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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes - September 26, 2013

Kansas Technical Committee Minutes
Thursday—September 26, 2013
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
NRCS Conference Center
747 Duvall
Salina, Kansas

Xiomara Tryban, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, introduced Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist (STC), Natural Resources Conservationist (NRCS), Salina, Kansas, to call the Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) meeting to order. Eric welcomed members, made introductions, and discussed the purpose of the meeting. Eric asked Xiomara to introduce herself and give her overall background. Eric then turned the meeting over to Chad G. Volkman, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas.

The NRCS participants for panel: Dean Krehbiel, Xiomara Tryban, Corey Nelson, Chad Volkman, and Harold Blume.

Documents shared during the KTC meeting are posted along the with the minutes.

National, Landscape, and Pilot Initiatives—Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Accomplishments

Chad Volkman presented his PowerPoint on the following:

  • Initiatives
    • Organic
    • Seasonal High Tunnel
    • National Water Quality (NWQ)
    • Edge-of-Field Monitoring
    • Cooperative Conservation Partnership
    • Ogallala Aquifer
    • Drought Recovery
  • Pilots
    • Water Quantity and Drought
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)—Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LPC)

Presentation: National, Landscape, and Pilot Initiatives (PDF; 716 KB)

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)


Corey L. Nelson, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented the following EQIP recommendations.

Presentation: Kansas State Technical Committee, September 26, 2013 (PDF; 1.6 MB)

KTC Recommendation:
Steve Swaffar, Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB), recommended that we remove the following from the EQIP ranking criteria.

  • All state-issue ranking questions will be answered “No” for applicants who have had cancelled and terminated EQIP contracts in the past.

STC Decision:
The ranking question will be kept.

Soil Health

KTC Recommendation:
On behalf of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Kansas Water Office and Department of Agriculture Division of Conservation (DOA/DOC)
Jaime Gaggero, KDHE, (via email) recommended the following to be added to the Soil Health ranking category:

  • Water Quality Degradation—Nutrients in Surface Water and Water Quality Degradation—Excessive Sediment in Surface Water be added as primary resource concerns.
  • Request that the Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) map for cropland be added.
  • Request that a high priority total maximum daily load (TMDL) map for Total Suspended Sediment (TSS) be added.
  • Request the Kansas Water Office (KWO) sedimentation of FED Reservoir map be added.

Since ten percent of the water quality allocation was moved to Soil Health, request that any unobligated funds in the Soil Health category be used towards the water quality category as opposed to general EQIP.
STC Decision:
Funds will be moved appropriately and per statue the NRCS will achieve 60 percent of the funds for livestock.

Water Quality

KTC Recommendation:
On behalf of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Kansas Water Office and Department of Agriculture Division of Conservation (DOA/DOC) Jaime Gaggero, KDHE, (via email) recommended that the TMDL for E. Coli map, the High Priority TSS map, and the High Priority Eutrophication TMDL map be added to the Water Quality Ranking category.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

Water Quantity

KTC Recommendations:
Jan Windsheffel, NETAFIM, recommended adding converting from an inefficient sprinkler system to Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) as a conservation practice (CP) component to CP Code 441, Irrigation System, Micro Irrigation.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendations:
Susan Stover, KWO, recommended changes to the Water Quantity state-ranking question # 3.

Proposed Water Quantity Recommendations (PDF; 299 KB)

STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendations:
Susan Stover, Ground Management Districts (GMDs) 1 and 5, Division of Water Resources (DWR), and DOC recommended adding Local Environmental Management Areas (LEMAs) in the Water Quantity ranking criteria for additional ranking points.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendations:
KTC recommendations per Susan Stover, KWO: multi-year flex account (modified in 2012) response to drought are based on a 5-year average. These should be used to determine benchmark conditions for water use in the Ag operation.
STC Decision:
This will be considered for FY2015.

Water Quantity Quick Response Areas (QRAs)

QRAs are high priority aquifer areas.

  • Must be in state designated QRA and converting to dry land and ALL acres under the water right.
  • Product reports from the Division of Water Resources (DWR) or water districts will be used to determine the benchmark condition of net water savings. Producers will furnish reports from the previous 5 years and each year during the contract.
  • Application water usage for the water rights must meet or exceed the minimum use guideline of 66 percent. Of the years irrigated, the application acres must have been irrigated at an average rate of at least six-acre inches/acres/year.
  • Producer must ensure proper wellhead protection for groundwater protection.
  • Producer will verify that water savings (water rights) will not be used elsewhere for Ag use or any other purposes. All acres under the water right/well will be taken out of irrigation for the contract period.
  • No state issue points are awarded to any applicant who has cancelled or terminated an EQIP contract.

KTC Recommendation:
Susan Stover, KWO, recommended changes to the Water Quantity QRA state ranking question # 2.

Proposed Water Quantity QRA Recommendations (PDF; 303 KB)

STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendations:
Steve Swaffar, KFB, recommended adding conservation activity plan (CAP) 114, Integrated Pest Management Plan to the Water Quantity QRAs ranking category.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

Forestland Health

No comments made.

Wildlife Habitat

KTC Recommendation:
Jeff Keating, Department of the Army, recommends adding the Regal Fritillary butterfly as an additional species to Wildlife Habitat ranking category.
STC Decision:
The butterfly will not be added as a species to the Wildlife Habitat ranking category.

