HABITAT TIP: MAKING A PVC KILL STICK

Conservation Blueprint’s Peter Berthelsen explains how to create a PVC “Kill Stick” to help you manage invasive tree species in this Habitat Tip.

To learn more about wildlife and pollinator habitats, see more great tips, or send an inquiry about your own project, visit conservationblueprint.com/.

AUGUST BOARD MEETING POSTPONED!

The Board has decided to postpone the August meeting.  The next Minnehaha Conservation Board meeting will be held on Monday, September 14th at 3:00 p.m. at the Gevik Learning Center.

Please update your calendars accordingly. Thanks!

OUR AMAZING GRASSLANDS
NACD South Dakota Board Member — Fran Fritz, Iroquois, SD

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition (SDGC), in partnership with several organizations, is working to raise awareness on the importance of healthy soils, grasslands, and ecosystems by releasing a short video story each month during 2020, as a part of a series called “Our Amazing Grasslands.”

This month’s story features National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) South Dakota board member Fran Fritz’s farm in Iroquois, SD.

Partners involved in this project include the Audubon Dakota, Ducks Unlimited, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, The Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, South Dakota Soil Health Coalition, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and South Dakota State University. Learn more about SDGC here.

NEW SIGN AT THE DEWEY GEVIK OUTDOOR LEARNING AREA!

Special thanks to Mick Zerr and the Sioux Falls Bird Club for the new sign at the Gevik Learning Area, and Pheasantland Industries for doing a speedy, excellent job with the sign!

The Dewey C. Gevik Outdoor Conservation Learning Area has been developed as an interpretive educational experience open to the public. This learning area emphasizes conservation practices, their design, function, and beneficial relationship to the environment. Through the information presented, individuals will reach a greater understanding and appreciation for wildlife, the environment, and the need for conservation of our natural resources for future generations.

Conservation practices established at the learning area are: grassed waterway with rock weir structure, shelter belt plantings, native grass plantings, rock crossing, and a natural wetland. These practices have been built and will be maintained to give the general public a better understanding of the benefits of conservation.

The Gevik Learning Area is 1/2 mile west of Wall Lake, or 1/4 mile north of the intersection of 266th Street and 462nd Avenue, about eight miles west of Sioux Falls.

SOIL HEALTH COALITION
July 2020 Newsletter

The latest edition of the Soil Health Coalition’s “Soil Visions” newsletter has now been released. Click on the image below to view the full PDF. Are you interested in learning more about specific topics? Contact the Soil Health Coalition with your soil health questions and/or visit the technical resource pages of our website.

SOIL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP RELEASES 2019 COVER CROP REPORT

Earlier this month, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) released its 2019 Cover Crop Planting Report. SHP conducted a cover crop survey with SHP farmer partners about their cover crop use on trial sites in the fall of 2019.

SHP’s report shows that farmers are using diverse strategies to plant cover crops and a variety of plant species to accomplish their soil health goals.

The objective is to do this annually and use the data to further analyze how cover crops impact soil health, agronomic outcomes, and farmer profitability.

To read the report, click here.

PROFILES IN SOIL HEALTH
Nickelson Family, Frederick, SD

“There’s challenges every year, and every year is a different challenge. What I’ve found in my soils, building the organic matter, having a better soil health, allows me to weather through whichever weather or storm I am faced with.” — Don Nickelson

 

This Profile in Soil Health, featuring Don and Trista Nickelson, is the fourth of five videos to be released in 2020. The Nickelson’s monitor and work to improve the health of their operation by utilizing practices such as regular soil testing, no-till, diversity in crop rotation, livestock integration, cover crops, precision ag, as well as bale and rotational grazing. These practices have allowed them to respond to challenges such as variability in rainfall across the land they farm and ranch, as well as to work to regenerate saline areas. The family started exploring soil health upon Don’s return from college. They began to use no-till practices with the goal of reducing labor, while maintaining yields. The Nickelson’s are doing what they can now to overcome challenges, through the benefits created by the soil health practices they utilize.

DOWNLOAD P2’S NATIVE POLLINATOR GARDEN RECIPE CARDS

The Pollinator Partnership (P2) recently released a collection of region-specific Native Pollinator Garden Recipe Cards, which are made possible by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC).

The recipe cards were designed to provide easy-to-follow guidelines for creating pollinator gardens that provide a diverse and colorful floral display throughout all growing seasons.

