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Satellite image of a Wetland Reserve Easement outside of Burley, Idaho.

A New Perspective Is Aiding Conservation

Sometimes getting a different view of a situation or problem can make the solution much more apparent. NRCS Idaho has set out to show how that can work in the world of conservation easements. The first state to take advantage of the agreement with American Conservation Experience (ACE) and SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA), it is learning firsthand that utilizing drone imagery helps take some of the mystery out of conservation practices.

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Curtis Elke, State Conservationist, named Honorary Chairman at the Idaho State Forestry Contest

Elke Named Honorary Chairman of State Forestry Contest

The Idaho State Forestry Contest was held on May 9th at the Delay Tree Farm near Coeur d’Alene. This annual competition began in 1983 and is held by the Idaho Department of Lands, Bonner Soil and Water Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Forest Service.

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Aaron Weber, Bill Northey and Louis Wasniewski

USDA Under Secretary Visits Joint Chiefs’ Project on the Curlew

Under Secretary Bill Northey visited the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership project on the Curlew National Grasslands outside of Malad, Idaho on Tuesday, April 23. The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership is a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to work together to improve the health, resilience and sustainability of areas where public forests and grasslands connect to privately owned lands.

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Students and NRCS staff get a take a peek inside Jim Dixon’s potato cellar along with an explanation of what happens to the potatoes once they leave the farm, travel to the supermarket and end up on the dinner table.

FROM THE FIELD - Where does our food come from?

Idaho Falls District Conservationist Josh Miller and Soil Conservationist Tacia Williams facilitated and helped with an education event on Sept. 28 for a group of developmentally disabled adults. They were learning about where their food comes in their class, so Miller and Williams worked with the group’s teacher to set up a field trip for the class. Jim Dixon, chairman of the West Side Soil and Water Conservation District, offered to let the class tour his farm and watch him harvest potatoes.

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Mark Olson - Profiles in Service

Mark Olson - Profiles in Service

In what branch of the Armed Forces did you serve?
Army/Idaho Army National Guard
How long did you service in the military?
22 years total service.
What drew you to military service?
I had many immediate family members serve in the various armed forces and had a desire to join the military at a young age. “Free ammo, travel the world.”

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Bobby Hilton - Profiles in Service

Robert "Bobby" Hilton - Profiles in Service

In what branch of the Armed Forces did you serve?
United States Marine Corps as an infantryman
How long did you service in the military?
4 years. One tour in Iraq and one tour in Southwest Asia
What drew you to military service?
My family has a long history of wartime service to our country in the military and I wanted to honor that.

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Jim Belthoff (left), a Boise State University professor specializing in raptors, discusses with landowner Wendell Holton how to space out artificial burrows for Burrowing Owls and nesting boxes for Barn Owls to reduce competition between the two species.

Lending wildlife a helping hand

When Wendell Holton, the head of Holton Enterprises, approached his local Natural Resource Conservation Service office with concerns about the long-term management and sustainability of his farm he was staying true to his personal mission -- “I am only taking care of this land until it’s the next generation’s turn.”

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Ground breaking ceremony.


Farmers’ Co-Operative Ditch Company’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program project’s keystone practice begins construction

Farmers’ Co-Operative Ditch Company (FCDC) of Parma received $500,000 matching project funds from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for a project impacting approximately 4,000 acres in the Parma area. RCPP promotes coordination and collaboration between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners.

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Rangeland Sage Steppe

Implementing Grazing Management Collaboratively Across All Lands

Livestock grazing on western rangelands, like management for a variety of other resources (e.g. fish and wildlife, recreation, open space, energy development), is dependent on a network of ownerships (state, federal, tribal and private) across the landscape.

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 High Tunnel

Spreading the Word

In early December the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Moscow Field Office collaborated with the University of Idaho Extension to host a half-day Hoop House Workshop for specialty crop farmers and gardeners in the local area who are interested in extending their growing season.


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 Photo credit: Lorie Palmer, Idaho County Free Press

Tips on pasture management after fire, drought - NRCS

This summer has been a particularly long and dry one. On top of that, many have lost their pastures to fire. Your grazing management practices can help buffer the consequences of drought and fire. In order to keep your pastures in good condition and producing the best quality of feed, there are a number of principles to keep in mind.

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Earth Team volunteer Nathaniel Tilley, 15, processes the contents of a germination bag used as part of a Ford Island study at the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Aberdeen, Idaho. Processing the germination bags lets center staff know what seeds sprouted and which did not.

Volunteer makes big impact at Plant Materials Center

Conservation is already a passion for 15-year-old Nathaniel Tilley. As soon as he was eligible to become an Earth Team volunteer, he got his father Derek Tilley, the director of the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Aberdeen, Idaho, to sign him up. Since joining the Earth Team in June of 2015, he has put in more than 130 hours of time despite being a full-time high school student with other extra-curricular activities. In 2016, he has already contributed 76 hours to projects at the Plant Material Center (PMC).

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