Conservation Corner

Submitted by Renee Schlosser, James River SCD Manager

The James River Soil Conservation District is pleased to announce the annual Dickey County Conservation Achievement Award Winner for 2020 – Donn Nelson. Donn has had active 319, EQIP and CSP contracts and strives to improve the health of the soil and rangeland under his management. He also carries a love of facilitating wildlife habitat, something that runs as a deep family tradition. 


Some of the practices in recent years that Donn has implemented include no-till, cover crops, an ag-waste system, pollinator plantings, tanks, pipelines and intense prescribed grazing. Donn is an outstanding example for young area farmers and loves to share his experiences with any who will lend a listening ear.

Due to the C0VID-19 pandemic, the 2020 ND Association of Conservation District’s Annual Meeting has been cancelled. Donn will be honored at the 2021 Annual Meeting with an expense paid trip to Bismarck for the Awards Banquet. He will receive an aerial photo showing some of his acreage. Congratulations to Donn Nelson!!!

With winter knocking on our back door, you need to make sure your trees and shrubs go into the winter months with adequate moisture in the soil. The leaves may be off the plant during the dormant season, but the root system remains active all through the winter. When the soil moisture evaporates in the cold dry winter air, the small fibrous roots will dry out and die. These small roots perform the bulk of the water and nutrient uptake for the plant. Be sure to water when the soil and trees are cool but not frozen.

Cleanup is also vital. Remember when you were a kid and you had to clean up before you could do something else? Preparing your yard for the winter works the same way. Before you can start to strengthen your trees you have to clean up the dead ones first. Remove dead or fallen trees or branches from your property, or if they’re too large, hire a tree removal company to do the job for you.


Another way to cleanup your yard is to remove or replant wayward seedlings that have popped up a little too close to your home or other plants. If the fruit and leaves have any sign of pest or disease damage, they must be removed from the site. Why? Well, pests and diseases will overwinter in the leaf litter and come back to haunt you and your tree (especially fruit trees) next year!


One of the last parts of the cleanup process is pruning. Pruning a tree consists of removing dead or dying branches, which fortifies the overall strength of a tree. This process is vital to sustaining the life of your trees throughout the winter, not to mention it protects your property. When heavy snow falls and sits on dying branches it can cause them to fall, in turn possibly damaging your property or your family. Get pruning before it snows too much!

If you are planning to plant trees in the spring of 2021, please contact the James River SCD at (701) 349-3653, ext. 3, to get your tree plan ready and to make sure the trees you want are available. Please make sure that your tree site is properly prepared for tree planting. Preparation of most sites should begin in the fall. If it is not, the trees will not be planted until proper preparation is done. If you have questions on what proper preparation is, please call the office. Orders for handplants are also being accepted. Please get your orders in as soon as possible. Remember, tree plantings are done on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Due to public health concerns, the Service Center is open by phone appointment only.  Face masks are mandatory for anyone entering the Service Center for an appointment.

Dates to remember:

November 11 – Office Closed, Veteran’s Day

November 12 – SCD Board Meeting – teleconference, contact office for call-in info

November 15 – America Recycles Day

November 23 – Annual State SCD Business Meeting and Area Meetings  

November 26 – Office Closed, Thanksgiving Day

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 – and The NRCS is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.

Contact us:

Phone: 701-349-3653, ext. 3


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


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