The text below provides descriptions of key conservation activities in Douglas County. These are NOT the only activities that protect and enhance critical areas, and as such, are NOT the only activities that count towards VSP goals and benchmarks.
Conservation Cover (NRCS Code 327) is a permanent vegetation cover established and maintained to reduce sheet, rill and wind erosion; reduce nutrient and sediment delivery to improve ground and surface water quality; enhance wildlife, pollinator and beneficial wildlife habitat; or improve soil health.
Conservation Crop Rotation (NRCS Code 328) is a planned sequence of at least two different crops grown on the same ground over a period of time. The purpose is to reduce sheet, rill and wind erosion; maintain or increase soil health and organic matter content; reduce water quality degradation due to excess nutrients; improve soil moisture efficiency; reduce the concentration of salts and other chemicals from saline seeps; reduce plant pest pressures; provide feed and forage for domestic livestock; or provide food and cover habitat for wildlife, including pollinator forage, and nesting habitat.
Cover Crop (NRCS Code 340) is when grasses, legumes, and forbs are planted for seasonal vegetative cover. The purpose is to reduce erosion from wind and water; maintain or increase soil health and organic matter content; reduce water quality degradation by utilizing excessive soil nutrients; suppress excessive weed pressures and break pest cycles; improve soil moisture use efficiency; or minimize soil compaction.
Fence (NRCS Code 382) is a constructed barrier to animals or people to facilitate the accomplishment of conservation objectives by providing a means to control movement of animals and people, including vehicles.
Field Border (NRCS Code 386) is a strip of permanent vegetation established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field to reduce erosion from wind and water; protect soil and water quality; provide wildlife food and cover; provide pollinator or other beneficial organism habitat; increase carbon storage; or improve air quality.
Microirrigation (NRCS Code 441) is an irrigation system for frequent application of small quantities of water on or below the soil surface: as drops, tiny streams, or miniature spray through emitters or applicators placed along a water delivery line. The purpose is to efficiently and uniformly apply irrigation water and maintain soil moisture for plant growth; prevent contamination of ground and surface water by efficiently and uniformly applying chemicals; or establish desired vegetation (e.g., windbreaks).
Irrigation Water Management (NRCS Code 449) is the process of determining and controlling the volume, frequency and application rate of irrigation water. The purpose is to improve irrigation water use efficiency; minimize irrigation induced soil erosion, decrease degradation of surface and groundwater resources, manage salts in the crop root zone, manage air, soil, or plant micro-climate; or reduce energy use.
Livestock Pipeline (NRCS Code 516) is a pipeline and appurtenances installed to convey water for livestock or wildlife; reduce energy use; or develop renewable energy systems.
Nutrient Management (NRCS Code 590) is managing the amount (rate), source, placement (method of application), and timing of plant nutrients and soil amendments. The purpose is to budget, supply, and conserve nutrients for plant production; to minimize agricultural nonpoint source pollution of surface and groundwater resources; to properly utilize manure or organic by-products as a plant nutrient source; to protect air quality by reducing odors, nitrogen emissions (ammonia, oxides of nitrogen), and the formation of atmospheric particulates; or to maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil.
Integrated Pest Management (NRCS Code 595) is a site-specific combination of pest prevention, pest avoidance, pest monitoring, and pest suppression strategies. The purpose is to prevent or mitigate off-site pesticide risks to water quality from leaching, solution runoff and adsorbed runoff losses; prevent or mitigate off-site pesticide risks to soil, water, air, plants, animals and humans from drift and volatilization losses; prevent or mitigate on-site pesticide risks to pollinators and other beneficial species through direct contact; or prevent or mitigate cultural, mechanical and biological pest suppression risks to soil, water, air, plants, animals and humans.
For the purposes of this work plan integrated pest management also includes the combination of cultural, mechanical, and biological, as well as chemical methods of pest treatment, with the purpose of reducing the amount of chemicals used in pest management, thereby reducing the potential for contamination and resistance.
