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Fall 2015 MPCD Newsletter                                                   View this email in your Web Browser

Fall 2015 News


Fall Seeding, Tree Seedling Sales, Farm and Ranch Seminar, Greater Sage Grouse Listing, Hay & Soil Testing, Northern Water E-Waternews, Weed Mapping, Timber Values, Firewise Landscaping,  Winter Feeding Tips

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Contact the  Middle Park Conservation District at anytime by calling the office at 970.724.3456 or Katlin's cell at 970.531.0127.
 
Fall Seeding:
Getting Ahead of the Game


Providing that we do not get an early permanent snowpack, planting grass seed in the fall is a good idea for dryland pasture, wildflower, and forest mixes. 

Ideally, the seed should be sown right before the permanent snow pack is on the ground, or when it’s gotten cold enough to prevent germination (consistent soil temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s important that the seed not germinate and then get frozen. Rough up the soil with a rake or similar tool. Scatter seed and cover with approximately 1/4 inch of soil. Then cover that with a layer of light mulch, such as straw or compost.

 
 The Middle Park Conservation District has several seed mixes available for purchase. The Forest Mix is good for areas where beetle kill trees have been removed. The Dryland Pasture Mix is good for soil erosion prevention and is also good forage for livestock and horses.  Our Short Mix is ideal for disturbed areas around buildings.  Our Wildflower Mix has both perennials and annuals in it and is good for adding a pop of color to your yard.  We also have a turf-type lawn mix called DuraTurf and an Irrigated Meadow Mix.

Encouraging grasses and wildflowers to grow in disturbed areas will help prevent soil erosion and noxious weed invasion. 

Also be sure to check out our handy
Keys to Successful Seeding Guide to make the most of your  seeding.

Grass Seed Composition Chart
Wildflower Composition Chart

 

Fall 2015 Seed Prices

Tree Seedling Sales
Up and Running


Tree seedlings are now available for sale to landowners wishing to conserve their properties.  Seedlings are grown at the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins and can be purchased in bulk for really low prices.   Seedlings come in packages of 1, 10, 25, 30, or 50 trees and range in size from 5 inches to 14 inches tall.  There is no minimum acreage size, so landowners of all sizes can purchase seedlings. There are also several species of perennials available for sale.

Tree seedlings can be utilized for a variety of conservation projects.  They can help stabilize soil on barren ground or steep slopes; reestablish logged forests; or grow up to be living windbreaks for livestock or households. 

Tree seedlings and perennials will be available for purchase through the Middle Park Conservation District until May 1st; however, some species sell out quickly.  Thus, it is best to
ORDER SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. 
 
Trees will be delivered to Frisco on May 24, 2016,
and to Granby on May 26, 2016.
 
Please contact Katlin Miller with Middle Park Conservation District at
970.531.0127 or middleparkcd@gmail.com with questions or concerns.

2015-2016 Tree Seedling Order Form

Sold Out List

Preserving the Legacy of Your Land
Farm and Ranch Seminar


How do you envision the future of your family farm or ranch? At this informational session, we’ll talk about strategies for estate planning, your retirement and keeping the farm or ranch in the family.
 
Monday October 26th, 2015 | 5:30 pm
Edward Jones office of Jan Knisley, CFP
441 E Agate Ave
Granby, CO 80446

Hosted by:
Jan Knisley, CFP
Financial Advisor
Edward Jones

Dan Ranfeld, CLU, ChFC, CFP
Regional Life Consultant
Protective Life

 
RSVP by Monday October 26th, 2015 to reserve your spot at this educational seminar. Be sure to let us know if and family members will attend with you.

Please RSVP to:
Kathy Burke
970.887.8983 | kathy.burke@edwardjones.com
Listing of Greater Sage Grouse under ESA Withdrawn
(Article and Photo taken from http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/)
 
Credit: USFWS

A status review conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has found that the greater sage-grouse remains relatively abundant and well-distributed across the species’ 173-million acre range and does not face the risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

The Service’s decision follows an unprecedented conservation partnership across the western United States that has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat.

The Service has determined that protection for the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act is no longer warranted at this time and is withdrawing the species from the candidate species list.

