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July Water and Climate Report

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Valley precipitation was light in June, Utah’s driest month, averaging just 0.3 inches across the state. This brought the seasonal (Oct-June) total to 8.9 inches. Precipitation was consistently low across the state; from 0.2 inches in the Southeast to 0.4 inches in the Western and Dixie and North Central areas. With the exception of the Northern area, soil moisture conditions are below or well below normal.  ...... Read More ......

Preserving Paradise

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In 1884, while working at an LDS Church sawmill in Southern Utah, Graham Duncan McDonald fell in love with 160 acres of ranch land by the east fork of the Virgin River. His scenic homestead – a few miles north of what is now Glendale – became home for his wife and ten children.  ...... Read More ......

June Water and Climate Report

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Valley precipitation in May averaged 1.3 inches across the state, bringing the seasonal (Oct-May) total to 8.6 inches. Precipitation ranged widely across the state; from 0.9 inches in the South Central to 3.3 inches in the Northern Mountains. Soil moisture conditions vary widely within the state; from near maximum levels in the Northern Mountains, to below minimum levels in the Western and Dixie region. Statewide soil moisture is at 43% – much lower than the 65% value for this time last year – a clear reflection of last year’s exceptionally wet May.  ...... Read More ......

Earth Connection Camp

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Camp An American Indian Youth camp to perpetuate or spark an interest Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) will includes sessions on astronomy, water resource science, mechanical engineering, meteorology, air quality and medical sciences.  This will be immersed with culture.  ...... Read More ......

May Water and Climate Report

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This report has been reorganized to better reflect two distinct geographic areas being monitored – the low elevation valley sites (Soil Climate Analysis Network) that are critical for agricultural production and operations, and the high elevation mountainous areas where water supply is generated (SNOwTELemetry). Most of the graphs have been updated to utilize daily data versus the old monthly bar charts so that the timing and distribution of precipitation and other events can be seen.  ...... Read More ......

May Water Supply Outlook Report

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Snowpacks across Utah were near normal on April 1 of this year and subsequently melted rapidly for the first three weeks of the month. In the graph below you can see how quickly snowpacks were melting during most of April and how recent storms have slowed the decline and added modest amounts of snow to the pack.  ...... Read More ......

Richfield MLRA Office Assists with Utah Envirothon in Zion National Park

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About 100 students from across Utah competed in the 20th Annual Utah Envirothon in Zion National Park April 15-16th. Twenty-two teams rotated through five stations to be taught and tested by natural resources professionals. Nine rookie teams were from schools that had never participated in Envirothon before.  ...... Read More ......

April Water Supply Outlook Report

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April 1 – the peak of seasonal snow accumulation and across the state of Utah we have as close to an average snowpack as we may see. Almost all areas are between 90% and 110% of normal with few exceptions – the north slope of the Uintah Mountains have a little more at about 120% and the Duchesne and Price/San Rafael basins are a little lower at about 85% of normal.  ...... Read More ......

More than 400 Utah farmers and ranchers attend NRCS Soil Health Workshops

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It was a year in the making, but after months of planning and outreach the NRCS Utah Soil Health Workshop became a reality last month. More than 400 local farmers and ranchers attended the workshops over three days in Logan, Ogden and Richfield – and the feedback was resounding. ...... Read More ......

March Water Supply Outlook Report

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February 2015 was exceptionally bad and February 2016 wasn’t much better – warm and very dry. Snowpacks took a beating across the state declining as a percent of average: Bear down - 10%, Weber -14%, Provo -18%, Duchesne -15%, Price -22%, South East -43%, Sevier -41%, San Pitch -29% and the South West - down 68% relative to February 1 figures. These figures do not reflect melting snowpack, we simply did not accumulate snow at a time when we normally should have. ...... Read More ......

New rancher gets helping hand from NRCS Utah

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For as long as he can remember, Justin Miller wanted to be rancher. More than an occupation, the 26-year-old considered ranching a calling – so after years of grazing his cattle on leased and permitted land he decided to make his dream come true on his own 80 acres. ...... Read More ......

