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Kansas State Technical Committee Meeting—February 25, 2020

Meeting commenced at 9:00 a.m.

Troy J. Munsch, Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships gave opening statements and introductions.

Sharonté E. Williams, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs

  • Working towards have a full Kansas State Technical Committee (KTC) meeting in April.
  • Interim Rules posted on the Federal Register site. Links are posted to Gov Delivery as well. You can access them through these links:
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) March 2nd cutoff date.
  • Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) has been released and will be used for all applications
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP) has several things going on so it will rule our time and attention for a while. Several sign ups just for CStP programs this year. Many back-to-back deadlines for CStP this year due to funding. Much more competitive this year with the new Farm Bill (FB) 2018
    • CStP-Grassland Conservation Initiative (CGI) is a new program
    • CStP Renewal
    • CStP Classic
  • Source Water Protection: Source water protection sub-committee has met twice, and those priority practices have been approved, but we will need to look at the practices once again to narrow them down for the State Conservationist’s (STC) consideration. Geospatial data was the determination for the areas. Another meeting for the Source Water subcommittee will be coming in the next couple of weeks.
  • We are looking to establish an EQIP High priority sub-committee. Email invitation is forthcoming
  • Water Smart: We have Water Smart projects in Kansas, so we will be starting a sub-committee for Water Smart as KS has funds for these projects.
    • QUESTION: Need a wildlife sub-committee meeting. Is that possible?
      • Yes, we certainly can and will.
    • QUESTION: ACT Now – Fast Pass? What do we know about that?
      • Have not had any real information about that at this time. IT was a test pilot project in other states in the past, but we have no guidance.
  • EQIP Incentives Program which is CSP & EQIP combined is part of the new FB as well. This will be long term contracts for high priority issues.
    • QUESTION: What kind of groups will fall under this?
      • With the pilot program it was practices that you could do immediately without waiting months for “windows”. This also reduced early start waivers. Like High Tunnels, and such. But there really is no guidance at this time. And it is not on the list even for this year so it may not be until next year that we see more about this program.

Troy J. Munsch, Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships

  • CCGA for the state of KS will be coming out
  • Working with Programs for 2020 CIG announcement soon.
  • PowerPoint Presentation: New focus of NRCS and the State Technical Committee:
  • PowerPoint Presentation: Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) as part of the 2018 Farm Bill:
    • Nationally $300 million has been funded to RCPP and the pool will be competed for on a national basis. National Headquarters (NHQ) ‘floored’ proposals at a $250,000 minimum.
    • Kansas had 3 proposals, but no information can be given while they are in the process of being evaluated by NHQ. They are shooting for a March 30th announcement.

PowerPoint Presentation by Troy Munsch (PDF; 780 KB)
Fact Sheet - Local Working Groups (PDF; 71 KB)

Jeffrey A. Hellerich, State Soil Scientist

PowerPoint Presentation – Kansas State Offsite Methods (SOSM)

  • Overview of why we do Wetland determinations.
    • We are supposed to be able to make determination without going “on-site” except under certain conditions and circumstances per the Food Security Act.
  • Overview of the benefits of SOSM.
  • Review of each section of the SOSM: (See materials)
    • QUESTION: Not using primary of secondary sources anymore? And the 50% threshold, is that true for all? It used to be 30% for playa lakes.
      • Correct, the new SOSM simplifies the list of various primary and secondary indicators in to 2: Inundation (I) and Saturation (S).
      • Playas are recognized as potential problem areas. State Procedure S1-14 is intended to assist when making hydrology determinations in potential problem areas. The SOSM includes review of the PLJV dataset, and soil survey information as well. If potential playas do not meet off-site hydrology requirement, and if there is concern about a false negative, hydrology tools or an onsite review of hydrology will be completed. The intent is to be accurate, and an effective SOSM will not “miss” wetlands that meet FSA criteria. If further refinement is needed in playa areas, we will evaluate
    • QUESTION: Why was the climatic period not advanced?
      • An example would be; if your farm and determination was done in 05 and it was non-wetland, and if another determination is done on that tract in a different location, and they use a different 30-year window, they may find inconsistencies. We are striving for consistency in how things are measured, and this was determined nationally.
      • Also: the decision to not advance the 30-year window was made at NHQ and codified in the 2018 Rule. That was not a State level decision
    • QUESTION: How many areas have been evaluated in Kansas?
      • Don’t have a solid answer. We have been doing evaluations since the 80’s but those wetland determinations are only considered certified after November of 1990, and most of those completed in the 1990’s are still hard copy and need to be digitized. We have only recently been given permission to keep records digitally. We have completed thousands of certified wetland determinations since 1990, a rough guess might even be over 10,000 determinations in the state of Kansas.
    • Question: So, you have to dig into archives?
      • Field offices (FOs) have been directed to keep copies, both paper and digitally. It can get tricky, but yes, we must look into archives.
    • COMMENT: With CART, I am impressed with the depth NRCS will go into through its use of CART. The data we can get from that to give to Congress will make it a win-win for all of us.