Weed Mapping:
Getting Ahead of the Game for 2016


Now that the weed season is coming to a close,  it is important to consider mapping your weedy areas in preparation for next year's weed crop.  Weeds like wild caraway, oxeye daisy, and thistle should be mapped so that next year you can spray them early (before they bloom).  
Even if you don't have fancy mapping tools, like a GPS, a detailed hand-drawn map may be as effective.


                       
       Wild Caraway                                                                Oxeye Daisy




Canada Thistle
photos from Google Images
Hay and Soil Testing

Hay and Soil samples provide invaluable information about your pastures and soil. 

The results you’ll get from a simple forage test will be similar to that of a Nutrition Label on the back of your favorite food.  You will finally know exactly what you are feeding your livestock, and what, if anything, your animals are missing in their diets. This knowledge can then be used for balancing rations and adding supplements.  

 
Soil samples are also beneficial for determining what and how much fertilizer you need to put on your fields in order to reach your hay production goals.

Hay and Soil Samples are very easy to take and the cost of testing is also cheap, ranging from $20-30. 


Call our office at 970.724.3456 or 970.531.0127 for more information or to borrow our core samplers.
Northern Water E-Waternews

Northern Water's Waternews is a publication put out by Northern Water Conservancy District to discuss water projects and issues.  Though we are not in Northern Water's boundaries, we are still affected by their actions and decisions.  As such, I have included below two articles that I believe the residents of Grand County may be interested in regarding Granby Dam Spills and Windy Gap Withdrawals.

2015 Spill Ends
The Colorado-Big Thompson Project spill has come to an end. Spills at Lake Granby and Willow Creek Reservoir officially ended Aug. 31. Northern Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began preemptively releasing water from Lake Granby in May to make room for the anticipated spring runoff. Since May, 148,500 acre-feet spilled out of Lake Granby and 42,500 AF from Willow Creek Reservoir. The total spill of 191,000 AF was more than the total storage capacity of Horsetooth Reservoir and the third largest on record. Only the 300,000 acre-feet that spilled in 2011 and the 250,000 acre-feet in 1984 exceeded this amount!

Spills occur when the C-BT collection system is full and the Adams Tunnel diverting water to the East Slope is at capacity or there is little to no room to store the water on the East Slope. Water that spills from the C-BT system flows downstream and eventually into Lake Powell.
 
Windy Gap Water Year Ends
The Windy Gap water year ended Sept. 30. For the second year in a row, Windy Gap water was not pumped due to lack of storage in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project system. In total, 32,300 acre-feet of Windy Gap water was ordered while only 13,967 AF was delivered. The need for additional storage is becoming more apparent. When constructed, the Windy Gap Firming Project will provide additional storage in Chimney Hollow Reservoir for years like 2014 and 2015 when water was available but storage was not.
 
CLICK HERE to read Archived Northern Water Waternews Articles
CLICK HERE to receive E-Waternews in your inbox
Timber Values in Grand County and Northwest Colorado remain high
Submitted by CSFS Granby District
 
The mountain pine beetle epidemic that impacted much of northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming is over.  In its path are hundreds of thousands of acres of standing dead Lodgepole pine trees.  Many of these trees have been standing dead for more than a decade and they are now beginning to fall at an increasing rate. 

Natural resource agencies have been working very hard for the past 10-15 years to manage areas of forest to promote healthy regeneration, reduce wildfire hazards, and protect communities and watersheds.  The result of this forest management effort and increased wood supply has been the resurgence of a vibrant wood products industry in Grand County.  Local timber is used to produce a variety of wood products that are shipped throughout the United States.

Grand County is fortunate to house five wood processing operations which capitalize on the availability of local timber.  These operations are important employers and provide significant economic impact to the local area.  These operations are also a tool for cost-effective forest management and an outlet for much of the available wood supply.  Without a local wood products industry, the cost of managing much of our local forest would make many projects unfeasible.  Current demand has turned most forest management activity (timber harvest) into a profitable venture for the landowner.

The value of our local wood as harvested timber is holding relatively high.  In fact, the timber values, although fluctuating, are as high as they have been in 15 years.  Many landowners wonder if their trees have value as timber and if they should harvest the trees before they fall over.  In most cases, the answer is YES.  The relative value of managing a forest through timber harvest depends on a number of factors such as: slope, access, number of acres treated, distance from wood processing mills, fuel price and overall wood quality.

