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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes | September 28, 2010

Kansas Technical Committee Minutes - September 2010

Kansas Technical Committee (KTC)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
10:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m.
NRCS Conference Center
747 Duvall
Salina, Kansas

Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist (STC), Natural Resources Conservationist (NRCS), Salina, Kansas, called the meeting to order. Eric welcomed members and introductions were made. Eric introduced Robert Atchison, Rural Forestry Coordinator, Kansas Forest Service, Manhattan, Kansas. Robert provided members with information regarding the Kansas Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Gaye L. Benfer, Assistant State Conservationist (ASTC) for Programs, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented a PowerPoint presentation with an overview of the 2010 EQIP accomplishments. Gaye also reviewed recommendations from the Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) subcommittee on August 26, 2010.

Documents on this page require Adobe Reader.

EQIP Presentation (PDF; 574 KB)
EQIP FY 2010 Eligible Practices (PDF; 273 KB)

National Ranking Tool “weightings”

KTC Recommendation: To change the weightings in the National Ranking Tool categories as follows: Efficiency from 25 percent to 10 percent, national issues from 25 percent to 25 percent (no change), state issues from 25 percent to 40 percent, and local issues 25 percent to 25 percent (no change). This change places more emphasis on state ranking criteria while de-emphasizing national ranking criteria to alleviate problems with lower state priority applications being ranked higher than they should due to higher the weighting of national issues.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Forestland Health Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To add practice 441, Irrigation System Microirrigation, for the purpose of establishing trees.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Grazing Lands Health Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To require wildlife escape ladders for watering facilities in all applications where wildlife is deemed a primary or secondary resource concern.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To add practice 561, Heavy Use Protection Area, for the purpose of providing suitable points of livestock entry to water bodies.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Cropland Health Ranking Category

KTC Recommendation: To combine the Cropland Health Ranking Category with the Water Quality Ranking Category.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Water Quality Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

Other than including Cropland Health Ranking Category resource concerns, there were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To remove management practice 595, Pest Management, on cropland.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include state ranking criteria accounting for measurable gully erosion (classic or ephemeral) – gullies must occur in all fields of an application.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Livestock Waste Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To remove management practice 595, Pest Management, on cropland.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To require 391, Riparian Forest Buffer with all 580, Streambank Protection practices.
STC Decision: To table decision until 2012. Further research is necessary to determine the effect of this requirement on all sites.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To remove Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) identified sensitive groundwater areas from the state ranking criteria.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Water Quantity Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To change 449, Irrigation Water Management (IWM), to have a payment for using IWM and one with IWM using new technology (i.e., Green Point).
STC Decision: Table decision until 2012. Further research is necessary to determine viability of new technologies.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To eliminate evapotranspiration (ET) based scheduling system wording from the irrigation water scheduling requirement.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include consideration for enrollment in a Groundwater Conservation Agreement with a Kansas Groundwater Management District (GMD) for conversions to non-irrigated.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Other Requirements

The 2008 Farm Bill requires a “reduction in ground and surface water use in the ag operation.” The 2002 Farm Bill required a “net water savings in the ag operation.” In Kansas, this was defined as “producer reports to the Division of Water Resources or water districts will be used to determine the benchmark condition of net water savings. Producers will furnish reports from the previous five years and each year during the contract. Net water savings will be an amount that is less than the average yearly water use.”

KTC Recommendation: To continue with the previous definition for the 2008 Farm Bill requirements.
STC Decision: Concurred with their recommendation.

Water Quantity – Quick Response Areas Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include consideration for enrollment in a Groundwater Conservation Agreement with a Kansas GMD for conversions to non-irrigated.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Tribal Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Wildlife Habitat Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To include the statement “OR participant has a conservation plan approved at least thirty days prior to the application cutoff date” to the local ranking criteria regarding the completion of a Self Assessment Worksheet by the participant.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Organic Ranking Category

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Contract Management Practice Limit

KTC Recommendation: To retain management practice payment limitation at $50,000/contract and $50,000/participant/ranking category.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Payment Rate Percentages

There was discussion on payment rate percentages for all practices. There was one recommendation to reduce broadcast spraying to 50 percent payment rate. Another comment indicated that 75 percent payment rate for Water Quantity practices is too high. It was the consensus to leave the payment rate percentage at 75 percent.

