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Conservogram: Soil and Water Conservation Society in action.

Connecting the Conservation Professional

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is connecting today's conservation professional. The Society provides members with opportunities to connect with natural resource professionals in forestry, soil science, water quality, climate change, planning, landscape architecture, wetland restoration, and more. This diverse professional organization connects the practitioner with the academic--spreading conservation science through the managers and educators.

Out most recent projects contribute valuable information to such causes as the conservation title of the Farm Bill, federal spending on working land conservation, and climate change.

JOIN US as we connect the conservation professional! Become a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society at (515) 289-2331; or

Report Calls for the Expansion of Conservation Buffer Use

Recently a leading conservation organization called on policymakers, conservationists, and the nation's farmers and ranchers to make the most of the opportunity that exists for use of grass and tree buffers to address conservation problems on agricultural land. The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS), in a report based on a National Conservation Buffer Workshop held in 2001, outlines a series of research, policy reform, and communication needs to advance the use of buffers for the benefit of agricultural producers, taxpayers, and the environment.

The report, Realizing the Promise of conservation Buffer Technology, shapes an agenda of action items to help the USDA'S National Conservation Buffer Initiative achieve its goal of landowners installing up to 2 million miles of conservation buffers--.8 million miles left to go. "Right now, there is a window of opportunity to help producers and the environment' says Craig Cox, executive vice-president of SWCS.

A copy of the SWCS report is available on the Internet at Copies also can be requested, via email, at or by calling (515) 289-2331, extension 10.

Conservation Implications of Climate Change

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is undertaking a project exploring the conservation implications of climate change. Those effects will be manifold but we'd like to focus attention first on helping policymakers, scientists, and conservationists understand how projected increases in precipitation intensity will affect the environment and what steps should be taken to improve conservation programs and practices to mitigate those effects.

Recently, Dr. Tom Karl of the National Climatic Data Center reported that precipitation intensity has increased by about 20 percent over the last decades. He also concludes that more recent data suggests that intensity continues to increase.

Intuitively, an increase in precipitation intensity should have significant implications for soil erosion, runoff volume and intensity, channel stability, and delivery of nutrients, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals to surface and ground water. Also intuitively, it would seem that conservation efforts would need to be intensified to offset the effects of increasing precipitation intensity. More and more attention is being paid to nonpoint source pollution as the last remaining water quality problem that has not been adequately addressed. Conservation efforts might have to be increased markedly to mitigate the effects of precipitation intensity while at the same time making significant additional progress on nonpoint source control.

In 2002, SWCS is beginning a project that would evaluate and summarize what we know now and quantify, to the extent possible, these intuitive implications. Where quantification is not possible, we would like to use the best judgment of the scientific community to describe and explain the implications of a change in precipitation intensity for conservation policy, programs, and practice. We also want to develop an agenda of steps that should be taken to fill gaps in our knowledge and improve conservation practice and policy in anticipation of climate change.

Log onto to for updates as the project progresses.

Conservation Title of the Farm Bill

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) has undertaken a project, Seeking Common Ground for Conservation, to help key stakeholders and policymakers shape the conservation provisions of the 2002 farm bill. In 2000, SWCS invited state and local leaders with first-hand experience of the strengths and weaknesses of current conservation policy and programs to a series of five regional workshops. These workshops produced the grist for a report, A Farm Bill Proposal: Responding to the Grassroots, released in June 2001.

The remainder of 2001, the Society worked to inform policymakers, members, and stakeholders of what the actions of Congress meant for the conservation title of the farm bill. The Society has compared the recommendations in their report to the U.S. House amendments and provided a section-by-section summary of the Senate versions of the conservation title.

The Soil and Water Conservation Society continues to inform stakeholders and policymakers on key points of legislation to allow the greatest opportunity for safeguarding soil and water through conservation efforts.

For more information on the Society's advocacy work, go to

RELATED ARTICLE: Professional Development Through Workshops and Conferences

MAY 1-2, 2002

SWCS Montana Chapter Annual Conference

Great Falls Holiday Inn, Great Falls, MT -From Prairie Dogs to Builtrout: The Impacts of the Endangered Species Act on Montana Agriculture is the theme for the Montana Chapter's annual conference. The conference will focus on the historic aspect of species listed, impacts the Act has had on Montana agriculture producers and future implications.

For information, contact Dave Heilig, phone (406) 522-4020, or Heidi Brewer, phone (406) 587-6905.

MAY 29, 2002

Southwest Region Soil and Water Conservation Society Professional Development Workshop and All-Oklahoma Annual Conference

Quartz Mountain Lodge and Nature Center, Altus, OK - The Southwest Regional Team of the Soil and Water Conservation Society will sponsor a Professional Development Workshop to cover all aspects of professional and personal development, chapter development and membership. The All-Oklahoma Chapter will have their Annual Conference immediately following the workshop and will offer members and other interested conservationists an opportunity to learn more about conservation technologies for the 21st Century.

For information, contact Larry Wright at (580) 832-3661 or email:

JULY 13-17, 2002

Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference

Indianapolis, IN - To be held at the Westin Hotel. The 2002 annual conference of the Soil and Water Conservation Society will be an opportunity for integrated learning and sharing across key natural resource topic areas. The conference will focus on how conservation of natural resources is linked to local, regional, national and global concerns. The theme is "Setting the Pace for Conservation" and will focus on three topics:

1.) Land Use - Reconciling Economics, Ethics and Ecology

2.) Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution

3.) Measuring Progress

For more information, contact Pat Mulligan at (515) 289-2331; or go to

OCTOBER 8-10, 2002

Changing Faces of Conservation and Agriculture-the Future of Working Lands, a Conference of the West North Central Region of the Soil and Water Conservation Society

Holiday Inn Airport, Moline, IL - The conference will examine how the changing faces of agriculture and conservation affect working lands in the United State, particularly in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Speakers will review current conservation and agriculture conditions and policies and look at projected changes in both. Conservation provisions in the new farm bill, conservation research, delivery systems, fewer and larger farm operations and other issues will be highlighted. The meeting will include plenary sessions with invited speakers as well as breakout sessions followed by post-meeting tours of the Mighty Mississippi River backwaters, and an evening activity.

Conference information is available on the web at north_centralhtm.

The Conservogram is the monthly email newsletter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. These pages give an overview of the many Society accomplishments that are often reported in the newsletter. To sign up far the email version, go to
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Publication:Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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