As long as most of the trees in an area are standing they should retain some value to the local wood products industry.  Once most of the standing dead trees in an area have fallen that value is lost.  As trees hit the ground they begin to rapidly deteriorate in wood quality.  Also, the cost of harvesting downed trees more than quadruples as compared to harvesting standing trees.  As foresters, and many landowners have realized, we are seeing a closing window of opportunity to cost-effectively manage pine beetle-killed forest stands.

What to do if you are interested in managing your pine beetle-killed forest.  Contact the Colorado State Forest Service – Granby District office at 970-887-3121 to schedule a site visit.  CSFS Foresters can evaluate your situation and provide technical forestry assistance and guidance.  We can help landowners maximize the value of their forest products and keep the wood working locally.

Firewise Landscaping 101


Winter may be approaching, but that does not mean we are in the clear regarding wildfire risk.  Thanks to the great spring moisture we had this year, our grass grew tall and trees grew nice and bushy.  It was basically a landscaper's dream.  Nature took care of itself and left the hoses dry.

However, now that the rains have ended and our lands have dried up, many of us are left with overgrown natural areas surrounding our homes.  Despite the common thought that wildfires only occur in wooded areas, we can all see from Rifle Range Fire near Parshall in August that fires carry well in sagebrush and grass too.  That being said, we are currently faced with dry Indian summer conditions, so it may be wise to reduce the wildfire hazard outside your front doorstep today!
 

Steps you can do today are...
  • Mow grasses to a maximum of 4 inches tall.  Make sure to weed-eat grasses that abut the home and cannot be reached by a mower. 
  • Clear all dead and dying trees and shrubs within 200 feet of the home or to the property line.
  • Create sufficient tree spacing of at least 10 feet between canopies.
  • Remove all juniper shrubs near the home. They are highly combustible.
  • Remove ladder fuels by limbing up the lower branches up to one-third of the tree height or 10 feet.
  • Create "islands" of vegetation rather than large masses. 
  • Make sure leaf and needle litter is less than 3 inches deep.
Future actions may include...
  • Install a 5-foot noncombustible perimeter around the home with concrete or gravel
  • Break up vegetation with decorative rock
  • Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and reduce weed growth
  • Consider xeriscaping options (landscaping without the need for supplemental irrigation).  You can use rocks or colorful decorations to make a beautiful yard.
  • Consider planting species from the Firewise Plant List recommended by Phil Hoefer, a retired Colorado State Forest Service forester.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LIST.

Additional Resources
Grand County Ready, Set, GO! Action Guide
Guide to Firewise Landscape & Construction by NFPA

Fire Resistant Landscaping 6.303 by CSU Extension
Reducing Winter Feed Loss

Despite the fact that 2015 was an awesome hay year and most of us have hay coming out of our ears, hay is money and most of us do not want to intentionally waste money if at all possible.  If this is the case for you, you might consider reducing you winter feed loss by implementing these tips by Robert Kallenbach of the University of Missouri.

1.  "Animals fed high-quality hay early in the season will often refuse poor-quality hay when it is offered later."  Accordingly, feed poor-quality hay first, or store you hay inside to reduce spoilage and leeching.

2.  Feed only what your animals will eat in a day, or feed it in a bale feeder to reduce trampling.

Kallenbach writes, "When hay rings are used, you need to consider the space available around the feeder. Most hay rings have enough space for approximately 10 cows at a time. The more aggressive cows will eat first and consume the more desirable hay. Cows that are more timid will be forced to eat the lower-quality material or go hungry. To make the most efficient use of hay rings, you may need to purchase several rings and feed more bales at one time. 


As an example, a 30-cow herd would consume one 900-pound round bale per day. To feed a 30-cow herd, we could use one hay ring that is filled daily. But a better alternative would be to use three hay rings that are filled every three days. This gives every cow in the herd an opportunity to get the hay she needs, in addition to cutting labor costs. Similar calculations can be used with other types of hay feeders.


If unrolling the bales, a three-day (or longer) supply of hay is unrolled and left for cattle to consume on their own, feeding losses of 40 percent or more can be expected. However, if fed on a daily basis, feeding losses run about 12 percent."
 
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The content of this newsletter is for Educational Purposes ONLY.  We have attempted to site opinions, beliefs and viewpoints from various sources and professionals.  These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Middle Park Conservation District or its Board of Supervisors/Employees.  It is always recommended that you seek independent advice before implementing new management practices.
Copyright © 2015 Middle Park Conservation District, All rights reserved.


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