Monday, December 10, 2012

USDA Accepting Applications for Irrigation Assistance
Bangor, Maine, December 6, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maine has announced that they have received Fiscal Year 2013 Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program funds for irrigation assistance to private landowners in Maine. Approximately $294,000 will be made available to both large- and small-scale irrigators.  The deadline for applications is January 18, 2013. 

AMA, administered by NRCS, is available in 16 states where participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program is historically low.  AMA assists agricultural producers to manage risk and voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation practices into their farming operations. 

“This program gives landowners an additional opportunity to construct or improve their water management structures and to mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices,” said Juan Hernandez, State Conservationist for NRCS in Maine.  “This will benefit not only the landowner, but their neighbors and community as well.”

Under AMA, contracts will have a one to ten-year contract period, and the practices must be maintained for the life of the practice.  There is a $50,000 per year payment limitation per participant. 

Sign-up for AMA is available on a continuous basis.  Landowners can sign up for this program at their local USDA Service Center/Natural Resources Conservation Service office, listed online at or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.  Applications received by January 18, 2013 will be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2013.

For more information about AMA and other NRCS conservation programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or go to

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Round-up & Conservation News
Today is one of the most important days of the year - voting day. It is up to each of us to head to the polls to cast our votes to determine the path of the next 4 years. There is still time to learn about the candidates & issues on your local ballot & make your decisions.

We are also in the midst of our 2013 YCSWCD Supervisor election. This is for a 3 year District Supervisor Term. Tony Carroll of Limerick is a Dairy Farmer who has been involved with the District for 12 years is running for this position. If you would like to cast your vote please call our office for a ballot. You must be a resident of York County, ME in order to vote. Write in candidate space in provided on the ballot.

This has been a busy year for the District & we are in the process of wrapping up our field season. On Saturday we hosted local Invasive Plant Patrol Team leaders for a roundtable discussion & wrap up presentation for our 2012 Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant. Each team member provided us with an update on their activities this summer & provided input into future projects. This groups has really come together to support one anothers efforts to monitor for the presence of aquatic invaders. It can be a daunting task for newcomers & this group provides technical support & resources throughout York County.

Work in the Square Pond Watershed continued this summer through a 319 grant from ME DEP. We also received funding for work in the Goodall Brook Watershed & Pequawket lake (Horn Pond) watershed.

We completed outreach in the Salmon Falls Watershed focused on Forestry projects through which landowners were guaranteed cost-share funding for Forestry Management plans.

Our Demo Forest in Lyman has seen some changes this past year. Last fall we completed the first harvest on the property based on our forest management plan. We hosted a workshop during the harvest to show landowners how large mechanical harvests work well even on small harvests. This coming year we expect to build on the work by offering workshops to landowners, increasing signage & interpretive features and continue to implement best management practices on the forest.

Well, it's been busy & we have more to share but will save that for another post. Feel free to contact us to learn more about these projects.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wanted: A Few Good CBIs

The Acton-Shapleigh Youth Conservation Corps (ASYCC) is looking for a few good Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBI) for their late 2012 and entire 2013 summer seasons. No prior experience is required; training will be provided. We are looking for responsible, positive, committed young men and women preferably from the Shapleigh and Acton region. After training you will begin working a few shifts on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays this September and October to ease you into the job. If you do well, we will include you as part of the CBI Crew starting in the spring of 2013.

A CBI has one priority: the prevention of access of invasive aquatic plant life to Mousam Lake and Square Pond.  CBIs are trained to thoroughly inspect each boat and trailer that enters, or departs, Mousam Lake and Square Pond from state boat ramps, and capture any and all plant fragments discovered. Shifts are between 4-6 hours long. It is a great outdoor summer job, particularly for those intending to enter an environmental field after high school.

Please visit our website,, to learn more about what the ASYCC does, and Email or call Pat Jackson at:, 207-608-5491 if you are looking for responsible and rewarding summer employment.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Gatherings

February is a busy month here in York County. Our office is busy writing grant proposals, finishing reports & preparing for the upcoming field season. Although we are in the dead of winter, or sort of winter, with another 6 weeks to go (thanks to P. Phil!) this is not the time to hibernate in your dens. Instead, there are many opportunities for you to learn & explore. So grab your coat & scarf & head out to some of these great events.

Three Rivers Land Trust is hosting their annual meeting on Wednesday February 8th at 6pm in the lower level of the Springvale Library. The featured speaker (& I don't want to ruffle any feathers here) is an Owl, well actually the Center for Wildlife will be showing off some of their residents & teaching us about how Owls live in Maine. This is a great chance to see an Owl up close. It'll be a hootin' good time!

