Autumn 2006 ohiodnr.com volume 41, No. 2 NEWS And through By LEAPS and the woods bounds Shelby SWCD Livestock accommodates drainage, woodland. P3 & VIEWS Environmental Assurance Program. P2 ODNR Division of Soil and Water Conservation Calendar Conservation CO2ling with conservation Kirk Hines, Administrator, Conservation Engineering Human-caused or otherwise, global nies (on a voluntary basis for now) Oct 3-6 TDP II Molly Caren - FSR warming is now a widely recognized would pay for carbon sequestration or problem. Atmospheric concentrations methane capturing methods. Outside Oct 10-11 TDP III-V of greenhouse gas such as carbon funding to explore these possibilities Fountain Square dioxide and methane have risen sub- has come from Environmental Defense Oct 17-18 TDP I stantially and temperatures are increas- (ED), a national non-profit organization Horace Collins Lab ing globally. that provides funding for landowners Two interrelated ways to address on agricultural and forest management Oct 18 AADP elevated carbon dioxide levels involve demonstration projects nationwide to Columbus 1) capturing carbon in growing plant reduce global warming while improv- Nov 16 AADP materials – trees and other crops – and ing land and water quality. Columbus 2) avoiding tillage, thereby allowing Recently, the Ohio Corn Grower’s Jan-16 AADP soil carbon to increase. Another poten- Association has become a major Columbus tial strategy for slowing the increasing partner in this project and is commit- concentrations of greenhouse gases ted to being an aggregator of farmers/ Jan 16-17 OFSWCD Annual Mtg involves capturing methane generated acres. In the future SWCDs may be Columbus at large livestock operations. asked to play a support role, perhaps Feb 4-8 NACD Annual Mtg Since 2003 the division has been providing independent monitoring of Los Angeles laying groundwork in Ohio for a practices. project under which utility compa- continued on page 2 Applause Building district capacity Justin Reinhart, Area 5 Engineer Technician In February of 2003 ODNR introduced Development the Technician Development Program Program TDP) to provide consistent and detailed training for newly hired tech- nicians.Three years later it continues to be a success as the fourth series of Level 1 classes began with 19 techni- Ohio Envirothon team placed cians aiming to join the 137 who have already completed courses in engi- 5th at the Canon Envirothon neering references, plan preparation, in Manitoba. P4 math refresher, hydrology, surveying with levels, and soils. Additionally, a third series of level 2 classes, which include training in Watersheds hydraulics, surveying with transits, Wayne County watershed construction inspection, soils engi- project reaches out to neering, and designing ponds, grass Amish. P3 waterways, and grade stabilization structures, will be concluded in 2006, increasing the number of Level 2 TDP students learn basic surveying skills certified technicians to 98. by practicing with a laser level. continued on page 3 2 SOIL & WATER CONSERvATION CO2ling with conservation Farmers encouraged to TAKE A LEAP continued from page 1 In fact, Ohio farmers can take their pick – LEAP 1 or ED has demonstration projects in several states where LEAP 2…the Livestock Environmental Assurance payments are made to landowners for engaging in con- Program, that is. servation practices such as no-till farming, converting By participating in LEAP Level 1 or Pasture, livestock marginal farmland to grassland or forest, and construct- producers have an opportunity to take a pro-active ing methane digesters for animal manure. Environmental approach in blending sound production economics Defense believes that a substantial portion of green- with concern about environmental quality.The goal is to house gas reduction can come from agriculture, with minimize government regulations by providing produc- funding from large greenhouse gas emitters. ers with an educational program that addresses relevant environmental issues. Why sequester carbon in the soil? Pasture-based livestock systems can also pose a risk to Reports indicate that the concentration of greenhouse the environment, and also need to be managed in an envi- gases in the atmosphere has increased from 280 ppm to ronmentally friendly, responsible and sensitive manner. 370 ppm over the past few hundred years. Many experts LEAP 2 is designed to help producers obtain and (and much of society) link the accumulation of these organize information and identify appropriate best man- gases to changes in temperature, rain patterns and distri- agement practices (BMPs) necessary to develop, adopt, bution, snowfall, and other aspects of climate. Although and implement a Comprehensive Nutrient Management no national or international policy regulates greenhouse Plan. Such a plan outlines how farmers will manage and gas emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous address issues related to manure and wastewater han- oxide), in the United States there is a market for selling dling and storage, feed management, land application carbon offsets and credits. practices, nutrient management, record keeping and While agriculture