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Spring 2015 MPCD Newsletter                                                   View this email in your Web Browser

Spring 2015 News


Products for Sale, Pond Cleaning, Wilfire Prepareness Day,  Leadership and Horses,  Colorado Water Plan Basin Roundtable Summit, Clover Seed, Hay Day, Snow Report, Weed Sprayer Calibration, Roundup Ditch Banks, Save the Frogs Day, Fodder 101

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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.
 

Products For Sale

Now that spring is in the air and the field season is kicking up, it's time to think about products you could use to help improve your property.  The Middle Park Conservation District has a variety of goods for sale to do just that... 

Contact Katlin with questions regarding any of these products.  970.724.3456 or 970.531.0127.

Grass Seed
MPCD has several grass seed mixes in stock to meet any of your needs.  If we don't have it in stock, we'll order it.  Regularly stocked mixes include: Short Mix for drought tolerant reclamation around structures, Dryland Pasture for dry pastures, Irrigated Meadow for actively irrigated hayground, Forest Mix for reseeding previously logged forests or areas with a with a little more moisture, Dura Turf for areas that you want to look like a nice lawn, and Purple Top Turnips for wildlife forage. 
http://www.middleparkcd.com/seed-sales/

Tree Seedlings
Tree Seedlings will be available until May 1st.  They are selling out quickly, so get your order in today.  Good for wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, and wind breaks. 
http://www.middleparkcd.com/tree-seedling-sales/


Tire Tanks

Tire tanks are an alternative to traditional metal stock tanks for landowners trying to water their stock or wildlife.  Tire tanks are made from recycled heavy equipment tires that no longer provide safe driving conditions for operators.  In addition to being  large and durable, they tanks are freeze-resistant, self-thawing, and rust-free.  Available in 12', 10', and 8' diameters.
http://www.middleparkcd.com/tire-tanks-pam/

PAM

PAM, also known as Polyacrylamide, is a safe alternative to seal your leaky ditches.  When dumped into murky ditches, the white granules dissolve and become a slimy, snotty substance that binds to the sediment in the water.  As the sediment settles to the bottom of the ditch, the PAM lines the ditch and seals all the crack and crevices.  The best time for application of PAM is in the spring just as you turn the ditch on for the season.
http://www.middleparkcd.com/pam/
Pond Cleaning

Do you have a pond that is all silted in and needs to be cleaned out?

If so, the Middle Park Habitat Partnership Program (HPP) may have cost-share funds available to help you.

Contact Duane Scholl, Middle Park HPP Chairman, at 970.725.3471.
National Wildfire Preparedness Day
Saturday, May 2, 2015

National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is an effort to raise wildfire awareness and help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities, while increasing safety for wildland firefighters; or lessening current post-fire impacts.  Join the initiative by enlisting your family, friends, and neighbors in your very own project to reduce wildfire risk and increase preparedness.

Project ideas:
  •  Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 5 feet of a home’s foundation. As time permits – continue up to a 30 foot distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
  • Get out your measuring tape and see how close wood piles are located to the home. If closer than 30 feet, they need to be relocated and moved at least 30’ away from structures.
  • Sweep porches and decks clearing them of leaves and pine needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds and play structures and dispose of debris.
  • Mow grasses to a height of four inches or less.
  • On mature trees, use hand pruners and loppers to remove low-hanging tree branches up to a height of 4 feet from the ground (specific height depends on the type and size of tree).
  •  Collect downed tree limbs and broken branches and take them to a disposal site.
  • Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate it to a storage shed, garage, or basement.
  • Distribute wildfire safety information to neighbors, or staff a table at a grocery or hardware store  and distribute free Firewise and emergency preparedness materials that can be ordered at http://firewise.org/Catalog.aspx.
  • Join forces with neighbors and pool your resources to pay for a chipper service to remove slash.
  •  Visit the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association site at www.rmiia.org and download free home inventory software. Work together as a family to videotape and take photos of your possessions – that ensures you’ll have the documentation needed to replace belongings
For more information on Fire Adapted Communities and Fire Prevention, click on the links below.

