Every day is Earth Day at NRCS. Since 1935, NRCS has worked with farmers and private land owners throughout Rhode Island to advance conservation of our natural resources. This Conservation Showcase spotlights conservation success stories where NRCS and its partners work together with Rhode Island farmers and forest land owners to protect the Nation's soil, water, animals, plants, and air.
The national initiative promotes the collaboration of gardens integrated within the community and includes practices to benefit the environment. Both gardens provide education on low maintenance gardening.
Dr. Homer Wilkes, NRCS Acting Associate Chief visited Rhode Island on May 1, 2012 to represent NRCS at the Rhode Island Energy and Environmental Leaders Day which was held at the University of Rhode Island's Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Building where well over 150 attendees from the public and private sectors convened to discuss the importance of the health and protection of our oceans, rivers, and drinking water. Dr. Wilkes was one of four distinguished panelists who addressed "Watershed Management: Protecting the Ocean State's Waterways".
Blackbird Farm selects top quality Black Angus cows known for their production quality to yield large ribeyes with excellent marbleizing attributes. Much of the farm's success is the result of proper animal care and a quest for top Black Angus cows. Under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Natural Resources Conservation Service worked with Kevin and Ann Marie Bouthillette to address several natural resource concerns including water quality, animal health, pasture conditions, and erosion since 2002.
Wright's Dairy Farm in North Smithfield, Rhode Island received the award based on the quality of animal care, implementation of progressive procedures on the farm, and quality products sold at its retail store. NRCS has a long history working with the Wrights to implement several conservation practices on the farm through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
In August 2011, the waters of the Pawtuxet River rushed over the natural bedrock falls at the river's mouth, entering salty Narragansett Bay unimpeded for the first time in well over 100 years. The restoration of the free-flowing river was the result of the largest ecological dam removal project yet undertaken in Rhode Island.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 marked the completion of four floodplain easement projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program- Floodplain Easements, NRCS purchased permanent floodplain easements on floodplain lands and paid 100 percent of the cost to restore and enhance each floodplain's natural functions. Such projects provide several positive benefits including economic, safety and environmental.
On Monday, June 6, 2011, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley joined U.S. Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Governor Chaffee, Providence Mayor Taveras, and local students at Riverside Park to highlight the America's Great Outdoors Initiative which promotes land and water conservation and reconnecting Americans with the outdoors.
The Northern Rhode Island Conservation District (NRICD) recently partnered with NRCS to design portable vegetable garden planters which are located at the district office in Johnston, Rhode Island. The garden is the result of USDA's 'The People's Garden' initiative where well over 1,200 gardens have been planted across the nation since 2009.
The Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts conducted a conservation tour for U.S. Senator Whitehouse and his staff on Tuesday, April 25, 2011. The tour highlighted several projects throughout Rhode Island.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) participated in the U.S. Senator Whitehouse tour of the Narragansett Bay Commission's (NBC) Bucklin Point facility on May 13, 2011 where Senator Whitehouse discussed legislation he recently introduced which would support research, pollution reduction, and protection efforts by NBC and other Rhode Island organizations.
Emma Acres in Exeter, RI recently received the New England Green Pastures Award which recognizes it as Rhode Island's 2010 Dairy Farm of the Year based on quality animal care, implementation of conservation practices, and high quality dairy products. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided conservation planning and financial assistance to the farm in order to address conservation issues. Funding was provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Ferolbink Farm is a 150 aces family owned farm located on the shores of the Sakonnet River and Fogland Marsh in Tiverton, RI that has been working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Eastern Conservation District for approximately 50 years. Over the years, the farm has been under considerable developmental pressures.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) played a major role in the campaign to save Wicks Nursery from residential development through financial support for a $2 million perpetual conservation easement which protects nearly 40 acres of farmland. The conservation easement involved collaboration among several parties including six Wicks siblings, the Aquidneck Land Trust, State of Rhode Island, town of Portsmouth, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), six foundations, one homeowners' association and almost 90 individuals.
In recent years, the Rhode Island Natural Resources Conservation Service has been at the forefront of soil survey mapping efforts in the shallow sub-tidal environment (subaqueous soils), and along the coastal zone (Coastal Zone Soil Survey). Rhode Island has become the first State to have an officially published coastal zone soil survey.