Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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

Grazing with dung beetles improves soil health

Known as the “Farmers Friend,” the dung beetle returns fresh cattle dung pads back to the earth, building soil and recycling nutrients.

Dung beetles return over 90 percent of the nitrogen in cattle dung back to the soil, which then improves the forage uptake of valuable minerals, phosphorus and sulphur by 80 percent, saving the farmer money on unnecessary fertilizer.

The tunneling action of dung beetles improves plant root development, forage production, and the soil’s water infiltration capacity, resulting in less water runoff and pollution loading in a watershed.

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Source:  Troyce Barnett, Farm and Dairy, January 28, 2016


Incentive-based Instruments For Freshwater Management

General Explanation

Freshwater is one of our most precious and valuable resources. And yet, we already see clear signs of its overexploitation across the globe.

One approach to reducing pressure on water resources has been the use of incentive-based instruments, which use financial means to motivate parties towards better managing both the quantity and quality of freshwater. This synthesis aims to understand their full potential, and limitations.

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Full Report Here.

Source:  Pacific Institute, December 1, 2015

The Most Important Water Stories of 2015

Water was a Top Risk on the 2015 Global Agenda

In early 2015, participants at the World Economic Forum, a who’s who of the political and business elite, ranked water crises as the top global risk. Water was also a key factor in the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for international development over the next 15 years. Ensuring safe drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030 is one of six water goals for the SDGs. In December at the UN climate change conference in Paris, world leaders acknowledged the instrumental role that water will play in a warming planet. Water security was included in the response plans of most nations and was at the core of numerous debates and side agreements.

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Source:  Peter Gleick, Brett Walton, J. Carl Ganter, Huffington Post, February 4, 2016

White House proposes millions for big water innovations

<> on April 8, 2015 in Pleasanton, California.

Go ahead and turn up those Jock Jams, Obama, because your administration is doing something unprecedented before you become un-presidented: submitting a budget proposal with $267 million specifically devoted to water innovation.

OK, it’s more exciting than it sounds. The water tech section of the budget focuses on making desalination affordable, monitoring water use in real time, helping farmers grow food with less water, and forecasting floods and droughts with more precision, Fast Company reports.

America’s water problems are becoming more and more pressing: America earned a D+ on its 2013 water infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers. This poor performance is augmented by current realities like the Flint water crisis, the California drought, and our ever-draining aquifers.

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Source:  Kate Yoder, Grist, February 8, 2015

Flint Is Still a Disaster, But Obama Just Proposed a Giant Cut to Water Funding

President Obama has called Flint, Michigan’s water crisis “inexplicable and inexcusable.” But his administration’s proposed 2017 budget, released today, cuts the Environmental Protection Agency’s water infrastructure funding by roughly a quarter billion dollars.

The EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) provides loans to improve state and local water quality and is the primary source of federal funding for water infrastructure improvements. The 2017 budget proposes a $158 million increase to the Drinking Water SRF, which would help municipalities replace pipelines, fix water main breaks, and generally improve aging water infrastructure—the type of changes that could help places that, like Flint, have an aging water infrastructure. But the budget also proposes a $370 million cut to the Clean Water SRF, which goes toward projects making water sources cleaner overall, from reducing urban runoff pollution and improving wastewater treatment to researching how unregulated chemicals in our water supply affect human health.

In light of the disaster in Flint, the proposed cuts have provoked criticism from both sides of the aisle: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he was “grossly disappointed” by the proposal, while Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) accused Obama of prioritizing climate change over water. Overall, federal water infrastructure spending has been relatively stagnant for years.

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Source:  Julia Lurie, Mother Jones, February 9, 2016

California’s Four-Year Drought Cost $2 Billion on Power Bills

ca power

The unprecedented drought in California cost consumers an extra $2 billion in power bills because it dried up hundreds of hydroelectric stations in the U.S. state, curbing a key source of renewable energy, a new report found.

The drought has also undermined efforts to tackle climate change since it started in 2011, because the extra gas power replacing hydro increased emissions, the research group Pacific Institute in said the study.

“California’s drought — which is the driest and hottest in 120 years of instrumental records and one of the worst in history — has had widespread impacts on all water users, including farmers, industries and natural ecosystems,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, said in a statement on the organization’s website.

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Source:  Jessica Shankleman, Bloomberg Business, February 10, 2016

CA Lawmakers Urged to Plan for More Droughts

With California mired in a relentless drought, the state’s legislative analyst encouraged lawmakers Friday to increase drought-relief spending and adopt a scientific approach to future droughts fueled by climate change.

The nonpartisan report by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, “The State’s Drought Response,” recommended California lawmakers to pass the majority of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $323 million drought package included in his January budget proposal. Lawmakers were also advised by the report to quickly begin planning for the state’s next drought by seeking more scientific data and holding more oversight hearings.

“We recommend the Legislature spend the coming months and years vetting various drought-related budget policy proposals for their potential benefits and trade-offs, and enacting changes around which there is widespread and or scientific consensus,” the 32-page report states.

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Source:  Nick Cahill, Courthouse News Service, February 5, 2016