrong said field trials will include testing different types of cover crops, evaluating the relative nitrogen contributions of the above-ground and below-ground portions of the cover crops when planting commodity crops in the spring, various nitrogen application rates and other tests. The researchers will also use sensing equipment to monitor the impact of cover crops on water movement through soil, soil temperature, soil moisture and other factors that can affect soil organic matter, nutrient losses and the need for irrigation.

CPR News: Sagebrush Helps Support Ecosystems Throughout The West. But Today, 50 percent Of The Plant’s Habitat Is Gone
By Michelle P. Fulcher

Sagebrush, which makes up the largest interconnected habitat in America, is vital for the survival of 350 species of plants and animals, and the plant is in trouble.

Civil Eats: High Plains Farmers Race to Save the Ogallala Aquifer
By Greta Morgan

By restoring soils and grasslands, farmers in the Texas Panhandle are conserving the last water beneath their feet.

The Associated Press: Iowa reports 622 impaired water segments, a two percent increase
By David Pitt

Iowa will report water impairments on 622 river, lake and wetland segments to the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its biennial summary of water quality, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said.

Penn Live: Research looks into 400 years of Pennsylvania’s forests, which have been ‘completely transformed’
By Marcus Schneck

While forests of the northeastern U.S., from Pennsylvania north to Maine, may hold mostly the same tree species as they did 400 years ago, significant differences emerge under closer inspection.

University of Tennessee: Mathematician Develops Model to Control Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Adjusting the water flow rate in a river can prevent invasive species from moving upstream and expanding their range. An applied mathematician at UT has developed a partial differential equation model to find the desired flow rate to reduce invasive populations.

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