NRCS Announces Changes to Strengthen Technical Input in Conservation Programs


NRCS Announces Changes to Strengthen Technical Input in Conservation Programs
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WASHINGTON, May 6, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is expanding the membership of its State Technical Committees and making other changes that strengthen technical input in conservation programs. The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to NRCS programs, including enabling representatives from the State Cooperative Extension Service and land grant universities to serve on the state committee that assists NRCS in guiding locally led conservation.
“NRCS is committed to efficiently and effectively implementing the Farm Bill and delivering on our promise to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “The rule we’re issuing today is a step toward strengthening and streamlining the services and programs that help conserve our nation’s natural resources on working lands.”
Today, NRCS published an interim final rule in the Federal Register to make the existing regulations consistent with the changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, including the change related to State Technical Committees. NRCS is accepting comments on this rule through July 5, 2019.
Other Miscellaneous Changes in Notice
The 2018 Farm Bill makes some important improvements to strengthen NRCS’s programs, including:
Waiving the requirement for certain duplicative or unnecessary watershed plans under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, which authorizes NRCS to install watershed improvement measures to reduce flooding and advance conservation and proper utilization of land;
Expanding the purposes of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program to add: protection of at-risk species in conserving forest land, permanent easements as an enrollment option for Tribal lands, and land identified as being in the greatest need to improve the well-being of a species;
Authorizing that certification of technical service providers be through a qualified non-federal entity; and
Requiring that $3 million of the funds to implement the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program be used to encourage public access for hunting and other recreational activities on wetlands enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
More Information
You may submit comments by any of the following methods through the Federal eRulemaking Portal on Docket ID USDA-2019-0005. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. NRCS is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.
As part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS and other USDA agencies publish interim final rules and other documents available for public viewing and comment on the Federal Register. On March 11, 2019, NRCS published a notice and request for comment on conservation practice standards. For more information on how USDA is implementing the Farm Bill, visit
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Tell Gov. Inslee: Protect us from toxic fracked gas projects in Washington State!

Keep Fracked Gas out of WA

Washington State is being flooded with proposals for new and expanded fracked gas infrastructure that will lock us into decades of climate pollution and undermine our healthy future (there’s nothing “natural” about gas). Even worse, the local agencies that are supposed to protect us have consistently failed to consider the full climate, health, and social justice impacts of these toxic fracked gas projects.

Thankfully, Gov. