Sharing the latest news from the New Hampshire Natural Resources Conservation Service and our partners
Sent via e-mail August 16, 2012
Celebrating the USDA's 150th Anniversary
Over 250 people gathered at the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire to celebrate USDAï¿½s 150th Anniversary. Hosts Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson opened their farm for the celebration. Judith Canales, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, delivered the keynote address. State Conservationist Rick Ellsmore of the NH Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was among the USDA leaders who represented the Farm Service Agency, US Forest Service (USFS), and National Agricultural Statistics Service. Other guests included Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Dept of Agriculture, Marketing and Food and Jeff Homes, President of the NH Farm Bureau. Representatives of Senator Shaheen, Senator Ayotte, Congressman Guinta and Congressman Bass relayed the legislators' good wishes for the continued success of the USDA and lauded its accomplishments over the past 150 years.
Following the speeches, Terry Miller and Tom Wagner of USFS and Rick Ellsmore presented "Two Chiefs" awards to partners and individuals for their conservation work in the White Mountains National Forest and the Upper Ammonoosuc and Israel River Watersheds. NH-NRCS's Don Keirstead, Technical Resource Specialist for Ecology, was among the recipients.
The event included conservation tour stops, a farmers' market, music by a local band, and commemoration of the new People's Garden at the Miles Smith Farm.
Click here for photos, provided by the US Forest Service
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program Working on Stream Habitat in Carroll County
Carroll County - Tin Mountain Conservation Center (TMCC) is conducting fish, macroinvertibrate, and insect monitoring on Sanborn Stream, which has been treated with the NRCS Stream Habitat Enhancement practice. Approximately 2,000 feet of this stream was treated last year, and there is presently a new EQIP contract to treat 3,000 more feet of this stream. This will nearly cover the entire stream from its source on Great Pond to the confluence of the Wonolancet River.
Photo: Mike Cline (Executive Director), Dick Fortin (naturalist), and Justin (summer intern) of Tin Mountain Conservation Center electrofishing
The treatments of creating a series of small log dams by placing trees from outside the riparian buffer in strategic locations in the stream has resulted in the following changes to the stream:
- Reactivating the floodplain
- Creating a better pool/riffle ratio
- Creating hiding places for fish, which decrease predation by minks
- Increasing the depth of pools resulting in higher levels of dissolved oxygen and allowing deeper unfrozen sections of stream for winter survival of fish
- Increasing the nutrient content of the stream, thus increasing the populations of macroinvertebrates and insects which are food for the fish
Although the data have not yet been analyzed from the electrofishing census before the treatments, it is the general consensus that there are more and bigger fish in this and the other streams that have been treated as part of this initiative. Brook trout and spiny sculpins are the majority species of fish that have been captured and released after the electroshocking and measuring.
Approximately 3 miles of stream has been treated so far, with another 2 miles under contract in Carroll County.
During electrofishing, fish are shocked with a battery-powered pole and wand. The shocked fish are captured in nets, placed in buckets, and measured before they are released into the stream. Monitoring of fish length, weight and population densities are being done by TMCC.
Photo: Mike Cline, Dick Fortin, Justin, and Nels Liljedahl collecting weight measurements of the shocked fish
Watershed on Wheels In the fall of 2010, the Silvio O. Conte Refuge launched a new mobile visitor center known as the Watershed On Wheels, or WOW Express. Visit this website to hear from New Hampshire landowners, District Conservationists, and for the calendar of when WOW will be visiting you.
August is a month to celebrate local agriculture and local food
Summer is flying by and we will soon be heading into fall. For some, the end of August also signals the beginning of another school year. This is true for our interns - Abygail, Bethany, Sinor, Tegan, and Tomi. Many of you may not have met them, but our interns have contributed greatly to the work of our agency, and several of them will be staying with us into the fall. This month, we'll highlight Bethany. An Environmental Conservation Studies major at the University of New Hampshire, Bethany spent this past summer working in the State Office. She was a key member of the Technology Team, assisting Don and Brandon with various projects including turtle monitoring, GIS mapping, and field trials for agronomy practices.
Bethany writes: "While working with Brandon, I met with many participants and partners in NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) under EQIP is quite small in comparison to other NRCS programs and was likewise a small portion of my experience; however, it was my favorite part of my internship. The CIG program provides funding to nongovernmental organizations and individuals to develop or enhance conservation practices or technology. CIG gives ordinary people a chance to develop big ideas. The grant program also facilitates community contribution to the repertoire of conservation practices the NRCS can offer. Along with getting a peek at the grant review process, I also had the chance to meet several CIG awardees and visit the sites of their projects. The most intriguing project I saw was at White Gates Farm in Tamworth, NH where the farm manager ran water pipes through compost piles and under the ground of his greenhouse to transfer the natural heat of decomposition to warm his crop beds. CIG was an unexpected and enlightening aspect of this federal agency and made me proud to be a part of it." Read more of Bethany's story here (53 KB, pdf).
Bethany is now on her way to Spain for a semester abroad, and we wish her well!
Do you enjoy learning about New Hampshire's natural history and resources? Are you concerned about the future of the state's forest, wildlife, and water resources? Become a Natural Resources Steward
The next 13-session course beginson September 7, at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth. Sessions are on Fridays and run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Natural Resources Steward Program is sponsored by UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Division of Forests and Lands, and Great Bay Community College in partnership with several other natural resources agencies. In addition to being a volunteer program, the course can be taken for college credit.
If you believe that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) improperly denied farm loan benefits to you between 1981 and 2000 because you are Hispanic, or because you are female, you may be eligible to apply for compensation. Read more at: https://farmerclaims.gov/FarmerClaims/farmer.do