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Kansas Technical Committee Minutes—May 2, 2018

Kansas Technical Committee Meeting
Thursday, May 2, 2018
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. Opening remarks and introductions were made.

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

Presentation - ACEP (PDF; 628 KB)

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

Continue to use the ranking worksheet that was approved several years ago.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

No change minimum ranking score of 120 for funding consideration.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

No priority areas were recommended.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

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

Lower priority for applications that have existing visual easements or leases that affect the easement offer area (EOA).
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Lower ranking priority if less than 100-foot buffer around eligible wetlands on EOA.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Maintain playa wetland region as a priority geographic region for consideration.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Recommend a minimum ranking threshold score for continuous funding of >49 points.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Recommend all parcel components as part of EOA have a minimum size of 10 acres. Exception to the minimum of 10 acres are:

  • If the proposed area is contiguous to an existing wetland easement
  • If the proposed area is part of a larger, multi-owner WRE easement application
  • If the proposed area is contiguous to state or federally owned land and /or other perpetual easement area(s). Contingent upon verification by the applicant.

STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Recommend the same practice list as previous years for fiscal year (FY) 2019.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Recommend determining cropland acres by using FSA Cropland Land Use layer records to determine if a site appraisal or Geographic Area Rate Caps (GARC) rate can be used.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Recommend the reservation of grazing rights be offered in the playa and salt marsh wetlands regions which includes GARC area 1 and 2 with the exception of Washington, Clay, Dickinson, and Marion counties.
STC Decision: Did not concur

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

Presentation - EQIP (PDF; 835 KB)

Recommendations from KTC for EQIP are as follows:

EQIP Fund Allocation Ranking Category Percentage Ratios

Increase funds allocated to Forestland Health ranking category from 1% to 2% by decreasing funds allocated to the Livestock Waste ranking category by 1%.
STC Decision: Did not concur. Ranking category percentages will remain the same as FY 2017.

Increase funds allocated to Grazing Lands Health ranking category from 19% to 20% by decreasing funds allocated to the Livestock Waste ranking category by 1%.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Increase funds allocated to Water Quality ranking category from 18% to 23% by decreasing funds allocated to the Livestock Waste ranking category by 5%.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Payment Rate Recommendations

Increase payment rated up to 25% higher for a specific group of practices such as Prescribed Burning, Brush Management, Cover Crops, and Prescribed Grazing.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Water well payment rates are over 200% of actual practice installation costs in some locations. Adjust payment rate accordingly.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Ranking Category Recommendations

Eliminate “Insufficient Energy – Facilities” as a primary resource concern in the Forestland Health ranking category. This concern requires an energy audit. The On-Farm Energy Initiative addresses this resource concern.
STC Decision: Concur with this recommendation.

Add wildlife habitat resource concerns as a secondary resource concern in the Forestland Health ranking category.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Reduce the ranking points for applications that support the development of a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) in all ranking categories.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Disallow planting of Eastern Red Cedar on rangelands due to this species invasive potential (all applicable ranking categories).
STC Decision: Did not concur

Add wildlife habitat resource concerns as a secondary resource concern in the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Add practice 142—Fish and Wildlife Plan (CAP) to the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Add practice 146—Pollinator Habitat Plan (CAP) to the Grazing Lands Health ranking category.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Add practice 395—Stream Habitat Improvement and Management to the Grazing Lands Health eligible practice list.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Adjust criteria for Grazing Lands Health MEDIUM priority applications to include applications that address the Degraded Plant Condition—Undesirable Plant Productivity and Health primary resource concern.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Under the Grazing Lands Health ranking category, limit the required grazing plan to only those applications where a Degraded Plant Condition—Undesirable Plant Productivity and Health resource concern is identified.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Disallow ranking consideration under Grazing Lands Health state ranking question 3 for early intensive grazing systems that are annually burned.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Provide ranking points for Livestock Waste ranking category applications that address water quality problems associated with unconfined winter feeding areas.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Replace regulatory acronyms such as CAFO or AFO in the Livestock Waste ranking questions and replace with more descriptive terms.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved – need to determine appropriate language to use.

Provide ranking consideration for Livestock Waste ranking category applications addressing bacteria water quality concerns in watersheds where public water supplies are facing bacteria issues (consult with Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) for GIS data).
STC Decision: Did not concur, but will revisit issue in FY 2020

Add points and criteria for variable rate application of nutrients to Water Quality ranking category state question 14 dealing with waste utilization and nutrient management application methods.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Provide ranking consideration for Water Quality ranking category applications addressing identified nitrate and chloride groundwater impairments (consult with KDHE for GIS data).
STC Decision: Did not concur, but will revisit issue in FY 2020

Under the Water Quality ranking category, change local ranking question 2 to provide 100 points if two or more of the listed conservation practices are financially assisted. Provide 50 points if only one of the listed practices is financially assisted.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Add conservation practice 561—Heavy Use Protection Area to the eligible practice list for the Water Quality ranking category.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Add conservation practice 390—Riparian Herbaceous Cover to the eligible practice list for the Water Quality ranking category.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Apply a payment cap to conservation practice 620—Underground Outlet associated with terrace systems.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved – set to 50%.

Establish HIGH priority for Water Quality ranking category applications that address the “Water Quality Degradation—Nutrients in Groundwater or Surface Water” resource concern.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Add conservation practice 390—Riparian Herbaceous Cover to the eligible practice list for the Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs ranking category.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Under the Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs ranking category, change local ranking question 2 to provide 100 points if two or more of the listed conservation practices are financially assisted. Provide 50 points if only one of the listed practices is financially assisted.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

Under the Soil Health ranking category, revise state ranking question 2a from “four crop types” to “three or more crop types.” Remove state ranking question 2b because it appears to be redundant.
STC Decision: Concur and Approved

We ask that NRCS coordinate soil health outreach and information to produce, post, and update, a calendar of scheduled soil health field days throughout the state.
STC Decision: Kansas currently advertises and promotes all soil health outreach activities that are provided to Public Affairs. These activities are included on the eNewsletter sent to subscribers.

Link - GovDelivery

Develop a ranking category or initiative for establishing or improving Black Footed Ferret habitat. Farm Bureau opposes any introduction of the Black Footed Ferret in Kansas.
STC Decision: Did not concur

Attendees:

  • Joe Kramer, KAWS
  • Rod Vorhees, SCC
  • Patty Winter, KACD-EO
  • Stephanie Royer, KACD-EO
  • Kent Askren, Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Mike Beam, Kansas Livestock Association
  • Howard Miller, Cheney Lake Watershed
  • Thad Rhodes, Kansas Forest Service
  • Tim Stroda, Kansas Pork Association
  • Ron Kletaski, Audubon
  • Heidi Mehl, The Nature Conservancy
  • Dave Jones, Kansas Department of Agriculture/Division of Conservation
  • Jude Kastens, Kansas Biological Survey
  • Ken Brunson, The Nature Conservancy
  • Wyatt Sperry, NRCS
  • Orrin Feril, GMD#5
  • Tim Boese, GMD#2
  • Andrew Lyon, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Calvin Adams, Rancher
  • Lynn Thurlow, NRCS
  • Matt Unruh, Kansas Water Office
  • Jessica Mounts, KAWS
  • Barth Crouch, KGLC
  • Dan Meyerhoff, KACD
  • Mike Disney, FWS
  • Matt Smith, KDWPT
  • Dean Krehbiel, NRCS
  • Kasey Robinson, NRCS
  • Sharla Schwien, NRCS
  • Joel Willhoft, NRCS
  • Tracy Burgess, NRCS
  • Monty Breneman, NRCS
  • Bruce Wells, NRCS