Category Archives: Districts

Navigating the Idaho 319 Program

By: Matt Woodard, Chairman of the East Side Soil and Water Conservation District

Section 319 of the Clean Water Act established a grant program under which states, territories, and tribes may receive funds to support a wide variety of non-point source pollution management activities, including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific non-point source implementation projects.  Source

A good 319 project is regionally significant, important to many agencies, addresses multiple concerns, has multiple benefits beyond water quality, watershed based, on the 303(d) list, and has public outreach such as statewide/local press.

Letters of recommendation about your project are a critical part of your 319 application.  Letters from your local WAG, soil conservation district chairman, DEQ water quality administrator, supporting agencies (like USFC, IDFG, NRCS) county commissioners, city officials, other state/fed reps), environmental organizations, trade associations (like IASCD), industry associations are all examples of acceptable support letters.  Be sure each letter is signed, dated, and provided to DEQ with the completed application.  A large, diverse support base often receives a greater consideration during the competitive funding process.

The maximum amount of funding you can receive from a 319 grant is $250,000.  319 grants will fund up to 60% of the total project.  The remaining 40% needs to be non-federal funding in the form of match funds (hard or soft, or in kind).  You should know that only 10% of the grant can go to administrative costs; administrators like to see the maximum amount of funding go to an on-the-ground project.

Timeline For FY 2014 319 Grant Funding

April 8, 2013: Pre-Application Process Opens

May 6, 2013: Pre-Application Process Closes

May 31, 2013: All pre-application reviews to be completed; DEQ will communicate with applications on any questions they have on your project.

August 1, 2013: A completed online application is due to be received by DEQ; prior to that, the project should have been reviewed by the local WAG.  Their approval of the project is necessary for it to go forward.

September 13, 2013: All qualifying project applications are to be sent to the respective BAG chairman for review.

October 1-31, 2013: Each applicant is required to present their project to the respective BAG.  The BAG will rank projects based on regional importance, the amount of funding requested, and other factors.

November 6, 2013: Results of each regional project ranking are summarized and forwarded to each regional BAG chair.

December 2, 2013: DEQ Water Quality staff and the chair from each BAG meet in Boise to discuss the projects.  From this group of projects comes the final rank in order of priority.

Approximately $1.2 million is awarded state wide each year, and has grown very competitive.  Your project should be thought out and address those multiple concerns.  A good Power Point with lots of photos of the project area and a budget breakdown is a great idea for your presentation.  Also, get to know your local DEQ water quality manager.  You should ask them lots questions.  They are there to help you!

Finally, mark your calendar for April 30th.  The Balanced Rock and Twin Falls SWCDs are holding a training day for 319 grants.  The hours are from 9am to 3pm, at the Jerome Fish and Game Office.

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JFAC Increases 2-To-1 Match By $50,000; Approves Additional $20,000 For Technical Assistance

This morning, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation CommissionRepresentative Steve Miller (R-Fairfield) made the main motion to support a $50,000 increase to the two-to-one state match, and for an additional $20,000 to allow the SWC to recover indirect costs for professional services related to cooperative conservation projects.

“This is great news for our state, our natural resources, and for the fifty soil and water conservation districts in Idaho,” IASCD President Kit Tillotson said.  “These increases are a result of our member districts sharing their conservation projects with their legislators, and the outreach by the IASCD Board of Directors.”

The motion to support the increases in the budget passed by a vote of 19-0, and now moves to the floor of the House/Senate chambers with a “do pass” recommendation.

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Upcoming Soil Health Meeting Hosted By Lewis & Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Districts

The Lewis Soil Conservation District (LSCD) and the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District (ISWCD) are hosting a soil health educational and informational meeting with guest speakers Dick Johnson, NRCS Nutrient Management Specialist, and Marlon Winger, NRCS State Agronomist.

Key topics targeted will be soil health problems occurring in Northern Idaho on cropland and what best management practices are beneficial for sustainable agriculture in our area. Information about soil pH, soil compaction and dry land cropping rotations within the Camas Prairie will also be addressed. A visual hands-on demonstration of soil aggregate stability will be presented.

The meeting will be January 16, 2013 at the Greencreek Community Hall in Greencreek, Idaho.
Registration at 8:30 am, the meeting begins at 9:00 am.
Lunch will be served by the Altar Society at noon.

****Please RSVP by January 9, 2013 *****
Lewis Soil Conservation District: 208-937-2291 ext 3
or
Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District: 208-983-1046 ext 3.

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Idaho Dryland Farmer Finds Wildflower Seed Niche

On December 19th, Capital Press published a fantastic article about our very own Delbert Winterfeld.  For those who may not know Delbert, he a supervisor on the East Side Soil and Water Conservation District and has been involved with IASCD for over thirty years.

SWAN VALLEY, Idaho — Delbert Winterfeld has never been one to follow the lead of other farmers.

Having given up on barley, he’s among Idaho’s few dryland grass, forb and wildflower seed producers.

His farm has helped the U.S. Forest Services’ Boise-based Rocky Mountain Research Station in establishing a new crop — a white wildflower called deustus that thrives in volcanic soils, likes hot climates and requires little water.

