Summer 2015 - Edition 4

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What to Do with Used Light Bulbs that Contain Mercury

     Seems like these days recycling is everywhere, as a Nation we can be proud that we have come a long way from only recycling soda cans and beer bottles.  Now we recycle or "repurpose" almost everything we use.  From wood products and newspapers, to batteries, tires and plastics.
     It's not a bad thing for sure, as more people become comfortable and accustom to separating their trash recycling becomes mainstream.  A big benefit of recycling is that the life expectancy of our landfills is increased, while resources needed to produce new products are conserved.
     One of the newer options available is fluorescent bulb recycling.  Starting January 1, 2015 the "Light Recycle Washington" program (RCW Chapter 70.275) took effect.
     Since 2010 it has been illegal to throw away mercury-containing bulbs with the regular garbage.
     Locations have been approved to collect the 3 main types of fluorescent bulbs:
  1.  All types and sizes of fluorescent tubes typically seen in offices, schools, and retail stores.  This includes T5s, T8s, and T12s bulbs.
  2. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) the newer types of corkscrew looking bulbs.
  3. High Intensity Discharge Bulbs (HIDs) such as; high pressure sodium, mercury vapour, metal halide, ultraviolet (UV), ultra high performance (UHP) and germicidal bulbs.     
     All of these kinds of bulbs contain small amounts of mercury.  Recycling mercury-containing lights protects the environment and human health by reducing the release of mercury, a potent neurotoxin.
     Starting on Jan 1, 2015 all citizens are permitted to drop off up to 10 mercury containing light bulbs per day at any of the 200+ authorized collection sites within Washington State.  To help pay for the program a $0.25 per bulb is added to the price before purchase.
  There are 3 collection sites approved for drop off within the Grant County Conservation District boundaries.  The locations are:
  1. Skaugs Ace Hardware in Moses Lake.  944 W. 3rd Ave
  2. Othello Ace Hardware in Othello.  420 E. Main St.
  3. Marty's True Value Hardware in Mattawa.  205 E. 1st St.

Agricultural Burning

     All commercial agricultural operations must obtain a burn permit prior to burning natural vegetation.  As the local agricultural burn permitting authority, we are here to help you through the process.  But first, there are exceptions.

No burn permit is required when burning:

  • Orchard pruning;
  • Natural vegetation along fence lines, irrigation and drainage ditches; or for
  • Natural vegetation blown by the wind. 
 Before burning you must:
  1. Obtain a permit, if required (see above);
  2. Notify your fire protection authority and/or dispatch (check with specific county) prior to igniting any fire, even if an air quality/burn permit is not required; and
  3. Call the burn hotline 1.800.406.5322 to make sure it is a burn day.  For Grant County press 2 then 5.  Zone 41 north of I90; Zone 42 south of I90; Zone 43 all of Mattawa for Adams County press 2 then 4.
To obtain an agricultural burn permit:
  1. Print and fully fill-out the applicable burn permit application (or come to our office).  Applications including email addresses will be expedited.  Also do not forget to provide driving directions from the nearest town;
  2. Return the application and permit fee by check to:  Grant County Conservation District, 1107 S Juniper Drive, Moses Lake, WA  98837.  509.765.9618
  3. Mandatory requirement after burning, fill-out and return the post burn report (blue postcard) or submit the report online here.
Agricultural Burn Permit Applications can be found online on our website, or contact our office to see which permit you may need.  The following are the permits available on our website or by clicking the link:

Circle Corners for Habitat

    The Grant County Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and Columbia Basin Pheasants Forever have formed a partnership to help landowners get habitat on the ground.  We are focusing on circle corners or any other unfarmed areas around the Columbia Basin.
     There are many benefits that can be derived from planting permanent habitat, primarily native grasses and forbs (wildflowers) that do not need irrigation.  Besides the undisturbed nesting and brooding cover for pheasants, quail and other wildlife, they can be exceptional pollinator habitat for native bees and other beneficial insects.
     Also, think of all the energy that is expended to try to keep the noxious weeds under control!  Many producers are constantly burning, disking, and spraying chemicals, just to get another flush of weeds in a few weeks.  Native grass plantings can out-compete even the toughest weeds if planned for properly and seeded in a timely manner. 
     We have staff available to help landowners plan and design each project, to include site prep, seeding and maintenance.  Each plan is site specific for different soil types and conditions.  We provide all plant materials and perform seeding, planting and some post plant maintenance (spraying/mowing).
     If irrigation is available we can also furnish landscape mulch and plant flowering shrubs.  WDFW has specialized equipment to install the fabric mulch, plant shrubs, and seed the native grasses.
     We ask that landowners assist with site preparation, for their "25% in-kind services", which typically involves 2-3 tillage operations or herbicide applications to create a clean seedbed.
     Please call the our office for more information at 509.765.9618.

Direct Seed Drill Rental
The Grant County Conservation District is  partnering with Washington State University (WSU) Extension to offer agricultural operators the opportunity to use a 1590 John Deere direct seed drill on irrigated fields in the Columbia Basin.  The 15' box drill is designed to plant various crops through crop residue on the soil surface.  It is now in the Moses Lake area and available for rent.  While farmers in other parts of the country have used this practice successfully for decades, it is relatively new to irrigated regions of the Western US.  These direct seed drills are scarce in the Columbia Basin, and so we are offering this drill to agricultural producers to see what they can do in their own fields.  Contact our office to reserve the drill at 509.765.9618.  If you have an idea or question about direct seeding, call or email WSU Extension agronomist Andy McGuire, 509.754.2011 Ext 4313 or email  Check our website,, for more details. 
Accepting Applications for Cost Share Projects
The Grant County Conservation District provides 50-75% cost share assistance for projects that implement best management practices (BMP's) to address natural resource priorities in our area including water quality and quantity, soil conservation, wildlife and habitat conservation, energy conservation and others.  Projects can be public or private in nature and on large and small scale.  The District had cost share projects in 2013/2014  that totaled over $450,000 and from January 2015 to present over $350,000.  Some projects we have funded are community gardens, cross fencing, exclusion fencing, pesticide containment slabs, wildlife enhancement, culvert management, shelter belt planting, variable frequency drive, rotational grazing, solar watering, and many more.  The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2015, so we are seeking projects to help you implement by providing the cost share assistance.  Call our office at 509.765.9618. 
Water on Wheels and Wheat Week FREE Lessons

The Water on Wheels and Wheat Week programs say goodbye to another successful school year.  The FREE programs reached close to 4,000 students during the 2014/2015 school season in 20 different schools.  The hands-on, interactive lessons give students an energetic experience in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.  The lessons in the programs parallel the standards set by State to insure that students not only have impact experience but also receive all the requirements mandated by state and government.  We are taking dates for 2015/2016 school year!  To schedule a date for your FREE grade level team and/or school with Water on Wheels or Wheat Week, please contact Heather, or call 509.765.9618.   We look forward to the opportunity to reach more students and schools in this upcoming 2015/2016 school year.

Copyright © 2014 The Conservation Connection, Grant County Conservation District, All rights reserved.
Phone: (509) 765-9618
1107 S. Juniper Dr., Moses Lake, WA 98837

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