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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.
Expert presenters at a recent National Network on Water Quality Trading spring dialogue (March 7-9) counted the many ways districts can be central to the success of water quality trading and other ecosystem services programs. NACD helped convene the gathering in Sacramento, California, along with the Willamette Partnership of Portland, Oregon, and Kieser & Associates engineers of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Trump seeks $4.7 billion in cuts to USDA discretionary spending via The Washington Post
The White House Office of Management and Budget’s 2018 spending blueprint requests $17.9 billion in funding for the USDA, down $4.7 billion from its 2017 funding level, or a reduction of about 21 percent. The programs facing cuts fall under “discretionary” spending, which includes food safety, rural development and conservation funding, research grants, and international food aid.
(Opinion) Sustainability and profitability can and must go hand-in-hand. So if environmentalists want sustainability at scale, what we ask of farmers has to be good for their bottom line. Regulations clearly have a role, and they can even make good business sense, but farmers are far more motivated by economic sustainability – they have families to feed and businesses to run.
Economics of soil loss via Corn and Soybean Digest
Average soil loss rate is 5.8 tons per acre per year, and increasing. Buman believes the tolerable rate of soil loss is zero, which cannot even be achieved when a field is in perennial grass. When you’re losing soil, you’re losing yield.
This year's concerns are rooted in the large number of trees left stressed or already dying from last year's record-setting drought. Drought-stressed trees don't make sap as well as healthy ones, and that sticky sap is the tree's primary defense against beetles.
Donald Trump Budget Slashes Funds for E.P.A. and State Department via The New York Times
President Trump’s budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year would slash the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent. The E.P.A. is, arguably, the hardest-hit agency under Mr. Trump’s budget proposal: He wants to cut spending by nearly a third — $2.6 billion from its current level of $8.2 billion.
Wild turkeys: A conservation (and hunting) success story via USA Today
One of the most successful wildlife restoration and recovery efforts in modern conservation and wildlife game management history is the return of the wild turkey. When restoration work started, the only wild birds left were in isolated, heavily wooded areas. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation there are currently an estimated 6 to 6.2 million wild turkeys in the United States.
For years a utility that supplies drinking water to Iowa's capital city has spent millions of dollars to rid its water supply of pollutants that run off farm fields upstream. But the state legislature, now controlled by Republicans who won big majorities in the November election, has decided to address the issue in a different way. It's preparing to dissolve the utility, effectively killing the lawsuit.
The strategy is called monitored natural attenuation, or MNA. With little public awareness or debate, it has become increasingly widespread since the 1990s as a way to cope with the enormous cost of some groundwater cleanups. Despite the bureaucratic name, MNA basically involves keeping a watchful eye while natural processes purge groundwater of chemical pollution.
(Opinion) To provide its forecasts, the Weather Service leans heavily on another NOAA program, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which operates the satellites that deliver crucial data. And that's exactly the place within NOAA where Trump's budget ax would fall the hardest: His leaked proposal calls for a $513 million cut to the satellite program, about 22 percent of its annual budget.
While the Great Lakes funding is important, discussions about its future should include making sure the money is spent on priority issues for the state — the big one being improving Lake Erie's water quality. Spending from the fund already has been shifting that way over the last few years with more money targeted toward reducing the farm field runoff that feeds the lake's algae and building up natural areas that filter the runoff.
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