The suggestions given for specific native plant species were made to meet the unique environmental characteristics associated with each region and the pollinators that depend on native habitat areas. Each recommendation was thoroughly vetted by multiple conservation authorities. The Minnehaha Conservation District is holding their native flowers and perennials sale right now; you can order your pollinator garden plants until July 31, 2020.

To learn more and download a recipe card, visit P2’s website.

NATIVE FLOWERS AND PERENNIALS SALE

It’s that time of the year again when we’re having our native flowers and perennials sale! This will be a 3-week sale so your orders will need to be in by July 31, 2020. Here’s the order form with prices and what we have available!

Let’s make those yards beYOUtiful!

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEEKS FEEDBACK ON ADVISORY SYSTEM CHANGES

The National Weather Service (NWS) is seeking public feedback on a proposal to make major changes to its Watch, Warning, and Advisory system, which has been determined by social science research to be confusing to the public.

NWS is proposing to move to a simpler, two-tier system to better communicate when people need to prepare for a possible weather event and when they need to take action.

This handout summarizes the proposed changes. The public survey is available here and will remain open until Friday, August 21, 2020.

To learn more about the project, visit the NWS website.

OUR AMAZING GRASSLANDS
Lance Vilhauer, Mina, SD

“With rotational grazing, what really turned me onto it and got me into it was, honestly, the economic value of it, obviously in dollar signs. I was thinking, “Oh, if we do rotational grazing I automatically should be able to put so many more pairs on a piece of pasture. That’s true to a certain extent, but equally, if not more beneficial, is just how healthy the grass is and how the grass can respond during a drought” – Lance Vilhauer

In the May video release of 2020, we visit Lance Vilhauer, of Mina, South Dakota. The SD Grassland Coalition partnered with other organizations to enhance the Grassland Planner with a release of a short video story each month during 2020 promoting healthy soils, grasslands, and ecosystems.

OUR AMAZING STEWARDSHIP
Dennis and Jean Fagerland, Langford, SD

Watch one of the latest TV commercial in this series, featuring Dennis and Jean Fagerland as they describe their approach to land management and the importance of stewardship.

The “Our Amazing South Dakota Resources” campaign was created in 2018 with the goal of better communicating the importance and value of grasslands and soil resources throughout the state. This campaign strives to better show what South Dakota farmers and ranchers are doing to protect and enhance these resources. Each thirty second video was created utilizing footage from interviews with South Dakota farmers and ranchers and showcases footage of their farming and ranching operations.

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider, Employer and Lender.

NOTICE OF VACANCY
Final Posting

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

NOTICE OF VACANCY
Second Posting

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

CROPPING SYSTEM INVENTORY SHOWS
INCREASE IN NO-TILL ACRES
South Dakota Soil Health Coalition

In the wettest year on record for South Dakota, half the cropland in the state that was planted used a cropping system without tillage. That system, no-till farming, has been the predominant cropping system on South Dakota cropland in recent years, but this is the first year the practice was used to plant 50% of the state’s crops.

“It’s a milestone for farmers in this state. The incredibly wet weather we had the previous fall and in the spring of 2019 complicated planting for most farmers, and may have contributed to them meeting that milestone,” Jeff Zimprich, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service told an audience at the Ag Horizons Conference in Pierre.

NRCS inventories since 2004 show the use of conventional tillage has remained fairly level at about 17%. No-till percentage has grown from a 37% share of total cropping system use in 2004 to 50% this year.

“The increase in no-till percentage is coming from farmers who are moving from high-residue tillage systems to not tilling at all,” Zimprich said. “More farmers could well be moving in that direction because no-till is a key practice used with cover crops and crop rotations to regenerate and build healthy soils.”

A perception exists that wet soils need to be tilled to dry out for planting, but in 2019, a really tough year, fewer no-till acres went unplanted compared to full width tillage systems, including conventional tillage. Estimated unplanted acres in each cropping system in 2019 were no-till — 20%; mulch tillage — 39%; reduced tillage — 38%; and conventional tillage — 27%.

Jesse Hall farms in Kingsbury County, where more than 100,000 acres were unable to be planted in 2019. His land has been no-tilled for more than 30 years, and he uses a three-way crop rotation with cover crops. “I was able to plant 91 percent of my crop acres,” Hall says.“Our cover crops used up the extra moisture, and their root base helped support machinery. Our soils are absolutely better to farm now with these soil health practices.”

