Skip Navigation

Kansas Technical Committee Minutes—July 20, 2016

Kansas Technical Committee Meeting
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Natural Resources Conservation Service Conference Room
747 Duvall, Salina, Kansas

The meeting was called to order by Monty R. Breneman, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Salina, Kansas.

Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist (STC), NRCS, Salina, Kansas, made introductions of members and opening remarks.

Bruce K. Wells, Assistant State Conservationist for Water Resources, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, provided an update on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

Presentation - ACEP (PDF; 620 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for ACEP Wetland Reserve (WRE) Easements are as follows:

Include an additional footnote or clarifier under section A (4) to further explain and define habitat diversity and complexity.

STC Decision: Footnote will be added to ranking worksheet.

Designate additional points on the ranking worksheet for playa regions as a priority.

STC Decision: Ranking worksheet will be updated to add ranking points for the playa region of Kansas.

Set a minimum threshold for funding ACEP-WRE applications on a continuous basis. If funding is available and more applications come in; if the ranking worksheet is greater than 49 points it would be considered for continuous funding.

STC Decision: Continuous funding will be implemented for ACEP-WRE for fiscal year (FY) 17 for applications with ranking worksheets greater than 49 points.

Minimum easement size. That minimum easement acres remain at greater than 10 acres. Exceptions to easement size would be considered for the following conditions:

  1. Offer parcel is contiguous to an existing wetland easement.
  2. Offer parcel is part of a larger, multi-owner WRE application.
  3. Offer parcel is contiguous to state or federal lands or other perpetual easement areas.

STC Decision: 10 acres will be considered minimum size for ACEP-WRE easements unless offer parcel meets one of the exceptions to size.

Retain the current practice list for FY16 for FYI7.

STC Decision: ACEP-WRE practice list will be same list of practices used in FY16 for FY17.

Upland to Wetland ratio–recommended that Kansas allow a waiver to the 1:1 upland to wetland ratio in the following amounts by areas as stated: 4:1 maximum in western Kansas (playa wetlands, Area 1 on GARC map) and 2:1 in central Kansas (salt marshes and depressional wetlands, Area 2 on GARC map). The remainder of the state would need to meet the 1:1 ratio unless a special waiver exception is approved by the STC.

STC Decision: Upland to wetland ratios as stated will be used for FY17.

That Kansas continue using Area Wide Market Analysis (AWMA) for establishing GARCs for ACEP-WRE easement valuation.

STC Decision: AWMA will be used for ACEP-WRE valuation for FY17.

Maintain and keep the existing templates with a revision to the temporary structure compatible use authorization (CUA) and management guidelines to reflect the current ACEP manual definition. These templates are:

  1. Food Plots
  2. Haying
  3. Prescribed Burning
  4. Temporary Structures (with recommended revision)
  5. Trail Mowing
  6. Vegetation Management
  7. Water Level Management

Develop a prescribed grazing CUA template.

STC Decision: STC concurred with recommendation by KTC with regards to CUAs.

Consideration for some flexibility to the approved prescribed burning dates; specifically burning later of cool season grass suspension is the goal.

STC Decision: STC will allow for flexibility to prescribed burning dates as determined reasonable by Resources staff.

The reservation of grazing rights be offered in the playa and salt marsh wetlands regions which includes GARC areas 1 and 2 with the exceptions of Washington, Clay, Dickinson, and Marion counties.

STC Decision: Reserved grazing rights will be made available as stated for FY17.

That playas be considered as priority geographic regions on the state ranking form.

STC Decision: Already covered under previous item.

Monty R. Breneman, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented an update on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Presentation - RCPP (PDF; 781 KB)

Kasey M. Robinson, Acting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Program Manager, NRCS, Scott City, Kansas, presented an update on CSP.

Presentation - CSP (PDF; 536 KB)

Joel A. Willhoft, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Program Manager, NRCS, Hays, Kansas, presented an update on the EQIP.

Presentation - EQIP (PDF; 406 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for EQIP are as follows:

EQIP Fund Allocation Percentage Ratios

Increase the amount of dollars allocated to the Sedimentation above Federal Reservoirs (SFR) ranking category by one of these methods for FY17:

  1. Reduce Livestock Waste funding from 20% to 10% of total allocations and divide that 10% reduction as follows:
    1. Increase SFR from 5% allocation to 10%
    2. Increase Water Quality from 18% to 23%
  2. Reduce Water Quality from 18% to 13% and place the 5% allocation difference into SFR.

STC Decision: General EQIP Ranking Category allocation percentages will remain the same as the previous program year.

EQIP Payment Rates

Current payment rate is 75% of EQIP Practice Payment Schedule costs. Recommendations to change the payment rate are as follows:

  1. Leave percentage at the current 75% rate
  2. Leave percentage at the current 75% rate and allow localities to decide percentage
  3. Reduce to 66%
  4. Reduce to 70%

STC Decision: The EQIP payment rate will be reduced to 60%. This decision will be re-evaluated during the 2017 program year to determine impacts and need for adjustment in future years.

Wildlife Habitat Ranking Category

Adopt changes to the Wildlife Ranking Category as presented by Matt Smith, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Incorporated changes will:

  1. Remove current additional ranking requirements
  2. Expand primary resource concerns
  3. Provide additional practices
  4. Focus efforts on priority landscapes
  5. Simplify ranking process

Presentation - Wildlife Ranking Category Recommendations (PDF; 848 KB)

STC Decision: The EQIP Wildlife Ranking Category will be revised as recommended.

Water Quality Ranking Category

Modify state ranking question #5 to include higher points for total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) addressing siltation, phosphorus, and eutrophication; and lower points for TMDLs addressing dissolved oxygen, E. coli, and fecal coliform bacteria.

