Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sixth Grade Field Day at Winchester

On May 11th The Lewis Soil Conservation District (LSCD) hosted the 40th Annual 6th Grade Field Day at Winchester State Park.

The weather was perfect for the 6th grade students from Highland, Prairie, Kamiah and Summit to enjoy the educational opportunity provided from the following volunteers:

Soils and Geology — instructed by Eileen Rowan, Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and Alyssa Rowan, Student Volunteer

Air Quality/Campfire Etiquette — instructed by Johna Boulafentis, Nez Perce Tribe Air Quality

Fire Control — instructed by Maureen Crabtree, Al Allman, Cory Town & Shawn Johnson, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL)

Forestry — instructed by Clark Christiansen, IDL, Chris Gerhart, IDL, and Sister Carol Ann Wassmuth, St. Gertrude’s Monastery

Take Me Fishing — instructed by Erin Tennesen & Ryan Aune, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Nature Trail — instructed by Donald Rudy, Jr. Rangers

Life of the Salmon — instructed by Kevin Traylor, NRCS, Jessica Wells, NRCS, and Stefanie Bowman, Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District and Tiffany Sonnen, Student Volunteer

Canoeing — assisted by Vern McMaster, NRCS, Elaine Sonnen, LSCD, Tom Sonnen, Volunteer and Kevin Seitz, NRCS

Winchester Quick Response Unit was on site with LeAnn Trautman

The students rotate every 20 minutes throughout the day to the eight different learning stations.

LSCD provided lunch for the volunteers which were prepared by Karol Holthaus, LSCD.

LSCD would like to thank the students, teachers, volunteers for making this another successful year. A Special Thanks to Nita, Kitty, Bob & Frank with Winchester State Park.

This article was submitted by Elaine Sonnen with the Lewis Soil Conservation District.


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In Memory of Robert “Bob” Bolte

Robert “Bob” Bolte, 88, a resident of Gooding, passed away Thursday, June 14, 2012 at Bennett Hills Care Center in Gooding.

Bob was born April 2, 1924 in Gooding, Idaho to Robert P. and Vera M. Bolte, where he lived on the homestead farm raising sheep, Hereford cows, and grain and hay crops.

In 1944, bob joined the Army Air Corps, 621st Division. He was a Corporal Gunner Instructor. Bob was honorably discharged in 1946.

On April 4, 1954, he married Donna Jean VanDorn. They lived in Gooding on the farm. They had three children; Ann, Barbara and Jon. Bob was active in many community organizations in Gooding, including 45 years of service with the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation District and The Wood River RC & D.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, and his wife Donna.

Bob is survived by 2 daughters; Ann (John) Thornton of Kuna, Idaho, and Barbara Thomas of Gooding, Idaho; 1 son; Jon Bolte, of Snohomish, Washington; and 4 grandchildren; Todd Thomas, and Chad Thomas, both of Gooding, Idaho; and Shane Bolte and Kali Bolte, both of Snohomish, Washington.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at Demaray Funeral Service – Gooding Chapel. A funeral service will be held at 1:30 pm, Thursday, June 21, 2012 at the Gooding United Methodist Church in Gooding. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.

The family suggests memorial contributions in Bob’s name be made to The Bolte Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Gooding Soil Conservation District, 801 Main St. Gooding, Idaho 83330, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of Demaray Funeral Service – Gooding Chapel.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting the obituary link at

Obituary posted on this blog with permission.

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Owyhee Conservation District’s Annual Summer Tour

The Owyhee Conservation District hosted its Annual Summer Tour on June 13, 2012 with a day trip to the Owyhee Mountains. This year the board voted to see a Juniper Mastication project. The tour began after our monthly board meeting with a group of eleven people meeting at 9:00am, and reaching the site at about 11:30am. The drive was long but beautiful, filled with a variety of animals including chipmunks, rock chucks, rabbits, squirrels, quail, deer, antelope, turkey vultures, and numerous birds.

