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Spring 2016 - Edition 11

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Cost Share Available
          The Grant County Conservation District (GCCD) 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.  Contact our office to discuss your next project by calling (509) 765-9618 or visit the GCCD office at 1107 S Juniper Drive, Moses Lake, WA (behind DairyQueen).

Pictured above is an example of a completed cost share project that was funded by the GCCD and WA State Conservation Commission for shoreline protection and restoration along Moses Lake.
Grant County Voluntary Stewardship Program 
     The Grant County Conservation District was named the lead agency by the Grant County Commissioners for the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP).  VSP is an approach counties can choose to protect critical areas on agricultural lands as an alternative to enacting further critical areas regulation on agricultural land.  The VSP allows for the establishment of local VSP planning group to work closely with stakeholders to develop voluntary, site-specific stewardship plans.  One of the benefits of the VSP planning process is that it’s a local, grassroots planning effort.  The goal of the VSP is to create a voluntary stewardship plan which protects critical areas while maintaining and enhancing the viability of agriculture.
 
     A community lead VSP Workgroup was formed to provide leadership, guidance and oversight of the community based VSP work plan.  This approach will ensure that the goals and benchmarks that will be established meet the intent of the program while protecting and enhancing agriculture in Grant County.  The planning workgroup includes a broad representation of key stakeholders and representatives of agricultural and the environmental communities, as well as State and Federal agencies that have agreed to participate.  The VSP Workgroup held its kick-off meeting on April 26, 2016 in Moses Lake.
 
     The VSP Workgroup has divided Grant County into 8 distinct geographic areas to provide an opportunity for producers that share common interests a forum for learning more about VSP and providing local input in the VSP plan development.  Meetings and outreach will be conducted within these communities in late fall. 

     If you would like us to come and give a presentation at one of your meetings, please notify the GCCD and we will put you on our schedule. For further information about where the critical areas are located, where meetings will be held within your community, or to sign up to receive information about VSP, visit our website at columbiabasincds.org or call the Grant County Conservation District office at (509) 765-9618.

Grant County VSP presentation given by Harold Crose, Resource Conservationist for GCCD.

Trout in the Classroom
    The Trout in the Classroom is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for elementary, middle, and high school students.  Through the school year, students raise trout from eggs and then release them into Moses Lake.  The process of raising, monitoring, and caring for young trout fosters a conservation ethic within participating students and promotes an understanding of their shared water resources.

     GCCD has several tanks in schools in Grant and Adams counties.  The classes will be releasing the trout in upcoming field days.  During the release students will have the opportunity to tour the Wanapum Native American Discovery Unit, participate in a Survival game, Profile of Trout, Trout and the Watershed scavenger hunt and information from the local Department of Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Jeff Korth.

     We are looking for sponsers that could be individuals or local businesses and organizations to help us make this opportunity truly special for our students within the GCCD boundaries.  As an active participant in the community, your involvement would help highlight the importance of field science in our classrooms and the opportunity for students to have a strong learning experience that will deepen their understanding of science and how the world works.

     The sponsorship for the tank, stand, chiller, filter and tank necessities for raising trout are $1,500.  With your sponsorship, your tank will have your information displayed.  This one-time cost will provide students the experience of raising trout year after year.  

Othello Elementary School students releasing the salmon they raised on May 24, 2016.

Direct Seed Workshop
     The GCCD held a Direct Seed Workshop in Hartline on February 25, 2016.  The purpose of the workshop was to bring together a mix of producers that had experience with applying direct seed in low precipitation winter wheat fallow operations in Central Washington, agency specialists with a focus on soil health, and farmers that were interested in adopting direct seed on their farms.  

     The day began with Brad Duncan, NRCS Assistant State Soil Scientist, discussing predominant soils series in this area and how adopting direct seed will have a positive effect on soil health.  Ty Meyer, Production Ag Manager with Spokane Conservation District, discussed a variety of trials they had done with no-till and the importance of using the right equipment designed for Direct Seed.  Leslie Michel, Soil Scientist with Okanogan Conservation District went over cover crop trials she is conducting in North Central Washington and the role cover crops play in moisture management.  There was a grower panel of local farmers who presented their experience with direct seed on their farms and fielded questions from the audience.  The day ended with Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency personnel providing information on programs for direct seed and other practices.  
 
     Thank you to the 80 participants who attended and a special thank you to Mike and Chris Edwards for facility planning and set-up.  Look for future workshops or demonstrations on our website at columbiabasincds.org or ask to be added to the mailing list by contacting the GCCD office.

Producers learning the positive effect on soil health at the Direct Seed Workshop in Hartline.

Othello Sandhill Crane Festival     
     GCCD are the coordinators for the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival.  The 19th Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival was March 18, 19, 20, 2016 held at Stevens Funeral Home and the Othello High School.  A majority of the 1,458 attending this year were first time attendees coming from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Canada.

     The festival offered 39 lectures with a wide range of topics such as sandhill cranes, geology, pollinators, optics, crop biotechnology, bats, insects, owls, aerial systems in agriculture and much more.  Also offered over the 3-day event were crane viewing tours along with specialty tours ranging from Gloyd Seeps, boat tours, Lower Crab Creek birding, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, geology, Wahluke Slope, hiking and bike tours.  A wide variety of children activities from mask making, binocular making, face painting, art show, games, petting zoo, photo booth and much more for the whole family to enjoy.  
 
     Planning has began for the the 20th anniversary that will be held March 24, 25, 26, 2017.  If you would like to be added to the e-mail list to receive updates about the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival visit our new website at othellosandhillcranefestival.org or contact the GCCD office.

Photo by Dave Goeke of a rare Leucistic (white) Sandhill Crane that made a stop in Othello during the 2016 Festival!!!

Eco-Gardening Symposium
     The GCCD and WSU Adams/Grant Master Gardners held the 2nd Annual Eco-Gardening Symposium at the Tech Center in Moses Lake on April 23, 2016.  The half day event was attended by 78 participants.  "Really appreciate all of the time and work put in!  Was a wonderful opportunity for me and I learned much and am insipired," said one participant.  

     Joan Davenport, WSU Professor of Soil Science, gave an informative, interactive presentation on getting to know your soils.  "Who would of thought soil could be so much fun!," said by another participant.  Kelsey Prickett, BFI Native Seeds as the Forb Production Manager, presented what native plants to plant in the Columbia Basin's diverse weather and low rain-fall.  "The speakers knowlege and enthusiasm was contagious.," wrote another attendee.  Heather Wendt, Assistant Manager for Benton & Franklin Conservation Districts, showed wonderful pictures and ideas for a Heritage Garden that incorporate native plants, low-water use plants and geology for a unique and colorful landscape.  "Inspired me to add a native garden/plants into my landscape."  Andrew McGuire, Cropping Systems Agronomist with WSU Extension, gave a wonderful presentation on when to water your lawn and a visual of how water runs through soil.  "The techniques he showed I will go back home to decrease my watering habits on my lawn and test my sprinklers for uniformity," said a participant.

     Check our website for the 3rd Annual Eco-Gardening Symposium date to be announced soon!
Presentation by Heather Wendt during the 2016 Eco-Gardening Symposium.
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Copyright © 2014 The Conservation Connection, Grant County Conservation District, All rights reserved.
www.columbiabasincds.org
Phone: (509) 765-9618
1107 S. Juniper Dr., Moses Lake, WA 98837

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Grant County Conservation District · 1107 S Juniper Dr. · Moses Lake, WA 98837 · USA

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