STC Decision: State ranking question #5 will be modified as recommended.

Modify state ranking question #8 to target points for Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) priority sub-watershed, with sediment runoff Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT model).

STC Decision: State ranking question #8 will be modified as recommended.

Reduce the points given for local ranking question #4 regarding conservation plan request prior to August 31, 2016, and move point allocation to other local questions.

STC Decision: Local ranking question #4 will remain unchanged.

Provide higher ranking favor for local ranking question #6 regarding limiting livestock or managing access to streams.

STC Decision: Local ranking question #6 will be modified as recommended.

Reduce the number of points for local ranking question #5 regarding deferred applications to help ensure higher priority projects are funded first.

STC Decision: Local ranking question #5 will remain unchanged.

Sedimentation above Federal Reservoirs Ranking Category

Reduce the number of points for state ranking question #2 regarding Kansas Water Office (KWO) priority watersheds by 20% and apply these points to increase state ranking question #3 regarding location within the watershed drainage.

STC Decision: State ranking question #2 will be modified as recommended.

Include state ranking criteria to target points for WRAPS priority sub-watersheds with sediment runoff (SWAT model).

STC Decision: State ranking will be modified as recommended.

Modify state ranking question #6 to include high priority TMDLs for siltation instead of total suspended solids.

STC Decision: State ranking question #6 will be modified as recommended.

Reduce the points given for local ranking question #4 regarding conservation plan request prior to August 31, 2016, and move point allocation to other local questions.

STC Decision: Local ranking question #4 will remain unchanged.

Reduce the number of points for local ranking question #5 regarding deferred applications to help ensure higher priority projects are funded first.

STC Decision: Local ranking question #5 will remain unchanged.

Forestland Health Ranking Category

Add the following practices to the ranking category eligible practice list:

  1. CP 381 – Silvopasture Establishment
  2. CP 311 – Alley Cropping
  3. CP 340 – Cover Crop

STC Decision: Recommended practices will be added as Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) Standards allow.

Water Quantity Ranking Category

Remove additional ranking requirements for minimum use criteria of 66% and criteria for 5-year average use of 8 inches/acre. Instead, establish ranking priority based on this criteria; i.e., High, Medium, and Low.

STC Decision: Additional ranking requirement for 66% minimum use and 5-year average use of 8 inches/acre will be removed AND a ranking priority will be established based on this criteria.

Adjust ranking questions to include consideration for higher producing wells.

STC Decision: Ranking consideration for higher producing wells will be incorporated.

Provide ranking consideration for applications located in a Water Conservation Area in equal consideration to the points already being provided for Local Enhancement Management Areas (LEMAs) and Intensive Groundwater Use Control Areas (IGUCAs) in state ranking question #8.

STC Decision: State ranking question #8 will be modified as recommended.

Add a ranking criteria for certain areas where habitat is considered.

STC Decision: Ranking criteria will include questions for wildlife habitat improvement.

Grazing Lands Health Ranking Category

Add an exception for hay land uses to the additional ranking requirement for boundary fences.

STC Decision: Pastureland uses with hay land modifier will be exempt from the additional ranking requirement for boundary fences.

Ensure applications with Conservation Practice (CP) 528, Prescribed Grazing, scheduled for 3 years rank higher than all other applications. Provide ranking favor for CP 338, Prescribed Burning, when designed for brush management or scheduled after brush management.

STC Decision: Ranking priority for this ranking category will be modified to include CP 528, Prescribed Grazing (3 years Financial Assistance (FA) and CP 338, Prescribed Burning (scheduled after brush management) as HIGH priority.

Place a 3-year requirement for grazing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) if fenced.

STC Decision: Eligible expired CRP including a boundary fence will be required to achieve 3 years of financially assisted CP 528, Prescribed Grazing.

Include fish and wildlife as a secondary resource concern in the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.

STC Decision: The Grazing Land Health ranking category will not include secondary resource concerns for wildlife. Applications addressing wildlife habitat needs can be received under the Wildlife Habitat Ranking Category.

Attendees:

  • Barth Crouch, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
  • Matt Smith, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT)
  • Orrin Feril, Groundwater Management District (GMD) No. 5
  • Mark Nelson, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Jeff Keating, Fort. Riley, Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas
  • Terry Medley, Kansas Department of Agriculture – Division of Water Resources (KDA-DWR)
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Doug Helmke, Kansas Rural Water
  • Steve Sorensen, Kansas Wildlife Federation
  • Eric B. Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Lynn E. Thurlow, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Daniel Baffa, Smokey Hills Audubon
  • Ken Kepp, Kansas Rural Water Association
  • Kolt Bevan, Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas
  • Tracy Streeter, Kansas Water Office
  • Monty R. Breneman, NRCS
  • Bruce K. Wells, NRCS
  • Stephen M. Sprick, NRCS
  • Troy J. Munsch, NRCS
  • Daniel H. Meyerhoff, NRCS
  • Kasey M. Robinson, NRCS
  • Joel A. Willhoft, NRCS
  • Sharla M. Schwien, NRCS
  • Joe Kramer, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) & Ducks Unlimited
  • Tracey L. Burgess, NRCS
  • Dennis J. Wieberg, NRCS
  • Bob Culbertson, KAWS
  • Kris Knight, TNC
  • Chris Berens, KDWPT
  • Katie Miller, Land Owner, Kansas Basin Regional Advisory Committee
  • Rob Reschke, Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Conservation
  • Jesse McCurry, National Sorghum Producers
  • Bob Atchison, Kansas Forest Service
  • Michael Disney, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Stephanie Royer, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts Employee Organization
  • Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association
  • Larry Biles, Kansas Forest Service
  • Andrew Lyon, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Trevor Ahring, GMD No. 3
  • Cal Adams, Smokey Hills Grazing Associtation