The full article is well-worth the read, so please click here to be taken directly to the story.  And don’t forget to send a copy to Delbert!

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West Side SWCD Applies For Conservation Innovation Grant

Today’s Capital Press had a great article on the West Side Soil and Water Conservation District’s effort to obtain a federal grant intended to entice more local growers to plant their fields in fall cover crops.  West Side is seeking $214,000 over three years in Conservation Innovation Grant money for projects that promote water conservation.

From the article:

Rick Passey planted his farm’s first cover crop this fall to provide extra feed on cattle pasture, given the high price of hay. The grant would allow farmers to graze livestock on their cover crops. Passey, who serves as the soil and water conservation district’s chairman, said limited water availability for irrigating cover crops could pose a concern for would-be participants.

Nonetheless, he predicted, “I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting the money spent if we get the money.”

He said other growers will likely apply to prevent wind erosion from fields. Interstate 15 north of Idaho Falls has closed several times in recent years due to blowing dust, he said.

“We’ve been trying to find a solution to that,” Passey said. “The one thing we have to impress on (growers) is once dirt blows away, it’s never coming back.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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Filed under Districts, Outreach

Election Results From 2012 Fall Division Meetings

We wrapped up fall division meetings last night with a great Division IV meeting in Burley, Idaho.  Thank you to all the hosting districts for your hospitality!

Elections for IASCD division director and IASCD alternate director were held in Division II, IV, and VI.  All divisions nominated and elected supervisors to the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission’s Technical Assistance Working Group (TAWG) and District Allocations Working Group (DAWG).  The ISWCC Commissioners asked each division to select a supervisor to serve on next year’s TAWG and DAWG, rather than have the commission select individuals from divisions.  Finally, each division elected a supervisor to the IASCD Resolutions Committee.  The results of each division election are below.

See you all in Idaho Falls in just a few weeks!

Division I

TAWG: Billie Brown

DAWG: Tom Daniels

Resolutions: Dale VanStone

Resolutions Alternate: Fran Hughes

Division II

IASCD Division Director: Steve Becker

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Bob Reggear

TAWG: Kyle Wilson

DAWG: Steve Becker

Resolutions: Cody Anderson

Division III

TAWG: Art Beal

DAWG: Julie Burkhardt

Resolutions: Kirk Vickery

Division IV

IASCD Division Director: Rick Rodgers

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Aaron Andrews

TAWG: Richard Kunau

DAWG: Roy Belnap

Resolutions: Joe Pavkov

Division V

TAWG: Terry Lebrecht

DAWG: Kevin Koester

Resolutions: Kevin Koester

Division VI

IASCD Division Director: Lynn Bagley

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Matt Woodard

TAWG: Matt Woodard

DAWG: Richard Jacobson

Resolutions: Rod Robison

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Little Salmon River Watershed Tour- August 30, 2012

On August 30th, the Adams Soil and Water Conservation District co-hosted a tour with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to see riparian habitat improvement projects in the Little Salmon River watershed.

Our first stop was at Four Mile Creek.  This was a project that added more vegetation as a riparian buffer and a fence around the stream bank.  A vegetation strip provides a buffer to flood waters and filters runoff into streams.  The vegetation adds additional shade to the creek, keeping the water temperatures cool.  Also, the growth provides shade for the cattle in the field.    The photo shows a water gap with a hardened crossing for livestock, and the top of the photo shows a livestock exclusion area.  The crossing area is appropriately wide, sloped and hardened with rock so that livestock do not tramp the banks into mud.


Our next stop was further down Four Mile Creek, as another land owner was rebuilding part of the riparian habitat.  We saw a number of willow plantings, using a technique called “willow weaving”.  This is used to stabilize eroding stream banks without the use of heavy equipment.  A water pump connected by a garden hose to a “stinger” is used to bore holes with pressurized water at an angle from the top of the stream bank down to just above the water line.  A long, straight willow stem is then inserted into the hole extending down through the bank and into the stream.  This leaves a gap from where the willow stem comes out of the bank, and down into the stream bottom.  Cut willow stems are then woven between the stems to form a very tight protective mat along this gap.  Once these cuttings begin to root and grow, they provide an excellent protection for the stream bank.

Our last stop was the Little Salmon River near Four Mile Creek.  Riparian buffers, livestock fencing, and other techniques have been used to slow the erosion of the stream bank.  The photo shows an area where planting had occurred on the banks, but due to the dry hot summer, the plantings were struggling despite their attempts to water them weekly.  The point bar on stream left is doing well with many willows, but is pushing the river into the higher, opposite bank which is eroding because it does not have much woody vegetation yet.  This is the way streams attempt to get their meanders back.  Encouraging natural meanders will help slow the flows in high water, allow sediment deposition, eventually raising stream beds and narrowing the channel.  Over time, this will allow water to remain on the fields longer and release water more slowly back to the stream.  More planting on the right bank will help stabilize these banks.  If the plantings are protected from livestock for a period of time and livestock are properly managed afterward, the banks should recover quickly.

Thank you for such a great tour!

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