PowerPoint Presentation by Jeffrey Hellerich (PDF; 2 MB)
Document - Kansas Wetland Determination Procedures Including State Offsite Methods (PDF; 1 MB)
Document - Kansas Conservation Compliance Workbook (PDF; 380 KB)
 

Tania N. Nanna, Soil Scientist

PowerPoint Presentation - SOSM Application Process (PDF; 3.5 MB)

Carla Wikoff, Farm Service Agency
Andrew Burr, State Biologist

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – See handout. Titled KTC Meeting
    • Discussion on the KTC recommended additions to existing and new practices that apply to CRP. RECOMMENDATION: The following management activities are being recommended to be added: CP5A, CP16A, CP17A – Windbreak/Shelterbelt Management and Light Disking (perimeter only); CP8A, CP23, CP25, CP27, CP28, CP33 – Haying/Grazing; CP9 – Interseeding, Haying/Grazing; CP21 – Haying; CP23A – Haying/Grazing, Spraying for Wildlife; CP43 – Burning, Interseeding, Light Disking, Strip Spraying, Haying/Grazing.
    • Policy change to blooming dates/mix requirements and defined it with early/mid/late blooming season dates. Three species that will bloom in each of those periods is a requirement. The recommendation is April and May for Early blooming period, June and July for Mid Blooming Season, and August, September and October for Late Blooming Season.
    • Also recommended minimum average grazing heights of 5” for Native and Introduced covers and 5” minimum average height for plant re-growth following grazing prior to the dormant growing season.
    • QUESTION: CP21 &CP22 – is there a reason that these two practices were not considered for grazing? It can get overly nutrient rich.
      • Tree Practice (CP22 Riparian Buffer) – grazing is not allowed. (CP21 Filter Strips) - it hasn’t been previously considered
      • RECOMMENDATION: Add haying to CP21
    • New CRP policy is that we are allowed to do haying or grazing as a management activity except with tree practices and CP 12 Wildlife Food Plots.
    • Current policy is that one management practice must be completed on all CRP practices. The new policy gives more options for CRP management.
    • New 2018 FB has allowed us to use grazing through these practices which will reduce the load during emergent times. CP25 has not been allowed to have grazing & haying on it prior to the new 2018 FB.
      • QUESTION: Are haying and grazing tied together on this? I am concerned that soil biology will be affected as grazing will change it more than haying.
        • We have not received the policy yet from NHQ on haying/grazing (See Handout Haying/Grazing) This handout is what we were given back in November of 2019 at National CRP Training. We anticipate few changes from what we were told during the training to final policy.
      • COMMENT: A resolution has been presented to Senator Moran regarding haying and grazing to save some acres so that they will remain in grass.
      • COMMENT: Cost share should be included on some of the haying/grazing practices to encourage the conservation it offers.
      • QUESTION: CP23 & CP23A – why the discrepancy between grazing and spraying (23)?
        • RECOMMENDATION: Add Haying and Grazing to CP23 and haying, grazing AND spraying for wildlife to CP23A
        • There was concern brought up about not grazing wetlands

Q&A

  • Will not having cost share encourage more grazing?
    • If it’s under a management practice, there is no longer a 25% payment reduction they would normally have had to pay.

Handout - KTC Meeting (PDF; 169 KB)
Handout - Haying/Grazing (PDF; 126 KB)
Handout - CRP Practices (PDF; 81 KB)

Meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.