Grazing Lands Health

KTC Recommendation:
On behalf of the KDHE, the KWO, and the DOA/DOC, Jaime Gaggero, KDHE, (via email) recommended the Kansas WRAPS map for livestock targeted areas be added to the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendation:
Ron Klastaske, Audubon of Kansas; Steve Swaffar, KFB; Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy; and Orrin Feril, GMD #5, recommended not removing the secondary resource concern of Fish and Wildlife‒Inadequate Habitat (Threatened and Endangered Species, Declining Species, Species of Concern Addressed as a Special Environmental Concern) from the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.
STC Decision:
The second resource will be removed. The resource concern can be addressed under the Wildlife Habitat ranking category with another application.

KTC Recommendation:
John Bond, Kansas Alliance of Wetlands and Streams, via email, recommended that more points are given to landowners with red cedar, locust, and Osage orange species to help address their invasion of our native prairies. John observes them as one of the biggest threats at this time.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendation:
Ron Klataske recommended adding points for addressing old world blue stem invasion in the Grazing Lands Health ranking criteria.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendation:
Tim Christian, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC), made a recommendation to replace the Grazing Lands Health state ranking question #7 related to enrolling in a Kansas Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) with developing a contingency ranch or grazing plan meant to strategically identify specific actions; to be taken by the land manager in the event of adverse climatic events; which immolates best stewardship practices and decisions.

Proposed KGLC Ranking Recommendation (PDF; 68 KB)

STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendation:
KDHE recommended adding the Water Quality Degradation—Excessive Sediment in Surface Water resource concern under Grazing Lands Health.
STC Decision:
This will be considered for FY2015.

Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs

KTC Recommendations:
On behalf of KDHE, KWO, and DOA/DOC, Jaime Gaggero, KDHE, (via email) recommended that the funding allocation for Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs be restored back to 5 percent, consistent with FY2012.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

Livestock Waste

New waste storage facilities can no longer be funded per Title 440, Conservation Programs Manual, Part 515, Section 515.81 D (7).
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

KTC Recommendations:
On behalf of KDHE, KWO, and DOA/DOC, Jaime Gaggero, KDHE, (via email) recommended adding the High Priority Eutrophication TMDL map and the High and Medium Priority Dissolved Oxygen TMDL map be added to the Livestock Waste ranking category.
STC Decision:
The STC supports the recommendation.

Attendees:

  • Jan Windsheffel, NETAFIM
  • Cal Adams, Smoky Hills Graziers
  • Terry Medley, KDHE
  • Scott Satterthwaite, KDHE
  • Jeff Neel, KAWS
  • Luke Cory, Corps of Engineers
  • Ron Brown, KACD/RC&D
  • Brenda Peters, KACD/EO
  • Don Jones, DOC
  • Tim Christian, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
  • Barth Crouch, Playa Lakes Joint Venture
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jan King, Western Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 1
  • Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas
  • Joe Kramer, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT)
  • Tony Ifland, USFWS PFW
  • Rich McKee, Kansas Livestock Association
  • Susan Metzger, Kansas Water Office (KWO)
  • Susan Stover, KWO
  • Dan Devlin, Kansas State University
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Steve Schaff, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association
  • Steve Swaffar, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Kent Askren, KFB
  • Jeff Keating, Department of the Army
  • Orrin Feril, Groundwater Management District No. 5
  • Eric Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Harold Blume, NRCS
  • Xiomara Tryban, NRCS
  • Corey Nelson, NRCS
  • Kristen Chaffin, NRCS
  • Chad Volkman, NRCS
  • Lynn Thurlow, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Mark Janzen, NRCS

Questions and Answers

Jan Windsheffel—Payment cap for subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) $650. Can cap be raised to $750?

  • The payment cap was established at the request of SDI equipment dealers and was only for field installations; their reason was that owners that are willing to invest more of their own money tend to take better care of the system in Operation and Maintenance (O&M).
  • Total scenario cost fiscal year (FY) 2014 is $2,373.47 and 75 percent is $1,780.10, so at $750 the cap would be 31.6 percent of total scenario cost, which is a 4.2 percent increase.

Ron Klataske—Why is wildlife not a secondary resource concern under water quantity?

  • This is due to ensuring that producers who are focused on water quantity focus solely on addressing that concern first, producers will need to decide what the sole priority concern is they want to address.

Susan Metzger and Susan Stover —

  1. What about considering average of total under water quantity?
    • This can be considered for next year.
  2. From irrigated to dry land is a meter required/water quantity?
    • No, only if irrigation is occurring.

Steve Swaffar—Wants a list of new resource concerns versus old resource concerns.
 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—If the wildlife ranking criteria is removed:

  1. Would they have to sign another application to address wildlife?
    • Yes. Another application may be signed to address the wildlife concern.
  2. Why does grazing lands not address wildlife any longer?
    • This will ensure the producers address the primary concern instead of applying into two different categories, and then dropping one application when it’s not funded that has the same conservation practice (CP) in both applications.
  3. Why is the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI) not included in the wildlife category?
    • The LPCI is not included in wildlife category due to it being a specific initiative.

Scott Satterthwaite

  1. Underground outlets—How do these work?
    • They convey water from one location (typically a terrace) to another location through a pipe buried in the ground. The inlet is typically a stand pipe which is perforated. On a terrace system, the inlet is typically connected to one outlet pipe that is outletted at a safe location. The underground outlet would replace a waterway in this terrace system example.
  2. How does a structure for water control/Water and Sediment Control Basin (WASCOB) work?
    • An embankment is constructed to hold back the water and a pipe outlet is installed through the embankment. This allows the water to be released at a slower rate, which provides time for the solids/sediment being transported in the water to settle out in the basin area provided by the embankment. A WASCOB could include an underground outlet to release the water and could be used with terraces.