District reports highlights from 2014

The Marion County Conservation District reported highlights from 2014 during its 69th dinner and meeting Saturday at Eastmoor United Methodist Church in Marion.

In 2014, the conservation award winners included Joel and Dawn Suderman of Marion for the Continuation Conservation award.

The Sudermans were recognized for the soil building and erosion control work they have done to their 700 acres of land, which was considered highly erodible.

Banker Awards were given to Charles Good and his family and Lewis Unruh, all of Peabody, and Gary and Karen Wiens and Greg Wiens, all of Hillsboro.

The Service Award was given to Linda Kroupa of Lincolnville.

The keynote speaker at the 68th annual meeting was Josh Roe, economist and agribusiness coordinator, Kansas Department of Agriculture, who talked about his program to Russia.

Water resources CSP

Marion County received $19,274 in 2014 from the Water Resources Cost Share Program, funded by the State Water Plan.

Fourteen landowners received a cost share payment.

Eligible practices included grassed waterways, terraces, diversions, grass seedings (native and brome) and livestock water supply systems.

Non-point source CSP

The Non-Point Source Cost Share Program provided cost share assistance for plugging abandoned water wells, failing on site wastewater systems (household), livestock waste systems and water supply systems.

Twelve landowners received cost share assistance.

In 2014, the county received an allocation of $19,365.

The District Cost Share Program was not funded in 2014.

Cottonwood WRAPS

Another successful year for the Cottonwood River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy project was in 2014.

Landowners in Marion County received $130,000 in WRAPS cost share funding to support the installation of 25 cropland conservation practices and six livestock projects.

The area includes the upper part of Doyle Creek and Clear Creek, Mud Creek and South Cottonwood for eligible livestock projects.

The Cottonwood River WRAPS is being implemented through a partnership between Kansas State Research, Marion County Extension and MCCD with technical support provided through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Funding for the WRAPS project is provided through the State Water Plan and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Marion Reservoir WRAPS

Marion Reservoir WRAPS continues to pay cost share to farmers and ranchers who implement best management practices to improve the water quality in the Marion Reservoir watershed target areas.

The cost share amount for 2013-14 was $65,542. Farmers paid out of their pockets a $58,250 match to implement these conservation practices.

New to the BMP program is the addition of incentive pay for no-till/cover crop implementation. Marion Reservoir WRAPS is paying $40 per acre for implementing no-till and cover crop farming and $20 per acre for the next three years, if enough residue is left on the field.

If a farmer is already no-tilling, he can receive $40 per acre the first year.

If a farmer is practicing conventional till, he also can receive the same payment. As with all BMPs receiving Marion Reservoir WRAPS, cost share, a NRCS plan must be in place.

Kansas Buffer

The Kansas Water Quality Buffer Initiative Program provides extra funds for the continuous CRP filter strips along stream channels in the state.

Most Marion County is eligible for this program.

There are a total of 57 contracts and 276.3 acres of filter strips in the county now.

The 2014 EnviroFest for fourth grade students of Marion County was Sept. 17 at Brooker Central Park in Marion.

The FFA Soil Judging contest was in Marion County during the fall. NRCS staff helped prepare the soil pits.