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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

New Conservation specialist

Monday, June 27, 2005

Brian Lee (far right) was recently welcomed to his new position as Conservation Program Specialist in Cherokee County. Others pictured are (left to right) Rich Hinkhouse - Pheasants Forever President; Scott Gebers - Cherokee County Conservation Board Executive Director; and Pam Pierce - Cherokee County SWCD Commissioner. Photo contributed.
The Cherokee and Ida County Soil and Water Conservation Districts have recently hired Brian Lee as a new conservation program specialist. Brian's time will be split between the counties to reach a goal of enrolling 800 acres in each county into a conservation program. Various partners have contributed funds to support Brian's position.

In Cherokee County, the Pheasants Forever Chapter, Aurelia Pioneer Hi-Bred, the county supervisors, and the Soil and Water Conservation District have contributed funds. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Farm Bureau, the Department of Natural Resources, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as other Ida County sponsors, support this position as well.

Lee is from southeast Iowa and graduated in May from Iowa State University with a degree in Agronomy and a minor in Horticulture. Conservation was a main focus of his studies and vegetative filter strips are the main focus for the project.

This Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) practice, known as CP 21, consists of planting native grasses and forbs between stream banks and crop fields to reduce erosion, filter runoff and groundwater flow, create habitat, and to improve overall water quality.

These collective efforts will improve the ecology of the area while providing compensation for the landowner. To be eligible, the areas that are entered into this practice must have been row cropped four out of six years between 1996 and 2001 and must have perennial water flow in the drainage area next to the proposed filter strip.

The amount the landowner is compensated is based on the three predominant soil types contained in the filter strip area.

The Cherokee County NRCS has and will continue to send out letters to operators and/or landowners informing them of the vegetative filter program. A map with highlighted areas of potential filter strips and a soil rental rate calculator accompanies the letter to the operator or landowner. Lee will be contacting recipients of the letter to answer questions and inform them on the process of entering into a contract.

If you are interested or have any questions about filter strips or other conservation programs, contact Brian at the Cherokee UDSA Service Center at 225-3769 or via email at brian.lee@ia.usda.gov.

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