Improving Soil Health in Delta, Utah

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Making a living in agriculture isn’t easy. A bevy of expenses and unseen factors can derail a producer’s year, and turn a profit into a shortfall, before the markets even open. So, what can a farmer or rancher in Utah do to tip the scales in their favor? Chance Lyman, a 32-year old rancher in Delta, Utah, believes the health of his soil is the answer. ...... Read More ......

February Water Supply Outlook Report

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Half of the typical December through March snow accumulation is now in the bag and descriptors like – “cautiously optimistic, don’t jinx it, looking really good, knock on wood” and the like are popping out all over. After four consecutive drought years coupled with last year’s record low snows, 2016 with average snow in the north and what could be a monster year in the south is looking like a princess at the ball. Should February and March continue current storm patterns, spring runoff should be average and above for the first time since 2011. The current El Nino is pretty much behaving as predicted regarding snow accumulation in Utah – big in the south and less in the north. Currently the Bear, Weber, Provo and Duchesne are all near average. ...... Read More ......

Expecting the unexpected: NRCS works with landowner along the Virgin River

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If there is anything predictable about the Virgin River it is its unpredictability – a lesson soon learned by those who settled along its sandy banks in southern Utah, and saw their properties affected by flooding and erosion as the river snaked its way toward the Colorado. ...... Read More ......

NRCS Utah to hold free soil health workshops in February

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“A lot of effort has gone into developing these workshops,” said North Area Resource Conservationist, Danny McBride. “It will be an excellent opportunity for local farmers and ranchers to learn more about cover crops, being more sustainable, increasing forage production, and other soil health principles.” ...... Read More ......

January Water Supply Outlook Report

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Fall was exceptionally warm and relatively dry and the onset of seasonal snowpack was late but when snowpack eventually came in late December it was big – all very similar to last year. Last year is one we really don’t want to repeat, even though it started with a big late December Storm, it ultimately ended up with record low snow in many locations. Given the current El Nino conditions, southern Utah is likely to improve substantially over the course of the snow accumulation season and have an above or much above normal snow season whereas northern Utah could go any direction. ...... Read More ......

Why you should look forward to an Energy Audit

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Every year we try to not end up on the wrong end of an audit while filing our taxes. We check, double check and then check our numbers again to avoid the whole dreaded ordeal. So it’s no wonder, for many, the word can conjure old memories of sleepless nights and fits of rage. NRCS Utah employees, however, have a positive connotation for audit that can help producers across the state: the Energy Audit. ...... Read More ......

NRCS fencing projects helps rancher, improves mountain

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Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Nate installed fences and made range improvements on a 3000-acre Forest Service allotment in Manti La-Sal National Forest. The fences, called let-downs because they can lay on the ground during the winter months once grazing season is over, gave Nate more control over his cattle on the allotment. This of course meant he could spend more time at home during grazing season (about three days more a week by his calculations), but it also meant his cows stayed in specific locations on the mountain – away from campgrounds and streams.  ...... Read More ......

December Water and Climate Report

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Current runoff, as shown in the USGS graphic below, is mostly below to near average for non-regulated stream flow across many areas of Utah. Monthly precipitation across the state improved substantially from the previous month with a November average of 86% bringing the seasonal accumulation (Oct-Nov) to 82% of average. Soil moisture has remained near average across the state. Reservoir storage is lower than last year, near 52% of capacity across the state compared to 58% last year. ...... Read More ......

Pivoting to a better irrigation system

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Brad Cowley walked along the southern bank of his man-made pivot pond in Venice, Utah, as he talked to NRCS employee Wade Ingram. The two discussed future conservation plans for Cowley Farm and Feedlot, including moving several corrals away from the banks of the Sevier River to reduce nutrient runoff, when the subject of water came up.  ...... Read More ......

