DRAFT. USDA NRCS Conservation Practices that Maintain or Enhance Agriculture Viability and Critical Areas

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1 USDA NRCS Conservation Practices that Maintain or Enhance Agriculture Viability and Critical Areas Wetlands Areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater supporting a prevalence of vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Includes swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Does not generally include artificial wetlands. Promote pest and nutrient management that maximizes agricultural productivity while reducing impacts to critical areas. Allow for flexible riparian area setbacks based on site-specific conditions or utilize a working buffers system in seasonally wet lands Implement conservation practices for pest and nutrient management Install, maintain or enhance grassed water ways in seasonally wet pasture and forage lands Maintain or increase rotational/seasonal grazing to keep livestock out of wetlands during the wettest times of year. Promote plans to protect and enhance f wetlands Maintain or enhance wetland and native plant communities in critical areas and associated buffers Maintain or increase acreage or stream miles found in or near riparian areas Maintain or increase miles of fencing for livestock exclusion Implement conservation practices for wetland and wildlife habitat management, creation, or enhancement Encourage planting with a native species mix targeted at erosion control and/or nutrient management 1 Wetland creation Wetland enhancement Wetland restoration Wetland and wildlife habitat management Grassed Waterway P a g e

2 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Areas Areas that serve a critical role in sustaining needed habitats and species for the functional integrity of the ecosystem, and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will persist over the long term. Includes: Rare or vulnerable ecological systems, communities, and habitat or habitat elements including seasonal ranges, breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors Areas with high relative population density or species richness. These also include locally important habitats and species. Promote pest and nutrient management that maximizes agricultural productivity while reducing impacts to critical areas. Protect agricultural production and crops from wildlife and pest damage. Implement conservation practices for pest and nutrient management Implement other fish and wildlife habitat management practices Monitor water quality and wildlife habitat benefits in Stewardship Plans (NRCS rating tools) Protect fish and wildlife habitats and species of local importance. Promote restoration and enhancement of fish and wildlife populations and their habitat. Maintain or increase strategic native plant communities that provide habitat structure and function in critical areas and associated buffers. Maintain or increase acreage or stream miles of riparian areas protected and enhanced. Maintain or increase acreage of habitat for beneficial wildlife species (bats, pollinators, raptors), listed species, and species of local importance. # Conservation Practice Examples NRCS # 1 Access control to exclude animals, people, vehicles, and/or equipment from an area Brush management to manage or remove plants that are invasive or noxious Conservation cover to provide permanent vegetative cover Forest stand improvement practices that improve wildlife habitat Fence: browsing animals management or wildlife movement management Hedgerows planting that provide food, cover, and corridors for wildlife or to 422 improve water quality as well as to fence or delineate an area 7 Structures for wildlife: raptor and bat nesting box for predator patrol Tree/shrub establishment Upland wildlife habitat management Watering facility for livestock and wildlife Wildlife and pollinator habitat planting Early successional habitat management Access road: position away from water bodies and water courses Irrigation system, micro-irrigation P a g e

3 15 Irrigation water management Prescribed grazing Riparian forest buffer Riparian herbaceous cover Seasonal high tunnel system for crops to maintain soil moisture Streambank and shoreline management Tree/shrub establishment Watering facility for livestock Nutrient Management, to monitor, balance and enhance soil, plant and animal 590 resources 24 Herbaceous Weed Control Conservation Cover P a g e

4 Geologically Hazardous Areas Areas susceptible to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geologic events, where development is not suitable due to public health or safety concerns. Protect agricultural activities from geologic hazards such as landslides. Reduce erosion Maintain surface water drainage Avoid siltation of water courses Maintain vegetative covers on extreme slopes Utilize hillside terracing in annual cropping Avoid increases in erosion and landslides Avoid and stabilize steep slopes Manage risk of landslides Avoid compaction of soil Avoid disturbing top and toe of steep slopes and landslide hazard areas Avoid irrigating unstable slopes 1 Access Road: Locate and build to control or reduce erosion Conservation cover Cover crops Forest stand improvement Mulching to control erosion and conserve soil moisture Prescribed grazing to reduce erosion and manage fuel loads Tree/shrub establishment for long-term erosion control and water quality 612 improvement 8 Hillside Ditch P a g e

5 Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas All of San Juan County is designated as a Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas. Typically, these are areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water including areas where an aquifer that is a source of drinking water is vulnerable to contamination that would affect the potability of the water, or is susceptible to reduced recharge. Promote pest and nutrient management that maximizes agricultural productivity while reducing impacts to critical areas Assess adequate clean water availability Establish and maintain 100 ft. well buffers to avoid nutrient, pesticide or herbicide transport into ground water Utilize nutrient management tools such as soil testing, P Index Implement irrigation efficiencies Maintain or improve water quality and quantity in critical aquifer recharge areas Implement irrigation efficiencies Avoid permanent alterations to critical aquifer recharge areas such as buildings, roads, and increased impervious surfaces Track water quality in individual Stewardship Plans (NRCS rating tools) 1 Water well: provide access to a groundwater supply suitable for livestock watering, 642 fire control, wildlife, and other agricultural uses 2 Groundwater testing to determine the quality of groundwater supply P a g e

6 Frequently Flooded Areas Lands in the flood plain subject to at least a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year or areas within the highest known recorded flood elevation, or within areas subject to flooding due to high groundwater. Includes: special flood hazard areas, streams, rivers, lakes, coastal areas, wetlands, and areas where high groundwater forms ponds on the ground surface; all areas within San Juan County identified on flood insurance rate maps. Avoid water contamination and damage from flooding to crops, farm machinery, and loss of livestock Inventory and maintain or improve drainage systems on site Maintain surface water drainage Avoid siltation of water courses Establish, enhance or install grassed waterways for seasonal flows Maintain floodplain areas and functions (i.e. capacity to retain floodwater flows) Avoid environmental damage due to flooding such as loss of floodplain storage or due to agricultural chemicals Acreage or stream miles of riparian areas maintained or voluntarily enhanced Maintain or reduce impervious surfaces relative to baseline conditions Avoid permanent alterations to floodplain areas that increase floodwater displacement, such as buildings, roads, and increased impervious surfaces Monitor water quality in individual stewardship plans that have implemented best management practices through cost-share programs. 1 Tree/ shrub establishment Stream Crossing for livestock, vehicle or machinery Stormwater Runoff Control Grassed Waterway P a g e

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