Conservation district announces guidelines for 2015

The Marion County Conservation District announced four goals for 2015.

The first is a watershed approach to promote information and assistance to encourage and enable locally led watershed scale conservation efforts.

In order to meet that goal, the following objectives are:

? provide leadership and direction in implementing the conservation provisions of the 2014 farm bill; chair the local work group.

? administer the Marion County Non-Point and Water Resources Cost Share program, funded by the State Water Plan.

? review the conservation district budget in view of needs and priorities, and meet with the Marion County commissioners to obtain funds for the 2015 operations fund.

? carry out active Marion Reservoir and Cottonwood WRAPS programs.

? administer the local conservation district cost share program.

? prepare an annual newsletter and annual report for the conservation district annual meeting.

? NRCS will carry responsibilities for the following programs: Conservation Security program, Wildlife Habitat Incentive program, Environmental Quality Incentives program, Grassland Reserve program and Conservation Reserve program.

? provide assistance as requested to the organized watershed districts in the county: Middle Creek, Doyle Creek, Lyons Creek, Sand Creek, Turkey Creek and Whitewater River.

? implement livestock waste systems in the county.

Dale Ehlers, conservation technician, Natural Resources Conservation, holds up the grand prize at Saturday?s Marion County Conservation District?s annual meeting. Shirley Bowers of Marion was the winner of the picture.<p><p>Patty Decker / Free Press

The second goal is cooperative conservation to seek and promote cooperative efforts to achieve natural resource goals.

The objectives are:

? promoting land treatment above active watershed sites.

? supporting KACD and NACD through payment of dues and attendance at meetings and conventions.

? implementing the State Buffer Initiative program.

? arranging for an audit of the district financial records by a certified public accountant.

? using Earth Team volunteers to help with conservation education activities.

? promoting conservation tillage through news releases.

? providing conservation programs to schools in Marion County.

? constructing a fair booth on current conservation programs and activities for the Marion County fair.

? regularly disseminating WRAPS information to all stakeholders and the public through news media, meetings, direct mail and other avenues.

? other activities such as EnviroFest for fourth-grade students, regional and state Envirothon contest, countywide poster contest for elementary students, scholarship for Range Youth Camp and Soil Stewardship week.

? Recognizing winners for grassland award, buffer award, continuation conservation award, young conservation farmer award, wildlife award, conservation teacher award and the Kansas Bankers? Association Conservation awards.

? conducting conservation tours.

? cooperating with Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever and other wildlife groups to promote quality habitat for targeted species.

? holding workshops and demonstrations for range improvement.

A third goal is a market-based approach to facilitate growth of market-based opportunities that encourage the private sector to invest in conservation on private lands.

The objectives are:

? working with the local no-till committee to publicize the information about carbon sequestration and the carbon credit program.

? serving as a vendor for grass seed, grass drill rental, pipe, wildlife ramps and tanks as a service to local producers.

? locating a demonstration field for growing switchgrass as biomass.

The fourth goal is the success of current conservation programs and policies measured by usage of performance goals. The objective is working with landowners on abandoned wells and on site wastewater systems.