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Wetland Easement Helps Create Wildlife Legacy

Wetland Easement Helps Create Wildlife Legacy

Farmers Sherie and Nathan Hudson of Pepperbox Farm in Sussex County are experiencing multiple benefits from enrolling their wet, marginal farmland into a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) permanent easement. After years of clearing many acres for their row crop and swine operations the family wanted to do something good for the environment. The Hudsons worked with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to install multiple conservation practices on 128 acres of their cropland and woodlands to restore its wetland functions and optimize wildlife habitat.

Today, they are noticing more deer, turkey, quail, and rabbits. Nathan Hudson said, “Our plan is to develop a premier wildlife recreational area to be passed down from generation to generation, to provide recreational hunting for my family.”

Delaware farmers interested in protecting and restoring their wetlands or grasslands are encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). Applicants should submit their applications no later than March 15, 2013 to their local USDA NRCS Service Centerto be considered for funding in fiscal year 2013.

WRP & GRP News Release–

Newly constructed shallow pond immediately provides habitat areas for migratory geese. Future native tree and grass plantings will further provide additional habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, while improving water quality.

30 Day Comment Period Open for 590 Nutrient Management Standard

USDA NRCS in Delaware is currently accepting comments for Delaware's 590 Nutrient Management Practice Standard. Please send any comments to Sally Kepfer at no later than Thursday, February 21, 2013.

Unlocking the Secrets to Healthy Soil

NRCS Soil Conservationist David Lamm, with the East National Technology Center in NC, traveled to Delaware to educate participants at the 2013 Ag Week on the importance of healthy soils and demonstrate ways to manage them. Lamm opened with a Slake test, in which a clod of healthy, no-tilled soil and a clod of conventionally-tilled soil are each placed in a tube and filled with water.

The no-till soil allows all the water to infiltrate, which is good for production and the environment; the other one does not allow the water to infiltrate efficiently, which would increase run off, put nutrients into the nearest waterway, and reduce water availability to crops.

NRCS’ new effort, “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” seeks to highlight the benefits and management techniques of soil health management systems so that more farmers will have assistance in adopting the methods that improve soil health. For more information on how to improve your soil’s health, contact your local USDA Service Center. 

More on Soil Health–

The healthy, no-till soil (right) allows water to infiltrate down the soil profile when water is poured in the tube, while the conventionally tilled soil (left) does not. 

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Distributed January 29, 2013

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