Here’s the latest edition of Conservation Clips

Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what’s driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

NACD Blog: Maryland District Promotes Next Generation of Conservation Leaders

Prince George’s Soil Conservation District (PGSCD) in Maryland is leading the way in educating the next generation of conservation leaders.

NACD Blog: RCD of Greater San Diego County leads collaborative approach to battling wildfire

The Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Greater San Diego Countywill use funds from the California Department of Conservation (DOC) and the California Natural Resources Agency to further regional work on reducing local wildfire threats and impacts.

NACD Blog: Grant SWCD and partners helping to restore New Mexico forestlands

As a single-person, part-time office, the Grant Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has its work cut out when it comes to implementing on-the-ground projects, so the SWCD is partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to undertake forest restoration in New Mexico.

NACD Blog: Jefferson CD helps educate policymakers on wildfire funding needs

The Jefferson Conservation District (JCD) is putting a face on forest conservation issues in Colorado by testifying before state legislators and showing them the benefits of continuing to fund program grants at the state level.

The News-Gazette: New numbers show conservation soil-tilling method as profitable as conventional ways
By Ben Zigterman

New data from the Precision Conservation Management initiative shows that a conservation farming method known as strip till can be just as profitable as conventional ways farmers till their soil.

KTIC: NRCS Announces $1.9M Research Investment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced $1.9 million in funding for 15 Soil Science Collaborative Research projects focused on soil science and soil survey research.

Sustainability Times: Growing cover crops can help save pollinators and birds
By Darunee Sukanan

Species of arthropods and other small animals play a key role in global food production, serving as they do as pollinators for cultivated plants.

Popular Science: A great climate comes from happy soil. Could happy soil come from California?
By Ula Chrobak

Policy makers have started to pay more attention to soil. And California—the largest agricultural economy in the U.S.— is the first state to enact a policy that specifically addresses climate through soil conservation.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Massive juniper tree-cutting project aims to aid sage grouse
By Keith Ridler

The largest-ever project in the U.S. to remove thousands of juniper trees to help imperiled sage grouse has started in Idaho. The project that began last spring in Idaho aims to remove junipers on 965 square miles (2,500 square kilometers) of state and federal land.

Indiana Prairie Farmer: Why other states follow Indiana’s lead on conservation
By Tom Bechman

There is a strong partnership in Indiana when it comes to conservation. Everyone is on the same page, singing from the same hymnal. Based on anecdotal evidence from some visiting farmers, it’s not like that everywhere.

UPI: Invasive fish, snakes tracked with high-tech databases, maps, DNA
By Jean Lotus

Fish scientists on the hunt for non-native species are using an array of sophisticated techniques, including high-tech databases, storm maps and DNA samples to track destructive newcomers to U.S. waterways.

AP News: Wildfire acreage way down in California this year – so far
By Brian Melley

Acreage burned through Sunday is down 90 percent compared to the average over the past five years and down 95 percent from last year.

Science CodexGlobal change is triggering an identity switch in grasslands

They discovered grasslands can be surprisingly tough–to a point. In general, grasslands resisted the effects of global change for the first decade of exposure. But once they hit the 10-year mark, their species began to shift.

Nature: Soils linked to climate change
By Cornelia Rumpel

Carbon has been stored in the organic layers of boreal-forest soils for hundreds of years. An analysis reveals that this carbon might be released into the atmosphere as global warming increases the frequency of wildfires.

USA Today: First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River
By Ian James

‘An era of limits’ for the Colorado River: Mandatory cuts in water deliveries will take effect in 2020, reducing supplies for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

The Washington Post: The future of U.S. wildlife conservation could fall on this beetle
By Robert Gebelhoff

(Opinion) As the Trump administration tries to recategorize how threatened the American burying beetle is, our willingness to save the beetle or let it get squashed will also determine whether professionals in government beat out partisans and whether science prevails over special interests.