KTC Recommendation: To utilize a 75 percent payment rate for all practices.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Regular EQIP Allocation Distribution

There was discussion on allocation distribution for some of the ranking categories. There was a comment that more environmental benefits are realized from Water Quality treatments than are realized from Water Quantity treatments; consequently, the major portion of allocation percentage to Water Quantity needs to be moved to Water Quality. It was the consensus to go with the sub-committee recommendation of distributing Kansas 2011 EQIP allocation based on the same percentages used in 2010.

KTC Recommendation: To distribute Kansas 2011 EQIP allocation to the Kansas ranking categories in the same percentages utilized in 2010.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation (see chart below).

Ranking Category FY 2011 Recommendations
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan Conservation Activity Plans 0.5
Forestland Health 1
Grazing Lands Health 18
Livestock Waste 19.5
Sedimentation above Federal Reservoirs 5
Water Quality/Cropland Health 28
Water Quantity 8
Water Quantity - QRAs 5
Water Quality/Cropland Health - Beginning Farmer/Rancher 3
Water Quality/Cropland Health - Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher 1
Water Quality/Cropland Health - Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher 3
Grazing Lands Health - Beginning Farmer/Rancher 2
Grazing Lands Health - Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher 0.5
Grazing Lands Health - Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher 2
Tribal 0.5
Wildlife Habitat 3

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

Joni Y. Franklin, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented a PowerPoint presentation with an overview of the 2010 WHIP and accomplishments. Joni also reviewed 2008 Farm Bill policy changes and presented recommendations for 2011 WHIP.

WHIP Presentation (PDF; 491 KB)
WHIP FY 2010 Ranking Worksheet and Eligible Practices (PDF; 1 MB)

National Ranking Tool “Weightings”

KTC Recommendation: To change the weightings in the National Ranking Tool categories as follows: Efficiency from 25 percent to 10 percent, national issues from 25 percent to 25 percent (no change), state issues from 25 percent to 40 percent, and local issues 25 percent to 25 percent (no change). This change places more emphasis on state ranking criteria while de-emphasizing national ranking criteria to alleviate problems with lower state priority applications being ranked higher than they should due to higher the weighting of national issues.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Resource Concerns

There were no additions, deletions, or other recommended modifications to the proposed resource concerns.

Eligible Practices

KTC Recommendation: To include perimeter fencing for expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) under practice 382, Fence, for both EQIP and WHIP.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include management practice 528, Prescribed Grazing.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include management practice 645, Upland Wildlife Habitat Management.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To include management practice 472, Access Control.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Ranking Criteria

KTC Recommendation: To decrease the priority awarded for the WHIP Plan of Operations (WPO) acres that include an existing stand of native grass.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To revise State Ranking Question No. 3 in the following manner, “Will the WPO address brush management for priority wildlife species on all of the applicable WPO on Kansas Grasslands.”
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To revise State Ranking Question No. 4 to change the levels of infestation of a tree species with invasive potential in the following manner: a) none to low infestation, b) medium level of infestation, and c) high level of infestation.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To award priority to WPOs that will include prescribed burns.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

KTC Recommendation: To award priority to WPOs that will include vegetative establishment meeting practice 645, Upland Wildlife Habitat Management, which are greater than or equal to 10 acres.
STC Decision: Concurred with this recommendation.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Xiomara Eaves, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, provided information regarding new CSP enhancement activities for On-Farm Pilot and Research Projects.

An On-Farm Pilot Project for patch burning to be implemented on one-third of the rangeland acres each year will be included as a CSP enhancement in Kansas. This enhancement will specifically address 645, Upland Wildlife Habitat Management; 528, Prescribed Grazing; and 338, Prescribed Burning. Applicants would need to agree to enter into a system on rangeland where a portion of the grazing unit is prescribed burned in the spring and grazed during the same growing season. A NRCS grazing plan would be required and would be fully applied in three years.