Prescribed Grazing (NRCS Code 528) is managing the harvest of vegetation with grazing and/or browsing animals to improve or maintain desired species composition and vigor of plant communities; improve or maintain quantity and quality of forage for grazing and browsing animals’ health and productivity; improve or maintain surface and/or subsurface water quality and quantity; improve or maintain riparian and watershed function; reduce accelerated soil erosion, and maintain or improve soil condition; improve or maintain the quantity and quality of food and/or cover available for wildlife; or manage fine fuel loads to achieve desired conditions.
Range Planting (NRCS Code 550) is the establishment of adapted perennial or self-sustaining vegetation such as grasses, forbs, legumes, shrubs and trees. The purpose is to restore a plant community similar to the Ecological Site Description reference state for the site or the desired plant community; provide or improve forages for livestock; provide or improve forage, browse or cover for wildlife; reduce erosion by wind and/or water; improve water quality and quantity; or increase carbon sequestration.
Residue and Tillage Management – No Till (NRCS Code 329) is limiting soil disturbance to manage the amount, orientation and distribution of crop and plant residue on the soil surface year around. The purpose is to reduce sheet, rill and wild erosion; reduce tillage-induced particulate emissions; maintain or increase soil quality and organic matter content; reduce energy use; increase water use and precipitation storage efficiency; or provide food and escape cover for wildlife.
Residue and Tillage Management – Reduced Till (NRCS Code 345) is managing the amount, orientation and distribution of crop and other plant residue on the soil surface year round while limiting the soil-disturbing activities used to grow and harvest crops in systems where the field surface is tilled prior to planting. The purpose is to reduce sheet, rill and wind erosion; reduce tillage-induced particulate emissions; maintain or increase soil quality and organic matter content; or reduce energy use.
Sprinkler System (NRCS Code 442) is a distribution system that applies water by means of nozzles operated under pressure. The purpose is to accomplish efficient and uniform application of water on irrigated lands; improve plant condition, productivity, health and vigor; prevent the entry of excessive nutrients, organics, and other chemicals in surface and groundwater; improve condition of soil contaminated with salts and other chemicals; reduce particulate matter emissions to improve air quality; or reduce energy use.
Structures for Wildlife (NRCS Code 649) is a structure installed to replace or modify a missing or deficient wildlife habitat component to enhance or sustain non-domesticated wildlife or modify existing structures that pose a hazard to wildlife.
Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (NRCS Code 645) is to provide and manage upland habitats and connectivity within the landscape for wildlife with the purpose of treating upland wildlife habitat concerns identified during the conservation planning process that enable movement, or provide shelter, cover, food in proper amounts, locations and times to sustain wild animals that inhabit uplands during a portions of their life cycle.
Watering Facility (NRCS Code 614) is a means of providing drinking water to livestock or wildlife. The purpose is to store or provide designated access to drinking water for livestock or wildlife to supply daily water requirements; improve animal distribution; or provide a water source that is an alternative to a sensitive resource.
Riparian Buffers (DOE BMP) are generally recognized as a “separation zone” between a water body and a land use activity for the purposes of protecting ecological processes and water quality. The riparian buffer usually extends from the streams’ ordinary high water mark to the outer edge of the floodplain. Riparian buffers provide essential functions for river and stream ecosystems, including cover and shade, a source of fine or coarse woody material, nutrients, and organic and inorganic debris that maintain stream ecosystem function. Riparian buffers are relatively undisturbed by human activity and contain native vegetation consistent with the potential of the site.
Organic Certification (WSDA) indicates that an agricultural product has been produced by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Use of sewage sludge, irradiation, genetic engineering, and most synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is prohibited.
Global G.A.P IFA Fruit and Vegetables Standard Certificate assures that the commodity was grown using environmental management practices that meet the standard for sustainable agriculture. The certificate includes standards for several environmental categories including: waste and pollution management, conservation (including wildlife management), soil management and conservation, fertilizer application, water management, and integrated pest management.
Pollinator Habitat Creation/Management can be implemented through many voluntary conservation activities, as long as providing or managing pollinator habitat is a stated objective, including but not limited to: Conservation Cover, Field borders, Buffer Strips, Filter Strips, Hedge Rows, Wind Breaks. Pollinator habitat includes providing safe foraging, nesting, egg laying, and resting habitats.