National Wildfire Protection Association

Grand County Wildfire Council

Summit County Wildfire Council

Fire Adapted Communities Resources


Grand County Fire Protection Districts
Grand Fire-970.887.3380
Hot Sulphur Springs/Parshall--970.725.3414
Grand Lake--970.627.8428
East Grand Fire--970.726.5824
Kremmling--970.724.3795

Summit County Fire Protection Districts
Lake Dillon-970.262.5100
Red, White, and Blue--970.453.1350
Leadership & Sustainability with Horses Program for Youth
Submitted by John Longhill, MPCD Board Member

       Leadership & Sustainability with Horses at Swan Center Outreach in the Lower Blue River Valley, helps children learn the importance of responsibility while learning about the true cause of life's problems. A child's unhappiness can surely be caused by circumstances, but when a child reacts negatively to difficult circumstances and looks for answers outside of themselves through blame and reaction, they give up their power to change those circumstances.
      Unfortunately, we are the most litigious society in the world, and children learn by our example not to take responsibility for circumstances, but to blame others for them. This does not result in a happy and fulfilling life, because the best way to change your circumstances is to take responsibility for them and do what is necessary to change them. When children are taught how to view life proactively rather than reactively they become the masters of their own destiny.
       The horses and programs at Swan Center Outreach teach children that changing circumstances begins with changing themselves. A child learns that their behavior determines their success, when working with horses. They also realize that their thoughts dictate their behavior and are the basis for everything they experience in life. When they realize how much control they really have over their life, they become empowered, because they are the only one's truly in control of what they experience.

     When children interact with our horses, the horses respond to how the kids are being (either a victim or a leader) and they react accordingly. If a child acts like a victim, the horse will take charge and it can be very scary for the child. If a child acts like a leader, the horse feels safe and will look to the child for safety and security. When this occurs an amazing bond is formed, which in turn builds confidence in the child.
      
This is a powerful lesson to learn, how to take control in a positive way. Children are drawn to these massive, but peaceful creatures, and the opportunity to develop a true friendship with a horse is a strong incentive for a child to change their behavior. They learn how to accomplish this first by taking control of their thoughts, thereby taking control of the circumstances that they are inventing. Most of the kids in our Leadership Program come from difficult situations; they truly are being victimized because they don't know how to change their circumstances and the situation is made worse, because of the child's reactions to those circumstances. Fortunately, in just one day with our horses and learning the skills of self-awareness and leadership - they are transformed and empowered. They leave a different person because they have been given the gift of knowledge, which becomes wisdom in knowing that they and only they are the masters of their life. It is an amazing thing to watch and it is an incredible gift to these children!
      To learn more about these programs contact John Longhill at 970-468-0924 or email: swancenter@minspring.com
or visit their website www.swancenter.org

Statewide Basin Roundtable Summary
 
Everyone knows by now that water (or lack thereof) is a big deal in the western US these days and concerns over the future of our water are a huge topic for discussion.  You may also know that the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), as directed by the Governor, is trying to come up with a Colorado Water Plan.  To do so, CWCB has enlisted the help of community members from around the state via Basin Roundtables. 

The eight basin roundtables met for their fourth Statewide Summit in Westminster on March 12th.  Roughly 300 individuals attended, with 46% being official roundtable members. The Summit included presentations and panel discussions on creative solutions for the future. The table discussions allowed various stakeholders to come together and draft ideas they would like to see incorporated in Colorado’s Water Plan. Based on post-Summit surveys, 96% of respondents rated the 2015 Summit good, very good, or excellent.  To read the executive summary of the 2015 Statewide Basin Roundtable Summit, click the link below. 

Our local Roundtable Rep is Paul Bruchez from Kremmling.  For more information on the Colorado Water Plan or the Basin Roundtable, contact Paul at 970.531.2008 or reedercreekranch@gmail.com.  You may also visit
www.coloradowaterplan.com

2015 Summit Summary
HPP Clover Seed

Middle Park Habitat Partnership Program has once again partnered with Middle Park Conservation District to offer clover seed to Ag Producers in Grand and Summit Counties as a way to offset grazing pressures and damage caused by wildlife. 

There will be a limited amount of 50:50 Alsike and Mammoth Red Clover Mix, Ladak Alfalfa, and Forager Alfalfa available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

Contact Katlin or Mark at 970.724.3456 for more info. 
This opportunity is limited to large-scale Ag Producers!

Hay Day 2015

Hay Day is a joint effort by Middle Park Conservation District, Routt County Conservation District, and North Park Conservation District.  It happens every odd year on a rotational basis amongst the three districts. 

This year, it is to be held by the North Park Conservation District on the Grizzly Ranch in Coalmont on July 8th.

