Natural resource issues topic of Dec. 11 discussion

JOHN DAY - The Grant and Monument Soil and Water Conservation District will meet 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the USDA Service Center conference room, 721 S. Canyon Blvd.

The Local Work Group is comprised of members from federal, state, tribal, county and local government agencies charged with providing information regarding natural resource issues to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in administering the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The EQIP program is a federal conservation cost share program available to agricultural producers and provides up to 75 percent financial assistance to agricultural producers to implement natural resource conservation practices on private property in Grant County.

During the meeting, public comment will be accepted. For more information, contact CiCi Brooks at 575-0135, extension 108.

Funding available to control erosion on private land

JOHN DAY - The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board has allocated funds for immediate use in erosion control and prevention on private lands damaged by 2002 wildfires. The goal is to restore, or at least prevent further degradation of, watershed function where recent wildfire is expected to increase vulnerability to precipitation and runoff events this winter and spring.

OWEB funds are to be used on private land for aerial seed distribution, seed mulch spraying, or other planting techniques. Other treatments will be considered if they directly improve watershed function and decrease erosion potential in the short term. One example is the use of downed woody material placed across a slope to impede overland runoff. Erosion control projects that also restore wildlife forage and habitat values are strongly encouraged.

There is a $10,000 per landowner funding cap. All OWEB funds must be matched by an amount equal to at least 25 percent of the OWEB grant.

Applications will be accepted though Friday, Dec. 13. The Grant Soil and Water Conservation District will forward applications to Salem, where final funding decisions are made.

Re-establishing forests, while an appropriate long-term restoration strategy for fire-damaged forests lands, is not the purpose of these funds at this time.

Tree or shrub planting as an integral component of a soil stabilization strategy can be eligible for these funds, but the applicant must show how the short-term erosion control goal of this program is met by tree planting.

Funds are not intended for the replacement of fire-destroyed fences, water developments, bridges, outbuildings and other infrastructure.

For an application or more information, contact Pat Holliday or Ken Delano at 575-0135, extension 101.

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