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NRCS Chief Dave White Attends USET Semi-Annual Meeting

Written by Fay Garner, Public Affairs Assistant, NRCS, Alabama

NRCS Chief Dave White joined members of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), Inc. and other agency leaders at the USET semi-annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama, June 14-17, 2010. USET’s 25 Tribal members are dedicated to enhancing the development of Indian Tribes and improving the capabilities of Tribal governments. They also assist the member Tribes and their governments in dealing effectively with public policy issues and in serving the broad needs of Indian people.

On Tuesday, June 15, a number of people, including Chief White, toured the PBCI reservation to view practices installed using NRCS financial assistance programs. The group also included Chairman Buford Rolin of the Atmore, Alabama Federally recognized Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI); NRCS Assistant Chief Walt Douglas; and Alabama NRCS State Conservationist Bill Puckett. The group saw diverse projects such as cross-fencing, watering facilities and livestock shade structures. They also viewed improvements on the Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve timber property and recreational facilities.

On Wednesday, June 16, Chief White will speak to the USET Board of Directors to inform them about the technical and financial assistance available to implement conservation activities on Tribal lands that conserve soil, water, air and wildlife resources.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians installed 41 watering facilities. The watering facilities improve plant health by allowing forage plants to rest, making it easier to manage animal waste and improving water quality.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians installed 41 watering facilities. The watering facilities improve plant health by
allowing forage plants to rest, making it easier to manage animal waste and improving water quality.

USDA Rural Development Puerto Rico Celebrates Homeownership Month Activity at the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA) Convention

By Miguel A. Ramírez, Public Affairs CoordinatorLast week the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA) held its annual convention in Puerto Rico.  Three hundred eighty housing managers participated in the convention. Arlene Zambrana, USDA Rural Housing Program Director and her staff were also present.Rural Development Officials talked about the Homeownership Month Celebration and the success stories we had with funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Officials explained the current funding availabilities the Agency has under consideration during June 2010, and the Multifamily Housing Program and Civil Rights Program that protect the residents of the housing projects.The Housing Administrator had a face to face meeting with Federal, State and Municipal Agency’s representatives where they discussed the things we are doing well and the things that needed improvement.USDA Rural Development Puerto Rico is working really hard promoting our Rural Housing Programs this month, with meetings around the island, newspapers articles and TV appearances of José Otero-García, State Director,  promoting our Agency’s Rural Housing Program and success stories.

Becoming a Climate Ready Conservation Agency

The National Academy of Sciences last week released a set of three new reports on advancing the science, adapting to the impacts, and limiting the magnitude of climate change. These peer-reviewed reports reconfirmed that there is a strong, credible body of evidence documenting climate change, its correlation to greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use, and its association with impacts. Many of these will affect forests and grasslands including increases in intense rainfall, decreases in snow cover, more intense and frequent heat waves and drought, increases in wildfires, and longer growing seasons. Many impacts of a changing climate are already showing up. Projections anticipate an additional warming of 2 to 11.5 degrees F over the next century, on top of the 1.4 degrees F already observed over the past 100 years. Read more »

Recovery Act at Work in the New York City Watershed

Ivy Allen, New York NRCSThe Watershed Agriculture Council (WAC) hosted a tour of three farms in the New York City watershed that received American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding. Putting conservation on the ground in this watershed will result in more than 1 billion gallons of clean drinking water for 9 million New York residents every day. Projects featured on the tour included waste storage facilities, compost structures and stream fencing. Along with whole farm plans, these practices will result in reduced waterborne pathogens, nutrients, and sediments.

Through ARRA and an agreement with WAC, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing technical and financial assistance to 327 landowners in the New York City watershed who are voluntarily implementing conservation practices and improving water quality. NRCS helps landowners voluntarily participate in conservation programs that protect water and many other natural resources.

USDA-NRCS administered $1 million dollars through ARRA funding to improve water quality within the New York City watershed. The watershed extends 125 miles, contains 19 reservoirs, and 3 lakes. This surface water supply system is one of the largest in the world and the conservation practices being implemented support clean water and a healthy environment.

Stream fencing protects against animal waste and streambank plantings create a “buffer strip” that filters pollutants from the water.
Stream fencing protects against animal waste and streambank plantings
create a “buffer strip” that filters pollutants from the water.

Small Farm Composter.
Small Farm Composter.

Hot Peppers Spice Up a Rainy Day in The People’s Garden

Where can you have free chili from the famous  Ben’s Chili Bowl, chile pepper plants, chile pepper t-shirts, chile pepper games, live mariachi music, and tons of spicy fun? At The People’s Garden New Mexico Chile Pepper Fiesta! Read more »

New Health Facility to Improve Quality of Life for Michigan Residents

Recently, I broke ground for the Center for Family Health’s New Health Center in Jackson, Michigan, along with Congressman Mark Schauer. Read more »