Conservation Corner

Submitted by Renee Schlosser and Tokina McHarry, James River SCD

The James River SCD, in partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), is celebrating Stewardship Week from April 25 – May 2, 2021, focusing on the theme “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities.”

The JRSCD is a member of NACD, which oversees the annual Stewardship Week program, now in its 66th year. Stewardship Week is one of the largest national annual programs to promote conservation.

“Educating the public about the importance of our connection to our natural resources in our daily lives is an essential part of what conservation districts advocate for in their communities,” said NACD President Michael Crowder. “Trees and forests are critical to providing clean air and water, healthy soil, shade, abundant wildlife habitat, jobs and valuable products we use every day.”

JRSCD can assist you in learning more about trees and the species native to your area of the country. JRSCD can also provide insight on tree planting, care, and maintenance, as well as information on how to protect trees from invasive species.

“Conservation districts have a long-standing history of working with state and private forest owners in helping promote and safeguard our nation’s forested lands,” Crowder said.

Free, downloadable Stewardship Week resources celebrating the theme “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities” are available on NACD’s website at https://www.nacdnet.org/store/. For more information about Stewardship Week and conservation, contact the JRSCD at 701-349-3653, ext. 3.

With the high winds Dickey County has been experiencing the past weeks, topsoil has been blowing all over the county. At a rest area stop in ND, there was so much topsoil blown in, the NDDOT was called in to remove it. NDDOT estimated they removed 25-30 truckloads, not to mention the topsoil drifts in the shelterbelt that was pushed back onto the field. According to Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension Soil Health Specialist, soil lost in our region to wind erosion is, on average, 5 tons/acre/year. A study was conducted evaluating topsoil depth recorded in the 1960’s against topsoil depths recorded in 2014 from the same exact locations. A total of 19 inches of topsoil was lost during the nearly 50-year time period.

Wind erosion of topsoil weighs heavily on everyone’s minds. Topsoil is a nonrenewable resource that contains organic matter and fertility that has been built naturally and applied through the years. It’s the highest quality material of the entire soil profile. Protecting topsoil from erosion should be in everyone’s best interest.

What can we do to improve the loss of topsoil in these high North Dakota winds? Increase ground cover! Planting a cover crop after harvest is very beneficial. Bare soil is subject to erosion caused by rainfall, snowmelt, or wind. Cover crops can be established and grown in the fall months remaining during the winter. When spring arrives, they are killed and left on the surface as residue for conservation tillage or are incorporated into the soil. Cover crops will protect farmland during the vulnerable period if properly planned and executed. Not only is soil erosion greatly reduced, but many other benefits can be derived.

The staff in the USDA office can help you with a cover crop plan. They can put a cover crop mix together that will be right for your field’s needs. Cost-share may also be available. Call now to set up an appointment with us.

Trees arrived the end of April and beginning of May. If you ordered handplants, you will receive a phone call to schedule a day and time for picking them up.

Reminder: The USDA Service Center (SCD, NRCS, and FSA) staff is limited in the office for the time being, but most employees are available via email while teleworking. Visitors are permitted by appointment only. Masks are required.

Dates to remember:

May 12 - SCD Board Meeting – 8:00 AM – Fireside – Woodland Room

May 31 – Memorial Day – Office Closed

For more information contact the James River Soil Conservation District and Ellendale NRCS office at 349-3653, ext. 3. Our field office is in Ellendale at 51 N. 1st Street. Also, remember to visit the James River Soil Conservation District Facebook page and our websites for more information –http://www.jamesriverscd.org/ and http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/nd/home/. The NRCS is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.

Contact us:

Phone: 701-349-3653, ext. 3

Email: Renee.schlosser@nd.nacdnet.net

Address: PO Box 190, 51 N. 1st Street, Ellendale, ND 58436

 

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