November Water and Climate Report

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Current runoff, as shown in the USGS graphic below, is mostly below and much below normal for non-regulated stream flow (points in yellow and red) across many areas of Utah with most other sites near normal. October precipitation was much above average in southern Utah and below normal in central and northern Utah. Soil moisture going into the winter months is near normal across most of the state. While soil moisture is not nearly as good as last year, at least soils are not bone dry and with the most recent precipitation should be improving. Reservoir storage is slightly lower than last year, near 52% of capacity across the state compared to 56% last year. Reservoir storage could and likely should be much lower but exceptional May and July precipitation reduced consumption and increased streamflow substantially and the combination of the two saved water in Utah’s reservoirs. ...... Read More ......

Utah NRCS Veterans Day 2015

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At Utah NRCS, we value the men and women who serve our country in uniform with distinction every day. We are especially proud of our employees who answered the call to serve in the military, and have harnessed the qualities which made them great service members to help the farmers and ranchers of Utah.  ...... Read More ......

2015 Utah Leopold Conservation Award finalists

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The finalists for this year’s prestigious Utah Leopold Conservation Award® which honors Utah landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources are announced.  ...... Read More ......

National SGI Science Team tours Box Elder County

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The National Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) Science Team recently visited Northern Utah for the Conifer Science Summit. The group of sage-grouse scientists and conservationists from across the country traveled along a 100-mile loop of Box Elder County, one of the state’s largest SGI focal areas, to witness first-hand the conservation efforts of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners to protect, manage and restore sage-grouse habitat.  ...... Read More ......

October Water and Climate Report

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Stream flow across the state is a mixed bag with many sites near normal (25%-75%) but there is a substantial number of sites (close to 30) that are below or much below normal. It has been an interesting summer: beginning with May and exceptional precipitation that allowed a much delayed start to reservoir water use, June was dry, July was again exceptionally wet and in the nick of time reducing water drain on reservoir storage and the rest of summer was more or less ho hum. September precipitation statewide was 97% of average bringing the seasonal accumulation to 85% of average. Irrigation for the season is winding down and many reservoirs are beginning to bank water for next year. Soil moisture is slightly above average at 39% compared to 70% last year. Considering what might have been if it had been a scorcher dry summer, reservoir storage statewide is in decent shape at 52% of capacity compared to 55% last year.  ...... Read More ......

Impossible Pumpkins: How a high tunnel helped a Vernal couple reach their goals

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At the end of a cul-de-sac, on a small piece of land between their home and the neighbors, Ralph and Juana Laub discovered the secret to growing – and growing big – in the Uintah Basin. In their 60 by 25-foot high tunnel, surrounded by thick vines and leaves, was a pumpkin that tipped the scales at more than 1,100 lbs.  ...... Read More ......

Improving water and pasture quality in Pinto, Utah

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Rick Hafen, a landowner in the small southern town of Pinto, Utah, was concerned about the condition of his land and pasture. Along Pinto Creek, a deep channel formed through the middle of his pasture and he worried the erosion would continue to the point his livestock would not be able to move from one paddock to the next.  ...... Read More ......

September Water and Climate Report

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The purpose of the Climate and Water Report is to provide a snapshot of current and immediate past climatic conditions and other information useful to agricultural and water user interests in Utah. The report utilizes data from several sources that represent specific parameters (streamflow data from the United States Geological Survey, reservoir data from the Bureau of Reclamation, and other sources), geography including high elevation United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) data, and agriculturally important data from the USDA-NRCS Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN).  ...... Read More ......

Bear visits SNOTEL station, leaves impression

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Summer maintenance of SNOTEL stations is a yearly chore for the Snow Survey personnel of NRCS Utah. Making sure the high-tech instruments at each location are calibrated and relaying data back to headquarters in Salt Lake City is as important to them as it is for the thousands of people who depend on the information they collect. ...... Read More ......

Getting better together: North Area employees participate in program training

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NRCS Utah takes pride in its knowledgeable field staff and conservation planners. The overall mission of “Helping People Help the Land” can only be accomplished if the first point of contact for farmers and ranchers in their respective field offices understand the programs and services the agency offers. That’s why more than 25 new USDA NRCS employees (hired after 2013) attended a two-day NRCS program training called “Putting it All Together” this week. ...... Read More ......