In March 2010, the USDA NRCS launched the Sage-Grouse Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to implement conservation practices with private landowners to improve the Sage grouse populations and habitat in an effort to curtail the possibility of an Endangered Species Act listing. Idaho is one of eleven states participating in the initiative. USDA deemed healthy Sage grouse habitat as large, intact landscapes with plant diversity, perennial grasses and forbs, invasive species management, healthy springs and seeps and well-designed grazing plans. A negative for both the Sage grouse and rancher is conifer encroachment. Hence the mastication project between Jordan Valley ranchers Dennis and Mike Stanford and mastication contractor Dave Bunker of Branch Enterprises. They are taking on the enormous task of Juniper mastication on over 400 acres. In partnership, NRCS Soil Conservation Technician Diane French has worked closely with Dennis, Mike, and Dave to help insure a successful project.

Dave Bunker and Mike Stanford explained the Sage grouse Initiative project and the reason for Juniper removal or mastication. The Juniper has significantly encroached over the past 50 -75 years throughout Owyhee County. Stands of Juniper readily uptake critical water resources from the Great Basin landscape, depleting water from seeps, meadows, springs, and streams that Sage grouse, livestock, and other wildlife are dependent on. In addition, vast areas of Juniper encroachment have changed the Sagebrush habitat ecosystem that houses the vital forbs, grasses, and sagebrush structures necessary for Sage grouse survival. Removing and reducing Juniper from areas that were historically wet seeps, meadows or riparian areas quickly improves both habitat and grazing by allowing native forbs and grasses to return to a more productive state.

Dave’s nephew Greg works as an equipment operator and demonstrated the use of the track hoe style masticator machine. I likened it to a 400lb weed whacker with huge steel blades. The disc that holds the blades spins while the track hoe crane lifts the blade. Starting at the middle of a large Juniper tree the masticator tops the tree then progressively works its way down making a pulpy base. The goal is to leave small areas of habitat for small birds and animals, restore open landscapes, and regain valuable water resources.

It certainly was a fascinating process to watch. Many thanks to Dave Bunker, Mike Stanford, and Diane French for the demonstration tour and information on Sage grouse, and to Julie Phelps, Tate Walters and Rick Smith for driving.

This article was written by Gina Millard with the Owyhee Conservation District.

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May/June eNewsletter Has Been Posted and Distributed

Our latest eNewsletter has been posted to our website. You can read it by clicking here.

Also, member districts received the latest draft of the IASCD bylaws. Please contact your division director, or IASCD staff if you have any questions.

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Owyhee Conservation District Juniper Mastication Project

Yesterday, the Owyhee Conservation District held a tour of their juniper mastication project. We have posted a number of juniper tree destruction photos for your viewing pleasure!

Please click here to view the album.

Here are a few teaser photos…

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IASCD Asks Senators Crapo and Risch to Support the 2012 Farm Bill

Today, the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts (IASCD) sent a letter to Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch asking they support the 2012 Farm Bill when it comes before them for a vote later in the week.

In a letter written on behalf of the IASCD Board of Directors and IASCD member districts, Kit Tillotson wrote, “The federal dollars invested in Title II programs in the Farm Bill ripple out into our communities and impact all facets of our economy; less sediment in rivers means a pristine river for fishing or rafting; healthy soil means a more plentiful crop; responsible land management means a balance between species habitat and grazing.

“The current bill advances and simplifies conservation programs. First, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) replaces legislatively-designated geographical programs with an opportunity for regional programs to continue to expand. Second, the consolidated Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) simplifies wetland and agricultural land easements. Third, the current bill streamlines the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), allowing easier access for producers who wish to take advantage of either program.

“The work accomplished by our districts, in partnership with the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is an example of good public policy and good government. This partnership provides useful information about land use change, soil erosion and health, water quality and quantity, and wildlife habitat.”

You can read the letter in its entirety by clicking here.

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Latah SWCD’s 25th Annual Conservation Awareness Days

Latah SWCD’s 25th annual Conservation Awareness Days was held May 17th and 18th, 2012 at Spring Valley Reservoir. Fifth or sixth grade classes from Deary, Genesee, Logos, McDonald, Potlatch, St. Mary’s, and Troy schools attended. Students learned about aquatic insects, forestry, outdoor survival, raptor, steelhead migration, and soil. They also spent time fishing and got to take home a native plant! Latah SWCD offered up to $300 per school for transportation expenses.

A big THANK YOU to the numerous experts who volunteered as instructors. They were represented by EcoAnalysts, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Lands, Latah Search and Rescue, and the WSU Raptor Club.

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