An On-Farm Research Project enhancement for sericea lespedeza control will be included as a CSP enhancement in Kansas. This enhancement will be a field study to determine if fire temperatures for a two-minute period would be significant to sterilize sericea lespedeza seed. Study replications could be conducted for variables such as climatic conditions, fuel loads, burn dates, and others to determine what controls are most effective in sterilizing sericea lespedeza seed.

The KTC was informed to contact Gaye L. Benfer, ASTC Programs, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, with any other ideas for pilot projects.

Wildlife partners asked that a list of wildlife friendly enhancements be submitted to the committee so they could see what was being done already under the CSP. The following is a list of enhancements scheduled in 2010 CSP contracts (for sign ups 1 and 2).

Enhancement Practice Amount
ANM03 - Incorporate native grasses and/or legumes into 15 % or more of the herbage dry matter productivity - ac 1,507.3
ANM04 - Extend existing filter strips for water quality protection and wildlife habitat - ac 356.7
ANM05 - Extending riparian forest buffers for water quality protection and wildlife habitat - ac 0.5
ANM06 - Extending existing riparian herbaceous cover for water quality protection and wildlife habitat - ac 6.6
ANM08 - Improve the plant diversity and structure of non-cropped areas for wildlife food and habitat - ac 29.8
ANM09 - Grazing management to improve wildlife habitat - ac  28,286
ANM10 - Harvest hay in a manner that allows wildlife to flush and escape - ac 10,333.1
ANM11 – Patch burning to enhance wildlife habitat - ac 5,675.8
ANM12 - Shallow water habitat - ac 21.5
ANM15 - Forest stand improvement for habitat and soil quality - ac 85.8
ANM16 - Harvesting crops using a stripper header - ac 29,744.2
ANM17 - Monitoring nutritional status of livestock using the NUTBAL PRO System - ac 44,514
ANM18 - Retrofit watering facility for wildlife escape - no  226
ANM19 - Wildlife corridors - ac 8.7
ANM21 - Prairie Restoration for Grazing and Wildlife Habitat - ac 45.9
ANM22 - Restoration and Management of Rare or Declining Habitats - ac 2
ANM23 - Multi-species Native Perennials for Biomass/Wildlife Habitat - ac 5
ANM24 – Upland Forest Wildlife Structures - ac 47.8
BRA01 - Range Enhancement Bundle #1 - ac 777
PLT01 - Establish Pollinator Habitat - ac 114.4
PLT06 - Renovation of a windbreak or shelter belt, or hedgerow for wildlife habitat - ac 2
SQL06 - Conversion of cropped land to grass-based agriculture for biomass or forage production and wildlife habitat- ac 414.2

Attendees

  • Barb Oltjen, State Association of Kansas Watersheds
  • Terry Medley, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)
  • Kerry Wedel, KDHE
  • Susan Metzger, Kansas Water Office (KWO)
  • Jeff Keating, Department of Army
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Chris Beightel, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources (KDA-DWR)
  • Dara Paull, KDA-DWR
  • Andrew Lyon, KDA-DWR
  • Jan Windscheffel, Netafim USA Precision Irrigation
  • Sue Schulte, Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Association
  • Kent Askren, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Barth Crouch, Playa Lakes Joint Venture
  • Tim Christian, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy, Kansas
  • Steve Sorensen, Kansas Wildlife Federation
  • Matt Smith, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP)
  • Mike Disney, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association
  • Wes Essmiller, Kansas Ground Water Management District No. 5
  • Mark Rude, Kansas Ground Water Management District No. 3
  • Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas
  • Damon Frizzell, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Tom Wellinton, Nicodemus Historical Society/Kansas Black Farmers Association
  • Rich McKee, Kansas Livestock Association
  • Tim Boese, Ground Water Management District No. 2/Equus Beds
  • Cal Adams, Smoky Hills Grazers
  • Bob Atchison, Kansas Forrest Service
  • Larry Rutter, Kansas Tree Farm Commission
  • Luke Cory, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Rob Reschke, State Conservation Commission
  • Harold Klaege, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams
  • Eric Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Gaye Benfer, NRCS
  • Jon Ungerer, NRCS
  • Xiomara Eaves, NRCS
  • Joni Franklin, NRCS
  • Joel Willhoft, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS