Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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

Continuing Resolution Passes House, Agriculture “Minibus” Stuck

Earlier this week, the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) for spending bills that have not yet been passed, which would extend government funding levels from fiscal year (FY) 2018 through December 7 of this year. The CR was passed as part of a “minibus” spending bill package (H.R. 6157) that included FY 2019 funding for the Department of Defense and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. In addition to the two funding bills that have been passed, there are ten other annual funding packages that are still awaiting congressional action.

The Defense and Health and Human Services minibus package passed on the floor of the Senate last week. The CR was added to the minibus in order to increase the likelihood that a complete funding package could pass the two chambers and be signed by the President before September 30, thereby avoiding a partial government shutdown.

As we have previously reported, the agriculture spending bill for FY 2019 was included in a different minibus along with three additional bills – Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; and Housing and Urban Development. The House and Senate already passed the first minibus for Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veteran Affairs, and it was signed by the President earlier this month.

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Source:  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, September 28, 2018

USDA Releases Standard Indicators and Laboratory Procedures to Assess Soil Health for Public Comment

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is releasing a set of standard indicators and associated laboratory procedures to assess soil health. These measures – recommended through a multi-organizational collaboration among soil health experts in the federal, university, public and private sectors – are being developed to improve conservation planning and implementation across the United States.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has posted a draft Technical Note detailing these soil health indicators and associated laboratory methods in the Federal Register offsite link image     for public review and comment. NRCS is accepting comments on this Technical Note through December 13, 2018.

“We are committed to supporting our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters as they work to build healthier soils across their operations,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Standardized measures give us consistency in scientifically assessing soil health and will improve our ability to evaluate soils across the United States using methods that are objective and actionable.”

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Source:  USDA NRCS Public Affairs (202) 720-3210

Sonoma County launches public input campaign on new septic system rules

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Sonoma County is launching a series of public meetings Wednesday to gather public input as it prepares to update rules for the estimated 45,000-plus septic systems in the unincorporated areas.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, the first of five such gatherings planned in the coming weeks for each of the more rural quadrants of the county.

The campaign comes after the Board of Supervisors asked state regulators in May for a six-month extension on creating new septic system policies, following a series of concerns raised by rural homeowners. The county has been working in good faith with the state since then, county officials said this week.

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Source:  JD Morris, The Press Democrat, Sept. 25, 2018