Controlling soil erosion and promoting grazing management practices are priorities that top the list on the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District's 2012 Need Assessment Plan. The plan was approved at the district's Oct. 27 board meeting.
The needs assessment is submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, helping the department plan for use of cost-share funds through its Soil and Water Conservation Program. Caldwell County, located in northwest Missouri, historically ranks among the top 10 counties in the state each year in the number of soil and water conservation practices applied to the land.
Ron McElwee, chairman of the Caldwell SWCD board of supervisors, points out that the county's technical staff is promoting the use of waterways to reduce overall tiling costs and lengths in terrace systems, a practice that further improves water quality.
Grazing management also is being promoted by the SWCD, and the board wrote in its needs assessment narrative that it expects many more landowners to participate in the state's grazing management cost-share practices in the next few years.
The district also has a number of farmers participating in a Special Area Land Treatment area. A number of farmers participating in the SALT project have completed nutrient and pest management plans. "The district's current SALT practice participation has been an excellent tool in assessing interest in this practice," according to the SWCD board.
Well decommissioning and spring development practices also have seen increased interest in the county.
In its narrative submitted to the DNR, the board pointed out that none of the county's streams are on the impaired waters list under the Clean Water Act. "The No. 1 concern is sediment from eroding soils," the board wrote. "The Board of Supervisors will continue to address landowner requests in all areas of conservation with the assistance of cost-share dollars, and maintain experienced staff to complete this process."