NRCS Accepting Applications to Assist Farms and Ranches with Natural Resource Concerns

Beef cattle on a feedlot in the Texas Panhandle. Photo credit: Wikimedia

From The North Forty News (Theresa Rose):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado is currently accepting applications for enrollment into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is a voluntary Farm Bill program that provides financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing, water supply development, riparian protection, and wildlife habitat enhancement. Producers interested in implementing conservation practices to improve natural resources on their private agricultural land have until Friday, December 15, 2017 to submit applications.

The opportunities to participate in EQIP are diverse. In addition to the general EQIP enrollment, the Program also affords Veterans, socially disadvantaged, beginning, and limited resource farmers and ranchers specific opportunities to improve or enhance natural resources on their lands. There are even specific opportunities for landowners with interests in improving forest and soil health as well as those wanting to enhance sage grouse, southwestern willow flycatcher, and lesser prairie chicken habitat.

Applications are accepted at all Colorado NRCS offices which are located in USDA Service Centers. To find out more information about EQIP or to locate a local NRCS office near you, please visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov and select the Contact Us or Programs links.

When visiting with NRCS staff about the EQIP program, landowners are encouraged to inquire about NRCS’ comprehensive conservation plans. The Agency continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives. Conservation plans provide landowners with a comprehensive inventory and assessment of their resources, as well as an appropriate start to improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife on their land.

Merino gets closer to deploying new R.O. plant

Ashcraft & Brown Building, Merino, Colorado, as it appeared on a 1909 postcard. Image courtesy of Ken Wilson.

From The Sterling Journal Advocate (Jeff Rice):

Merino Town board approved change orders for the town’s nearly-finished water purification and delivery system Monday night during a short, emergency-delayed meeting.

Boyd Hanzon of Rocky Mountain Water Solutions, primary contractor on the new water system, told the board the system could be up and running in a few weeks if the appropriate branch of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment signs off on at least one of the system’s three settling ponds. The ponds are necessary for disposal of the impurities filtered out of the water.

Two of the ponds were found to have leaks during testing, Hanzon said, but the third pond is satisfactory. The system can run with only one pond, he said, so J.B. Wright & Associates, the on-site supervising company, has submitted a conditional certification report to the state.

“The (reverse osmosis) system is set up and ready to go, but we need a place to put the waste,” Hanzon said. “I hope to hear back (from CDPHE) sometime this week, and once we get the go-ahead on that one pond, we can start using the system.”

Hanzon said once the two damaged ponds are repaired, all three will be re-certified, but for now the system can run with just one pond.

There was just one catch, however. Hanzon said three small change orders need to be implemented in order to fully automate the system and make it accessible via remote control. The system can be accessed by certified users using internet connections, which means the system can be controlled by people in Merino and at the headquarters of the company that built the RO system. The remote control and automation means Merino doesn’t need a staff on-site to run the system.

The four attending trustees approved the change order in a 4-0 roll call vote.

Fort Lupton: #Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidates hit the trail

Colorado Capitol building

From 9News.com (Anusha Roy):

When it comes to education, several candidates supported more vocational training.

Two candidates, Doug Robinson and Greg Lopez, said a four-year college may not be the right choice for everyone.

And candidate Tom Tancredo, who’s run twice for governor before, said any student who graduates from a public high school should also be able to pass a citizenship test.

The candidates also supported the oil and gas industry. However Steve Barlock, who worked on President Trump’s campaign, qualified his support saying the industry shouldn’t’t impact Colorado’s water.

Several candidates also mentioned transportation and the need for road improvements and called for more transparency with budgets.

From The Denver Post (John Aguilar):

Several candidates on Monday called for additional water storage in the state to help Colorado capture more of it and allow less of it to flow out of state. They said several large-scale reservoir projects need to move forward.

New Antarctic heat map reveals sub-ice hotspots — British Antarctic Survey #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

The most high resolution map of the geothermal heat beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Credit: The British Antarctic Survey

Here’s the release from the British Antarctic Survey (Athena Dinar):

The data used come from magnetic measurements mainly collected by aircraft flying over the continent and the results reveal the ‘hot spots’ under West Antarctica and on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most rapidly changing areas of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Lead author, geophysicist Dr Yasmina Martos who completed the work at BAS says:
“This new map of heat escaping from inside the Earth will help advance our understanding of the conditions at the base of the ice sheet, improving our ability to understand the past and to project future changes of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its impact on global sea level”.

Co-author BAS geophysicist Dr Tom Jordan says:
“It is incredibly difficult to take direct measurements of heat from the Earth’s interior beneath 3-4 km of ice in extremely cold and hostile conditions. That’s why we have used magnetic data to infer the heat and we’re pleased that what we have is 30-50% more accurate than previous studies.”

The Antarctic Ice Sheet contains the largest reservoirs of fresh water on our planet – around 70% of the world’s fresh water – and is currently losing ice, which contributes to rising sea levels.

The BAS twin otter aircraft features geophysical survey equipment which collected some of the magnetic observations in Antarctica

BAS Science Director and glaciologist Professor David Vaughan says:
“If we are to predict with any certainty the future response of Antarctica in a warming world, scientists need to understand the role that heat from the Earth plays. What we know is that over time, the heat flow into the ice is quite constant and so the ice sheet adjusts to it. The ice loss we’ve seen in recent decades is actually the result of changes in air and ocean temperatures. How the ice sheet will respond to these recent changes is influenced by the pattern of geothermal heat, and that’s why this new map is so important”.