Like about everyone else, Brian and Jamie Johnson harvested in wet soils on their Spink County farm last fall. “We were never stuck, and rutting was minimal. We give a ton of credit to our small grains in rotation, no-till, cover crops, and cattle,” Jamie says. “It works for us. It’s profitable and sustainable.”

That kind of combination is gaining more favor across the state. More than 900,000 acres of cover crops were planted in South Dakota last year. Nine counties now have more than 30,000 acres of cover crops, and another 22 counties have between 10,000 and 30,000 acres. According to a recent NRCS Cropping Systems Inventory, 20 counties – mostly in central South Dakota – have more than 75% of their cropland under no-till systems.

The full Cropping Systems Inventory report can be viewed on the NRCS South Dakota website.

SOURCE: High Plains Journal

NOTICE OF VACANCY

The Minnehaha Conservation District will have three vacancies on their board of supervisors, due to the expiration of the present term of office or resignation of the elective officer. The open positions are all four-year terms.

The deadline for filing nominating positions is July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2020 at 5:00 central time, it is considered filed. Petitions for Minnehaha Conservation District may also be filed at the county auditor’s office during regular business hours.

Here is a copy of the formal notice and more information on filing a nomination petition.

If you have an interest in conservation and want to be part of the decision-making for Minnehaha County, now is your chance! Please consider responding to this request. Thanks!

WATERSHED PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND SOIL HEALTH

Minnehaha Conservation District is directly involved with the Big Sioux Project

Private landowners play a critical role in caring for South Dakota’s nearly 100 thousand miles of streams and rivers explains Kris Dozark, an environmental scientist with the S.D. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR).

Some examples of practices that help to improve water quality include the implementation of riparian buffers and grass waterways to reduce field sediment and nutrient run-off, preventing animal waste from entering waterways, grassland management practices, as well as various practices which help to increase infiltration rates. Cost-share projects which include these, and many others are underway across the state, including a project being administered by the SD Soil Health Coalition.

Dozark says the cost-share projects are a win-win – improving the state’s water quality and helping improve land values. “In many cases, 319 Watershed Projects solve a problem for agriculture producers. Whether the current feed yard is muddy most of the season or erosion is leading to land loss, once we mitigate the issues, cost-share dollars are spent helping the landowner get something they need, like concrete bunks or a drip irrigation system and water quality improves.”

SOURCE: https://sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/watershed-projects-throughout-the-state-improve-water-quality-soil-health/

EXCESS TREE SALE

The Minnehaha Conservation District will be selling excess trees next Wednesday, May 27th and Thursday, May 28th from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm each day at the District shed, located at 1120 E. 72nd St. N., Sioux Falls. The cost will be $3.00/tree (or $68.00 for a bundle of 25), plus tax. These trees will be available on a first come, first served basis. There will be NO EARLY SALES!

Directions to the District shed: 2 miles south of the Renner corner, or ¾ mile north of I-90 and Cliff Avenue on the west side of the road.

Please CLICK HERE for a list of trees that may be available on the sale.

GEVIK SITE SATIRE

Photo credit: Mick Zerr

The Gevik Outdoor Learning Area is free and open to the public. Please visit https://minnehahacd.org/gevik-learning-area/ for directions to the Gevik site and a map. There are walking trails and interpretive signs to explain what you’re seeing.

As the second photo above implies, please note that your fur babies are also welcome but must be kept leashed. This is a wildlife habitat, and consideration of the wildlife and their young are especially important right now during nesting season. We must insist upon your cooperation, and appreciate your help in keeping the Gevik site safe for everyone, including the wildlife who have made their homes there.

After your visit, we would welcome your feedback and if you take any pictures, please send them to us at info@minnehahacd.org!

OUR AMAZING COMMUNITY

The “Our Amazing South Dakota Resources” campaign was created in 2018 with the goal of better communicating the importance and value of grasslands and soil resources throughout the state. This campaign strives to better show what South Dakota farmers and ranchers are doing to protect and enhance these resources.

Here is one of the latest TV commercials in the series, featuring the Keya Wakpala Garden near Mission, SD and the work they are doing there to not only build soil health but a strong community!