On Thursday February 16th, the York County Soil & Water Conservation District will be hosting it's Annual Meeting in the Heritage room (lower level) of the Anderson Learning Center (21 Bradeen St. Springvale). Join us for our social hour at 6pm, including a silent auction & refreshments. The business meeting will start at 7pm & will include presentation of awards to landowners in York County (I can't tell you who - it's suppose to be a surprise!). Come learn more about us & the work we are doing in York County.

Salmon Falls: Forestry sign up workshop will be held on Wednesday February 22nd at 6pm at the Acton Town Hall. This is a great opportunity to learn more about forest management & conservation plans from local, State & Federal organizations. Landowners will be able to work directly with staff to fill out the applications to particpate in many of the cost share programs available to Maine landowners. Although this is geared towards forestry, any landowner with interest in Farm Bill & conservation programs are encouraged to attend.
Here are some other great outdoor events:

Winter Wildlife Day - at Wells Reserve - February 23

Heart of Maine’s  10th Annual Soils Quality Conference   Feb. 28-29, 2012  Bangor Motor Inn

And in March....

Farm Business Skills Weekend Retreat

Friday evening, March 9th thru Sunday noon, March 11th

The Alfred Conservation Commission will be hosting a multimedia presentation about the Alaskan wilderness next week on Thursday, February 16th at 6:30 at the Alfred Town Hall.
 All ages are encouraged to attend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Salmon Falls Watershed Workshops announced

“Your Land, CLEAN WATER, Your Legacy" 

A panel of local landowners, foresters, and staff from state and local conservation organizations will discuss practices that can protect the water quality of the Salmon Falls Watershed and the types of financial and technical assistance programs that are available to implement them.

Join us for one of 3 workshops being offerred in the Salmon Falls Watershed.

November 7th, 6:00pm at the Governor's Inn in Rochester, NH (please register at

November 16th, 6:oopm at Noble High School in N. Berwick, ME (no registration required)

December 7th, 6:oopm at the Acton Town Hall, Acton ,ME  (no registration required)

Come learn how communities and landowners can work together to protect water quality and other key natural resources to keep the Salmon Falls River Watershed healthy, vibrant, and economically viable.  Hear how you can contribute through voluntary measures such as forest management plans, conservation easements and more.  Find out about the financial and technical assistance that is available to help implement these measures.

The Salmon Falls Watershed was recently identified by the US Forest Service as the watershed most at risk in the US to suffer a reduction in water quality due to land development within the next twenty years.  A watershed is a region where all runoff flows into the same major waterway, such as the Salmon Falls River.  Some pristine head water lakes of the Salmon Falls River already show declining water quality and the river itself has shown signs of stress for several decades. The risk for the future is that thousands of acres of working farms and forest land could be converted to development, with more negative impacts on water quality, local tourism, property values, and the regional economy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Changes to the District Forest

If you have recently driven by the Sid Emery Demo Forest on Brock Road you will have noticed a few changes. We have just finished a managed harvest using modern logging equipment on the property. This harvest is part of a forest management plan designed by Erik Grove of Southern Maine Forestry Services & the District Forestry committee. The original managment plan was funded through a Project Canopy grant & calls for several different types of harvest techniques to help create a working forest. Landowners can walk the trails & can see how a particular type of harvest will look on the land.

We chose the modern, larger equipment harvest first because, if done right, the impact on the land is minimal & the harvest is efficient. This saves both the logger & landowner time & money.

Hardwood was removed for pulp & firewood releasing the understory of young pine that can now grow to maturity. We also had a load of red pine poles cut to thin out the planted stands.

We have also created a wildlife opening as part of the landing site. This 1 acre clearing will become prime habitat for game birds, rabbits, deer, moose & bear. The scrubby growth that will emerge in the spring will provide food & shelter. You can also expect blackberry bushes to sprout. Those seeds have been hanging out in the soil for decades just waiting for an opportunity to sprout & grow.

The Demo forest is open to non-motorized use. This is a day-use area so fires & camping are not allowed.
Hunters please be aware that many folks hike the trails, walk their dogs & ride horses on the Demo forest. We also have folks looking for geocaches on the property. Everyone needs to wear blaze orange during hunting season. Please take the time to put on a vest & hat so you can be seen.

We hope you visit the Demo Forest & enjoy the quiet trails. If you would like to voluteer to help us out in any way feel free to call the office at 201-324-0888 X 214 or email

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Planned Harvest in Action

Join us on Saturday September 17th from 9:ooam - 12:00 pm for a tour of an active harvest on the Sid Emery Demo Forest off Brock Road, Lyman. Forester Erik Grove will lead the tour to look at how a carefully planned harvest is a successful harvest. Watch modern logging equipment at work & see how efficient the big machines can be even on a small harvest.
The YCSWCD work with Erik Grove  & utilizing a Project Canopy Grant to create a sound Forest Management plan. The objective of the District is to provide a place to show proper forest management in a working forest. We will host other workshops at this site in the future as well.
Please call our office if you have any questions.  Please dress appropriately for the weather & woods walking.