produces substantial amounts of other utilization options.The plan’s BMPs address and two greenhouse gases - methane and nitrous oxide - and minimize the impact and effect of dust, noise, odors and minor amounts of carbon dioxide, a number of practices pests on the respective farm’s neighbors and community. adopted by farmers and other landowners can also store Helping horse and stable owners is the goal of the or “sequester” carbon in the soil as organic matter and Equine Environmental and Liability Awareness Program in trees, helping reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (patterned after LEAP).The program’s curriculum focuses in the atmosphere. Practices that increase the amount of on key issues that are critically important to the success soil carbon also often reduce soil erosion and improve of an equine operation developing and implementing soil quality as well. practices that are economically viable, environmentally Many businesses, such as large utility companies, are friendly, and socially acceptable. Specific topics that choosing to offset greenhouse gas emissions by purchas- will be addressed during the training session include ing credits from landowners – including farmers – who protecting water quality, manure and nutrient manage- are able to store or sequester additional carbon. ment, pasture management, facility design, conservation practices, neighbor relations, regulatory compliance and What is the typical amount of soil carbon sequestered Ohio’s equine liability law. in Ohio? This is highly variable and depends on a number of factors including the soil type. Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor at By the numbers - Participation to date The Ohio State University, has suggested 300 to 500 lbs LEAP Level 1 & Pasture – 6,040 of carbon/acre/year or ½ to1 ton of CO2 as an average LEAP Level 2 – 169 number for soil carbon or CO2 sequestered for no-till in Manure Management Issues, Challenges & Solutions - 483 Ohio. If a producer is converting cropland to trees, this Equine Train the Trainer programs - 162 number may approach five or more tons of CO2. Equine Environmental & Liability Awareness Program - 322 What is the price paid per ton of carbon sequestered? At present, no standard exists for calculating the tons of Manure on horse farms is typically handled and stored carbon sequestered, so price varies significantly from very differently than other livestock farms. Additionally, project to project. ED is currently working with Duke many horse farms do not have a direct link to crops like University to develop a “Gold Standard” – a technically other livestock farms, nor do they usually have adequate correct and transparent definitional standard for ter- forage resources.Therefore, it is very important that they restrial greenhouse gas offsets. Currently, contracts learn to recognize the challenges that they face and are approaching $10 - $15 per ton of carbon seques- become acquainted with management practices that can tered. Experts have estimated that offsets will need to help address natural resource concerns and potential approach $50 per ton of carbon to get significant inter- liability issues.This comprehensive education and aware- est from the agricultural community. ness program will help them do exactly that. SOIL & WATER CONSERvATION 3 Building district capacity ing over the continued from page 1 past 50 years or And for the first time, 27 techni- so. In fact, the cians have reached level 3-certification channel wasn’t after completing training in special- as unstable as it ized topics such as TR-55, stream first appeared. morphology, GIS and designing dry After careful hydrants, wetlands, and subsurface consideration, a drainage. new approach Participant feedback indicates the was taken to TDP is meeting its goals. Don Garver address the (urban conservationist, Mahoning wooded section SWCD) was 1 year into his job when of the channel. the program began. After completing In order to the level 1, 2, and 3 coursework, he reduce project says “TDP has been a great asset for costs a ‘snag and me.Topics such as hydraulic jump clear’ operation and soil compaction have helped me was used to communicate better with the County What do you call a ditch through remove logjams Engineer and better understand the and dead trees plans I review.” Nearing completion the woods? SUCCESSFUL! from 1,500 of Level 2, Cody Hacker, (district Terry Mescher, Area 4 Engineer feet of channel technician, vinton SWCD) offers,“The banks. Some minimal work was done classes provide a good understand- The Platvoet Ditch, albeit fairly large, at the downstream end of this reach. ing before going out into the field. was a typical petition ditch project for Riprap was used to protect the toe of You’re not going out there completely Shelby SWCD.The project has had its the banks to minimize bank erosion, blind.” Technicians also see a personal ups and downs, its sometimes-heated and a grade control structure had to benefit from the TDP. Sara Morris (Soil meetings with landowners, and no be installed at the end of the section Conservationist, NRCS, Union Co) shortage of changes to the design. since