Hay Day is an excellent opportunity to update yourself on the latest trends and research in hay production and ranching.  The morning will include talks by agriculture researchers and professionals.  Then, after lunch, you can check out equipment demonstrations by some of the local dealers...and maybe buy yourself a new piece of tractor or tedder :)

North Park Conservation District is currently working hard to plan this event and more details will come in early June.  But, for now,  mark your calendars because you don't want to miss out on this fantastic, free educational opportunity.

Middle Park at 78% of Normal Snowpack

Submitted by Mark Volt, NRCS

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyor Mark Volt took the April 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of March. Snowpack for Middle Park and the upper Colorado River Basin stands at only 78% of average. We were at 144% last April 1st. and 62% in the drought year of 2002.

Snowpack in the mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 26% to 107% of the 30-year average. Snow density is averaging 28%, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.3 inches of water. Irrigators, towns, river runners and other water users can expect lower than normal river levels this summer. From this point on, spring runoff will be highly dependent on melting conditions (i.e., temperature and wind), as well as spring snow accumulation and/or rainfall. While late season snowstorms large enough to provide the kind of moisture we need are possible, they are not probable! Fortunately, reservoir storage in the Colorado River Basin currently stands at 124% of average…..And be glad we don’t live in California where the snowpack is reported to be at only 6% of average.)

Statewide, significant snowpack gains in late February and early March were a result of a short-lived weather pattern lasting only until March 6th. Afterward, the proverbial faucet shut off yielding minimal precipitation through the remainder of March. The period of March 6th through April 1st 2015 was the second driest for the period of record dating back to 1986, only 2012 saw a drier March 6th through April 1st period.

To compound the issue, early spring temperatures this year have caused snowpack melt, observed most particularly at lower and some mid-elevation SNOTEL sites. Seasonal snowpack decline this early in the spring is rare and only occurs in one out of every ten years. Water year 2012 was the extreme case in which snowpack began melt and continued unabated for the remainder of the spring due to above normal temperatures.

Reported average readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows: Colorado River Basin 78%; Gunnison River Basin, 63%; South Platte River Basin,87%; Yampa and White River Basins,65%; Arkansas River Basin, 87%; Upper Rio Grande Basin, 60%; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 49%; and Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 76%.

For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit
http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.

Weed Sprayer Calibration


 As spring sets in and plants start to emerge, you will find those pesky little weeds popping up everywhere.  They may look pretty, but there's always a nasty face behind all the makeup.  Don't let those little babies grow up and show their faces, kill them young before they get a chance to take over!

In order to properly control those buggers, you must have your sprayer calibrated correctly!  You could spray all day and night but not really do the job if your calibration is off.  The link below is a guide to proper calibration of hand sprayers.  Read up and show those weeds who's boss!!!


Indepth Sprayer Calibration Guide

By the way, Grand County will again be doing their weekly herbicide giveaways on Friday mornings in Granby.  They plan to start on June 12th, but contact them at 970.887.0745 for more information.

Summit County has both a Cost-Share Program and Backpack Loaner Program.  Contact Ben Pleiman at 970.668.4218 for more info. 

DITCH CLEAN UP: Spray Roundup


When most ranchers think about ditch clean up, they think about burning or discing their ditches.  However, many may not automatically think of using Roundup to help keep grasses away. 

Mark Volt, NRCS District Conservationist out of Kremmling, says that spraying Roundup (Glyphosate) in your ditches in the spring once they have greened up will kill the grasses and help keep the water flowing through. 

Important Notes:
1) Roundup or Glyphosate should be sprayed at a concentration of no more than 2% by volume
2) It will only kill what is green, so there is no use in doing it too early. 
3) If there is a lot of dead grass covering the new growth, it won't work either..so do it after you burn or disc. 
4) Only spray on the inside of the ditch up to the High Water Mark and NOT on the ditch bank. 
5) You need to do it at least one week before you intend to turn your water on.
-OR-
6) Turn your water on to expedite green up.  Then turn it off.  Spray.  Leave off for at least one week before turning it on again.
Save the Frogs Day
Did you know that April 25, 2015, is
SAVE THE FROGS Day?


On this particular day, people from around the world will gather to take part in amphibian education and conservation.  Organized by an organization called "SAVE THE FROGS!", this event is going on it's 6th annual celebration and has more than 160 events taking place in 23 nations.

When people think of 'wildlife', the first species that typically come to mind are the fuzzy mammals that live in the woods or the feathery birds of the sky.  The slimy salamanders and tiny frogs that reside along the shores of our ponds and streams are often overlooked.  However, did you know that one-third of the world's amphibians (1,895 of 6,285 species) are on the brink of extinction and nearly 200 species have gone extinct in the last 35 years?

