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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes—May 4, 2017

Kansas Technical Committee Meeting
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Natural Resources Conservation 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, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, made introductions of members and opening remarks.

Monty R. Breneman, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, NRCS, Kansas, provided a review of the purpose of Kansas Technical Committee (KTC) meetings.

Lynn E. Thurlow, Soil Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, provided an update on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

Presentation - ACEP (PDF; 2.8 MB)

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

Increase ranking points for permanent easement applications and applications that include restoration practices.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Add playas to the priority geographic regions as a priority area for ranking.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Set a minimum threshold of greater than 49 points for funding applications on a continuing basis.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Set minimum easement size at greater than 10 acres per parcel.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Retain the current practice list for fiscal year (FY) 18.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Upland to Wetland ratio, recommend that Kansas continue to allow a waiver to the 1: 1 upland to wetland ratio in the following amounts of areas as stated: 4: 1 maximum in western Kansas (playa wetlands) and 2: 1 in central Kansas (salt marshes and digressional wetlands). This would be documented individually for each application. All others would need to meet the 1: 1 ratio unless they meet an exception, including Eastern Kansas.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Continue using Area Wide Market Analysis (AWMA) for establishing GARCs for ACEP-WRE easement valuation.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Add a grazing compatible use agreement (CUA) template to the existing CUA templates.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Recommendations from KTC for ACEP – Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) are as follows:

Continue using the existing ranking worksheet with no changes from the previous year.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Continue to use the minimum score of 120 points for funding consideration.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Do not establish priority areas for ACEP-ALE.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Under the protection of grazing lands eligibility criteria, consider the entire state as historically dominated by grasslands.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Incorporate changes to Kansas definition for “Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Sharla M. Schwien, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented an update on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  

Presentation - RCPP (PDF;  801 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for RCCP are as follows:

Incorporate Conservation Practice 580, Streambank and Shoreline Protection, back in the eligible EQIP practice list.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation with the understanding that Practice Code 580 will initially only be an eligible practice in the Kansas Forest Service RCPP agreement beginning in fiscal year 2018.

Kasey M. Robinson, Resource Conservationist, NRCS, Salina, Kansas, presented an update on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Presentation - CSP (PDF; 923 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for CSP are as follows:

Make no changes to the CSP state ranking questions for 2018.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Use the following local ranking questions:

  1. Does the application include conservation activities that will address one or more of the identified targeted resource concerns listed in the Kansas resource assessment?  Select one of the following:
    1. All five targeted resource concerns will be addressed.
    2. Four targeted resource concerns will be addressed.
    3. Three targeted resource concerns will be addressed.
    4. Two targeted resource concerns will be addressed.
    5. One targeted resource concern will be addressed.
    6. No targeted resource concern will be addressed.
  2. Is any part of the offered planned land units located within the Terrestrial or Aquatic Ecological Focus Areas identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan, and will the enhancements implemented address habitat concerns on priority habitats?
  3. Is at least 50 percent of the operation located in a priority watershed?

STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

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

Presentation - EQIP (PDF; 406 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for EQIP are as follows:

EQIP Fund Allocation Ranking Category Percentage Ratios

Increase the amount of dollars allocated to the Sedimentation above Federal Reservoirs (SFR), Water Quality (WQ), and Forestland Health (FLH) ranking categories.  Reduce Livestock Waste (LSW) allocation to cover these increases.
STC Decision:  Denied:  State Conservationist supports leaving current allocations as they are for fiscal year 2018.  

Water Quality Ranking Category

Add a state ranking question providing a total of 60 points for eligible applications that provide treatments addressing multiple primary resource concern.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Reduce points for state ranking question #2 dealing with “High Nitrate Leaching Potential” to 80 points.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Reduce the points for state ranking question #4 dealing “Potential Soil Loss Index” to 100 total points.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Increase points for state ranking question #12 dealing “Partner Funding Assistance” to 25 points.
STC Decision:   Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Delete local ranking question #2 dealing with “Practice Lifespan > 10 Years” and replace with criteria awarding 100 points for applications that include one or more of the following financially assisted practices: 329—Residue and Tillage Management-No Till, 340—Cover Crop (grass seeding site prep. Excluded), 512—Forage and Biomass Planting, 550—Range Planting, 590—Nutrient Management, and 595—Integrated Pest Management.
STC Decision:   Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Delete local ranking question #3 dealing with “Scheduled Practice Completion within 4 Years”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Reduce points for local ranking question #5 dealing “Deferred Applications” to 30 total points.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Soil Health Ranking Category

Add “Water Quality Degradation-Excessive Sediment in Surface Water” and Water Quality Degradation-Excessive Nutrients in Surface Water” as a primary resource concerns.
STC Decision:  Denied:  State Conservationist believes this would be repetitive as this resource concern is already addressed under the Water Quality Ranking Category.

Add Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for sedimentation to the other TMDL impacts in state ranking question #4.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Eliminate state ranking question #6 regarding “Erosion Index >8”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Eliminate local ranking question #2 regarding “Practice Lifespan > 10 Years” and add local ranking question consideration for applications that address the primary resource concern of “Soil Quality Degradation-Organic Matter Depletion”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Eliminate local ranking question #3 regarding “Practice Completion in 4 Years” and add local ranking question consideration for applications that plan cover crops in “Summer fallow”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Water Quantity Ranking Category

Provide ranking priority for applications located in a Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA), Water Conservation Area (WCA), or in a Quick Response Area (QRA).
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Provide additional ranking favor for applications that enroll in a Water Right Conservation Program (WRCP).
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Provide additional ranking favor for applications that achieve a greater water savings.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Provide ranking favor for applications planning 657—Wetland Restoration to restore functions and values for degraded playa lakes.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Forestland Health Ranking Category

Add the following primary resource concerns to allow new windbreak/shelterbelt planting to be eligible on all eligible land uses in this ranking category; Soil Erosion-Wind Erosion, Livestock Production Limitation-Inadequate Livestock Shelter, and Inefficient Energy Use-Facilities.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Add the following as eligible practices to facilitate removal of livestock from riparian forests and woodlands: 642, Water Well; 614, Watering Facility; 533, Pumping Plant; 516, Livestock Pipeline; 561, Heavy Use Area Protection;  and other livestock practices dealing with non-confined feeding operations.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Provide ranking favor for applications that include 391, Riparian Forest Buffer;  650, Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation;  666, Forest Stand Improvement; and 380, Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Grazing Lands Health Ranking Category

Simplify or reduce the number of rest categories in state ranking question #3.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Eliminate local ranking question #2 regarding “Practice Lifespan > 10 Years”.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

Eliminate criteria for “Practice Completion in 4 Years” and replace with criteria for late summer burn to control sericea lespedeza.
STC Decision:  Accepted:  State Conservationist fully supports this recommendation.

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
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Ron Klataske, Audubon of Kansas
  • Jim Hays, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Eric B. Banks, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Lynn E. Thurlow, NRCS
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Monty R. Breneman, NRCS
  • Bruce K. Wells, 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
  • Kris Knight, TNC
  • 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
  • Larry Biles, Kansas Forest Service
  • Andrew Lyon, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Cal Adams, Smokey Hills Grazing Association
  • Scott (Bronc) Barrows, Premier Tillage
  • Jessica Mounts, KAWS
  • Amanda Reed, KDHE
  • Dave Jones, Dept of Agriculture
  • Kent Askren, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Heidi Mehl, TNC
  • Matt Unruh, KWO
  • Ron Brown, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts
  • Richard Rockel, KWO
  • Mike Beam, Kansas Livestock Association
  • Jim Krueger, KACD
  • Tim Boese, GMD2