2010 Conservation Across California
With the Help of 2008 Farm Bill Programs, Back-to-Back Record-Setting Years, With More Conservation Ahead! – WOW!
Since the 2008 Farm Bill, farmers and ranchers in California have written a chapter for the history books. Resource Conservation Districts, landowners, partners and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) worked together to set Farm Bill program records in conservation.
More than 1,000 dairies worked with NRCS to improve water quality. These producers upgraded their facilities for more than 1.4 million cows to keep manure from contacting surface or ground water sources. The milk from those 1.4 million cows helps nourish more than 3.7 million Californians each year. WOW!
More Habitat For Native Pollinators
Using targeted mixes of forbs and shrubs, NRCS is designing hedgerows to offer food and shelter for native pollinators who are assisting the domesticated honeybees. With financial and technical assistance from NRCS, voluntary innovators in California have added 71 miles of hedgerows - more than half the nation’s total. Laid end to end, they’d stretch from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara, acting as a bed and breakfast for more than 1,500 species of native pollinators and other birds and wildlife. WOW!
Farmers and conservationists helped clear the air for Californians. They replaced 812 old diesel engines with new engines that run up to 71% cleaner. The emissions reduction was equivalent to taking 408,000 cars off the road! WOW!
Organic & Conservation Tillage
California led the nation in contracts with organic farmers to improve natural resources. Additionally, more organic and conventional farmers are adopting conservation tillage (CT) methods. Just one of CT’s benefits is conserving energy, and through CT California farmers saved as much energy as if 2,050 families had switched from a conventional vehicle to a Prius. WOW!
Eighteen California ranchers are voluntarily joining a special NRCS effort to save sage-grouse, long a treasured shrubland species, from protected status. By changing ranching practices like relocating and flagging 38 miles of fences, restoring meadows, and removing invasive species—notably 15,000 acres of encroaching junipers—ranchers are helping return the range across 118,000 acres in Lassen, Modoc and Mono Counties, California, and Washoe County, Nevada, to historic conditions that nurtured the birds for centuries. WOW!
Efficient Water Use
More than $53 million was invested in efficient irrigation, changing hardware and management on the use of more than 200 billion gallons of water to make every drop count. The changes achieved a 25% savings in water use on the average. WOW!
Restoring California’s Wetlands
California celebrated the enhancement and restoration of 100,000 acres of wetlands through the Wetlands Reserve Program in October 2010. This milestone commemorates the voluntary conservation work of over 240 landowners. But California’s landowners and partners didn’t stop there. By the end of 2010, an additional 17,000 acres transitioned to easement-protected areas. These wetlands filter the water and offer better flood protection as well as provide much-needed habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, hosting 183 species of birds, including 29 at-risk species. WOW!
Making Private Forests Healthier
More than 560 landowners invested $34 million to protect and improve forests, including creating more than 180 fuel and firebreaks. Similar fuel breaks have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in property protected during fires. One $500,000 project in San Bernardino County saved $330 million in homes and property when the Grass Valley fire swept through. That’s a 66 to 1 return on investment! WOW!