no excavation was conducted started in the program shortly after Due to the eroded condition of the through the woods. her NRCS career began 2 years ago. channel, the original design called Overall, this approach was a “win- She believes “learning how to design for straightening and channelizing win” as the project’s price tag was all the various conservation prac- a wooded section of the ditch.This greatly reduced and the channel was tices, not just the ones I work with, proposal would have been extremely left to wander through the woods as will better prepare me for a District expensive due to the required tree it always had. Conservationist position some day.” removal and excavation costs. CONTACTS: To meet the growing demand for Upon studying the section of Terry Mescher, Division Engineer training, sessions on Geographic channel that passed through the Jason Bruns, Shelby SWCD Information Systems (GIS) and woods and looking closely at historic Administrator Surveying with Total Station have been photos, designers concluded that the Dave Heilers, Shelby SWCD added to the Level 3 curriculum for eroded condition had been develop- Technician 2006. North Fork Watershed watershed of only 20,000 other farmers began taking Building trust first acres. According to former an interest in addressing conservation needs on Jeff VanLoon watershed coordinator their own farms. While and protection in the Rachel Webb, this chal- EQIP funds were not North Fork Watershed, beginning was establish- lenge was overcome acceptable to the Amish, located in Wayne County ing trust and acceptance when a few Amish leaders and endorsed watershed and centered around with the Amish community. installed conservation plans were not of interest Kidron, is a commercial Their inherent reluctance practices such as fencing to them, the project has hub for a large Amish to work with government livestock from stream proven successful in its population. A big challenge agencies needed to be banks, thereby raising con- own way – getting conser- for watershed planning addressed, even in a small servation’s visibility. Many vation “on the land.” 4 SOIL & WATER CONSERvATION Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Ohio team takes 5th It’s all in the presentation First, they won a weeklong trip to Canada.Then they each got $1,000 for college. Not bad for doing something they enjoy anyway. At least that’s how five students from Chardon High School in Geauga County felt about their Envirothon expe- rience this summer. The students took first place at the Area 2 Envirothon on May 3rd.Then they captured the Ohio Envirothon title the highest oral presentation score, and a 5th place finish in June, with high scores in Soils, Current Issue (tied with overall. Putnam County’s Fort Jennings) and Oral Presentation. Team coach and Chardon High School teacher Marilyn This victory entitled them to represent Ohio at the Canon Rohr said,“The students had a great time and have learned Envirothon in Manitoba July 23-29. A record 52 teams so much through their involvement in this program. We competed this year from 44 states and eight provinces. appreciate everything that soil and water conservation And when the smoke cleared, the Ohio team finished with districts do to make this experience possible.” spring developments, land judging contests, the grazing fencing, mobile state-level Ohio Envirothon, water systems, and livestock annual Environmental Days, management. Summer Supervisor School The property is also one tours, and many other educa- of only three sites in Ohio tional events on the farm. with a grove of Super Sugar The district has Maple trees to recognized ensure a seed Malabar Farm Malabar Farm source for future and Richland SWCD as Cooperator share long history of the Year and Growing up together generations. SWCD board named Park Jeff VanLoon members have served on Manager Louis Andres as the Malabar Farm advi- Conservationist of the Year. Since 1939, Malabar Farm the land from 1939 until sory board for years and Current SWCD supervisor (now an Ohio state park) his death in 1956. Early recently the district con- Charles Winger and past has been a work in progress practices like contour tributed over $5,000 to the Supervisor Dick Forbes for the Richland SWCD.The strips, crop rotations, green Malabar Farm Foundation contributed untold hours district worked with previ- manure, tiling, windbreaks, toward construction of a to the farm advisory com- ous owner Louis Bromfield and forest management new Education Center. The mittee and Foundation, and (a Pulitzer Prize-winning were used to build soil tilth. district, in conjunction with members John Hildreth and author and conservation More recently the district Malabar Farm Park officials, Diana Kelley have assisted promoter) who farmed has assisted with wetlands, has held state and local with many Park projects. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Conservation 2045 Morse Road, Bldg B-3 Columbus OH 43229 614-265-6610 614-265-6994 (TDD) Bob Taft, Governor Sam Speck, Director David Hanselmann, Chief Nelson Strong, News & Views Editor An equal opportunity employer-M/F/H Printed on recycled paper.