Gene and Kathy Ausland, Andover, SD

“I had a guy ask me where I lived. I told him. He asked me why I didn’t move closer to my job. I told him I live in heaven. Then he came out here and he agreed with me…”— Gene Ausland

2019 Grassland Stewardship Communications Project Partners: The Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, South Dakota State University, Audubon Dakota, Ducks Unlimited, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, SD Game, Fish and Parks, SD Soil Health Coalition, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and SD Grassland Coalition.

USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider, Employer and Lender.

“Preventing Wind Erosion and Capturing Moisture”
Chris Grubl, Sturgis, SD

“We only have about 8 inches of topsoil in this area, 6-8, and that’s probably being generous. If every year you lose a little of that, pretty quick you’re left with hardly anything. Now after we’ve been doing this for quite a few years, we’re not seeing that big difference anymore. The fields are getting more uniform again.” – Chris Grubl

This video features fifth generation farmer Chris Grubl and his family as they share how they are utilizing soil health practices like cover crops and integration of livestock to prevent wind erosion and capture much needed moisture. Previous generations used summer fallow but watching precious topsoil blow away each spring caused Chris to look for a better way of doing things. Grazing of cover crops and crop residue has provided more flexibility throughout the year and has allowed for more production in an economical way.


The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) has an Educational Resources page on their website, and it’s now live and available to view!

Education is a critical element of the conservation effort at the local, state and national levels. Educating young people about the benefits of conservation helps to ensure the next generation will be wise stewards of America’s natural resources. NACD assists districts with their stewardship and education efforts by offering various materials and opportunities that can be used in classrooms with children of all ages.

Covering topics including soil health, wildlife, forestry and general conservation, NACD has provided information and classroom resources that are available on our partners’ websites.

To access these lessons and more, visit the NACD Educational Resources webpage.


We’ve been working hard to update the Gevik Learning Area! One of the improvements was twenty new signs along the walking trail, made possible by a mini-grant from the South Dakota Discovery Center and 319 Information and Education Subcommittee. Head on out there, talk a walk, and see the signs for yourself! They’re full of information and we hope you think they enhance your walk!

If you want to learn more as you walk, we’ve also developed an online resource you can print and take along. You can also download it onto your phone, but sometimes the sun is so bright it’s hard to see your screen. This is an excellent resource for homeschool teachers, leaders of youth organizations, church groups, and/or family learning activity to help you learn more about conservation, wildlife, wetlands, and how they all work together. Click on the picture below to view and print the walking trail guide.

In case you don’t know how to get to the Gevik Learning Area, here is a map. We hope you enjoy your time there!


Last Wednesday, we participated in a soil health sit down. It was a great event! We wanted to share one thing with you, and that was the water infiltration demonstration presented by Craig Veldkamp from Brookings NRCS. In the picture, you’ll see several examples of ground cover ranging from a lot to not very much. Underneath each example is a water jar. As Craig applied water to the ground cover to simulate rainfall, the water ran off each example into the jar below. As the jars filled up, the ones to the right were much cloudier than the ones to the left, reflecting that ground cover does have an effect on water infiltration and runoff. Unfortunately, our “after” picture did not turn out so we can’t share it with you. If you ever get a chance to see one of these demonstrations in person, we encourage you to do so!

The Cammack Family
Union Center, SD

In the sixth video release of 2019, we visit the Cammack Family ranch in Union Center, South Dakota. The Cammack Family received the Leopold Conservation Award in 2018.

“We’ve planted thirty thousand trees, and a hundred years from now the only evidence of Amy and I being here will be the trees and the kids and the wildlife…” — Gary Cammack

The SD Grassland Coalition partnered with the organizations listed below to enhance the grassland planner with a release of a short video story each month during 2019 promoting healthy soils, grasslands, and ecosystems:

The Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, South Dakota State University, Audubon Dakota, Ducks Unlimited, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, SD Game, Fish and Parks, SD Soil Health Coalition, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and SD Grassland Coalition