Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

The Soil Food Web

Check out this interview with Dr. Elaine Ingham from the company Soil Food Web Inc. Dr. Ingham gives listeners an overview survey of soil microbiology. The scope, scale, and dynamics of the soil food web are discussed. Part One of Two. Interview is from June 2011.

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ATTRA – Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

Good pasture management practices foster effective use and recycling of nutrients. Nutrient cycles important in pasture systems are the water, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles. This publication provides basic descriptions of these cycles, and presents guidelines for managing pastures to enhance nutrient cycling efficiency — with the goal of optimizing forage and livestock growth, soil health, and water quality.


Pasture Management with Electric Fences

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Fence layout is the single most important pasture management tool at your disposal. Whether you want to boost pasture grass yields, eradicate pasture weeds, or increase soil moisture in your pastures, your electric fence grid is your primary tool to get the job done.

All the other tools in your management toolbox – fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, pasture seed, and tillage equipment – take second place behind what you can accomplish with a smart electric fence grid.

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Biochar Activity Kit

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Description: This is an interdisciplinary activity for grades 9 – 12, revolving around use of biochar to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable agriculture / horticulture.  It involves climate science, plant science, and chemistry.  Advanced students will also encounter some elementary combustion science and thermodynamics, soil science, and botany.  The activity includes hands-on construction and use of a device to make biochar, as well as planning and conducting a controlled experiment to test the effects of biochar on plants in their native soil.

Students refresh their understanding of carbon cycle and learn how burning of fossil fuels upset the natural balance, leading to global warming.  They will be introduced to biochar and understand how using biochar can help sequester carbon to restore the balance.  They will construct pyrolyzer from simple materials and use it to make biochar themselves, then conduct a controlled experiment to see the effect of biochar on plant growth.  They will be introduced to the concept of sustainable use of biomass and see its relevance to biochar.

Click here for more. 


Update from the Pacific Institute California Drought Response Group – May 9

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Federal weather forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have increased the probability that an El Niño weather system will develop this winter to 78%, up from 66% last month. According to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, El Niño events tend to develop between April and June, and reach maximum strength between December and February.

Read more here. 

Learn about the many benefits of on-farm biodiversity at Bonterra Organic Vineyards in Ukiah, CA. Methods of conserving and enhancing biodiversity include habitat conservation and enhancement around or in vineyards, planting and incorporation of cover crops and other vegetation, protection and attraction of wildlife species and the use of compost and soil amendments that increase soil biodiversity. These practices help growers produce grapes while minimizing negative impacts on natural resources and provide natural buffers to the ecosystem, including erosion control, increased soil fertility, and reduced pest and disease pressure, which all help to improve grape quality. To learn more about farming with biodiversity, visit: Biodiversity Conservation Practices in California Vineyards: Learning from Experiences