Amphibians are faced with many challenges due to their semi-permeable skin and life cycle tied to both land and water.  Pollution, disease, climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and over-harvesting for the illegal pet/food trade are all threats to their existence.  Amphibians are important indicator species for ecological change and a key link in many wetland food webs.  Recent studies also suggest that amphibians may prove to be beneficial for human health!

Facts for this article were taken from the links below.  Click on them for more information.
Save the Frogs Website
Amphibian Ark
Global Amphibian Crisis Sheet

Fodder 101: Growing and sprouting grains

Submitted by Justin Fosha, MPCD Board Member
 
Most folks in the Middle Park Valley feed their cows, horses and other ranch animals daily in one of two ways.  In the winter months, we feed fodder by providing cut forage to animals in the form of mountain grass-hay and may supplement with minerals, blocks, or grain.  In the summer, grass grows well enough in many areas of Grand and Summit counties to provide good grazing on fresh fodder.  Both options require time, large amounts of space and/or a large chunk of money.  But what if we could affordably grow green fodder year-round that is healthier than grass and hay?
      Over the past five years, another form of fodder (which we will call Fodder for the rest of this article) has seen a resurgence across the world.  The Fodder we are featuring now is the process of growing and sprouting grains hydroponically (with water only and no dirt matter).

      Sprouting grains was used as early as the 1930’s and 1940’s in many areas of the country to feed horses and dairy cows and to finish cows, pigs and sheep for meat production.  However, the advancements in farming equipment and industry slowed Fodder producers.  Now, due to new advancing hydroponic growth technologies and demand, Fodder has become a very viable source of cost savings for folks who are not able to grow large quantities of hay or want to take on additional animals beyond their current hay production.  Folks feeding Fodder typically see 50-80% reductions in the amount of hay they need to feed since fodder is almost 80% digestible.  Cows and horses still require roughage and dry matter (hay) but a lot less.  Nutritionally, Fodder is right at the top of almost all categories and provides a fresh, high water content feed.
According to Fodder Solutions, a company which has been building and selling Fodder units across the world, the following nutritional breakdowns are seen of barley fodder.

      Typically, barley and wheat are featured in the United States as the most viable and healthy grains to sprout since it is readily available and fairly inexpensive. According to the North Dakota State agricultural website, 4.7 billion pounds of malting barley are used annually to produce beer in the United States alone.  And where does a good percentage of that barley come from? Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and, the big one, Colorado, providing a close source of seeds to sprout. 
       However, growing grains hydroponically is not for everyone.  The current Fodder system has a large initial capital investment and requires a significant amount of time daily to keep up with the system.  For example, an average barley fodder system can go from seed to feed in six days.  Each day, the mature “biscuits” of sprouts are fed, then the trays they were in must be thoroughly cleaned, reseeded, and placed back the the system.  Technically, the grains take 6 days to grow from grains/seed (2.5 pounds) to a 18-20 pound mat resembling 6 inch high sod or sprouts without dirt.  The Fodder does require a small amount of light, water, which is sprayed over the sprouting seeds in intervals, a climate controlled grow room, and time to clean the grow trays daily since a batch is continually prepared for 6 days down the road.
      So is growing Fodder right for my operation?  The answer lies in your balance of cost savings vs time.  If you are buying a large portion of your hay and grain then a fodder system might be worth the investment.  A successful Fodder system may mean fewer tractors, less irrigating and no more worrying over what the the hay prices are going to do the next summer.
Recently, a handful of dairy facilities, feed lots, horse boarding facilities, horse owners (some grow fodder for 2 horses only) and guest ranches have built systems and are feeding Fodder on a daily basis.  Four guest ranches across Colorado have been producing Fodder since mid- 2014 and feed a combined total of roughly 500 horses and 100 cows daily.   The Bar Lazy J ranch near Parshall built a Fodder grow facility and has been producing fresh feed since October.  Bar Lazy J Ranch split their horse herd this winter and currently feed 45 horses with about 1200 pounds of fodder daily at a daily cost of $45 in barley, water and electricity costs (this figure does not account for their initial investment or daily labor costs).
      Here are a few links to find more information on growing Fodder if you’d like to read more or decide if Fodder is a good choice for your operation.  The first link is a video of a guest ranch north of Ft Collins who produces 4500 pounds of fodder daily to their horses and cows. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dh7IAIDKU8
http://www.fodderworks.net
http://www.foddersolutions.org
https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/prod1;ft_fodder_systems;pg111628.html
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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