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Conservation Corner

A grassroots movement for healthy soil spreads among farmers

Wed, April 11, 2018

An interesting article that I want to share with you.  Cover crops can also attract wildlife and be a food source.  Especially turnips, oats, cereal rye.  We just observed some wildlife off the interstate yesterday on our way to Springfield.  As we got closer we noticed they were in the only field that was green with cover crops.  Most likely cereal rye.


https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/04/09/597617822/a-grass-roots-movement-for-healthy-soil-spreads-among-farmers

 

 

 

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NRCS to Expand Targeted Conservation Effort for Wildlife on Agricultural Lands

Thu, March 29, 2018

From the Hawaiian nene to salamanders and turtles, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is adding several new target species to its premier wildlife conservation effort that helps agricultural producers make voluntary wildlife-friendly improvements on working lands.

 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is adding five new projects to Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), the agency’s targeted, science-based effort to help producers restore and protect habitat for declining species on farms, ranches and working forests.


Agriculture and wildlife both thrive together through landscape conservation. Through a locally led process, Working Lands for Wildlife has delivered many unprecedented successes over the years and we’re proud of our collective past achievements and look forward to continuing our work with America’s producers.


With more than two-thirds of the continental United States under private ownership, projects focus on declining species that have needs compatible with agricultural practices and rural land management and that can benefit from conservation on private lands. Some of the new projects focus on one target species; others focus on a group of species.


New projects include:


• Northern Plains Grassland in South Dakota and North Dakota;
• Blanding’s Turtle in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio;
• Louisiana Pine Snake in Louisiana and Texas;
• Hawaiian nene in Hawaii; and
• Eastern Hellbender in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.


When habitat is restored for these species, many others benefit. NRCS uses species as indicators of the health of the ecosystem at-large.  I can verify that when I visit the WRE site in southern Tazewell County that we are working on.  It is geared towards wetland wildlife habitat currently, but we see many pheasants there in the Native prairie grasses and forbs serving as upland buffer habitat. Many other birds are using the site.  It is the only habitat location around in the middle of the corn and soybean fields.  It serves as a habitat oasis.  Adding some milkweed habitat would benefit the monarch butterfly.

 

NRCS staff worked with local partners to expand opportunities for producers to address wildlife needs. Considerations included the compatibility of the species and agriculture, the network of available partners and the needs of the species.


Working Lands for Wildlife Conservation Model


So far, WLFW has helped producers restore 8.4 million acres of habitat for eight target species, such as the Monarch butterfly and Golden winged warbler.


The future of wildlife, agriculture and rural ways of life depend on our collective ability to transfer our Working Lands for Wildlife model to more species and working landscapes.  I am really looking forward to hearing about how this proposal for the Blanding’s turtle will work as I have mentioned I have identified 8-9 potential wetland restoration sites in Tazewell County.


Through WLFW, NRCS strategically invests where conservation returns are highest and measures how wildlife respond to management activities to refine conservation efforts.


Own or Manage Land? You Can Help.


NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers adopt a variety of conservation practices on their land. NRCS staff help producers with a conservation plan and provide funding to cover part of the costs for adopting the practices. These practices are designed to benefit both the species and the agricultural operation.


To learn more about assistance opportunities, landowners should contact their local USDA service center.

 

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Job Opportunity with PF

Thu, March 29, 2018

See the attached job description for a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist position in Paxton, Illinois with Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Work in a joint capacity with Pheasants Forever, Inc. (PF), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to promote, coordinate and implement the conservation provisions of the Federal Farm Bill and other related wildlife conservation programs. Conservation planning and implementation support to farmers and landowners with an emphasis on soil, water and wildlife resources in agricultural landscapes.  Meet with local chapters of Pheasants Forever and other local partners to influence habitat management efforts and participate in statewide habitat meetings.  Attend Farm Bill Biologist training and assist in coordinating technical assistance efforts.  Application deadline is April 14, 2018.


To apply, visit our website at: www.pheasantsforever.org/jobs .  For any questions, please contact Erin Holmes, Illinois State Coordinator, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

PHEASANTS FOREVER & QUAIL FOREVER
The Habitat Organization
JOB VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT


Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist - Illinois
Application Deadline: April 14, 2018


    Locations: USDA Service Centers in Ford County and surrounding area


Anticipated Start Date:  April 2018


Overview & Job Duties:


Work in a joint capacity with Pheasants Forever, Inc. (PF), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to promote, coordinate and implement the conservation provisions of the Federal Farm Bill and other related wildlife conservation programs. Conservation planning and implementation support to farmers and landowners with an emphasis on soil, water and wildlife resources in agricultural landscapes.  Meet with local chapters of Pheasants Forever and other local partners to influence habitat management efforts and participate in statewide habitat meetings.  Attend Farm Bill Biologist training and assist in coordinating technical assistance efforts. 


Responsibilities include:
• Program promotion, providing technical assistance, conservation planning, contract coordination, conservation plan modification, prescribed burn plans, site assessment
      and reporting. 
• Coordinate and conduct training sessions which include workshops and tours for landowners and resource professionals. 
• Provide technical assistance for wildlife habitat enhancement techniques to private landowners and public organizations. 
• Meet with local chapters of Pheasants Forever and other local partners to coordinate and influence habitat management efforts and participate in statewide meetings. 
• Meet regularly with PF, NRCS and IDNR staff to coordinate technical assistance efforts and for resource training.
• Implement specific conservation programs to improve wildlife habitat and public access.
• Assist or coordinate activities and projects as needed for PF, IDNR and NRCS.


Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities:
• Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with landowners and partner agencies.
• Ability to provide excellent customer service, sales and promotion to cooperators interested in conservation.
• Ability to work independently with little supervision and with diverse personalities and organizations.
• Extensive knowledge of wildlife ecology, wetland and grassland management techniques, principles, goals and objectives.
• Knowledge of conservation and wildlife programs provided by federal Farm Bill (WRP, CRP, SAFE, EQIP, WHIP, CSP, etc), other state, & local entities.  In addition, 
      knowledge of how these programs are implemented in an agricultural landscape is desired.
• Knowledge of the Farm and Prairie Campaign of the Illinois State Wildlife Action Plan
• Sound working knowledge of applying mid-contract management techniques, especially prescribed burning, to benefit target wildlife species. Practical application of    
      practices preferred.
• Excellent verbal and written communication.  Good computer skills (Word Excel, ArcMap).
• Strong organizational skills.
• Valid driver’s license required; some use of personal vehicle required (mileage reimbursement provided).
• Able to obtain USDA Federal Security Clearance.

Training and Experience Guideline:  Any combination of training and/or experience that will enable the applicant to possess the required knowledge, skills and abilities.  A general qualification guideline for this position is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Management or closely related natural resources field and/or related field experience.


Starting Salary:  $32,000 + Health Benefits and Retirement Package

To Apply:  Visit our website at: www.pheasantsforever.org/jobs . 

For any questions, please contact Erin Holmes, Illinois State Coordinator, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever are an EEO Employer/Vet/Disabled.

 

 

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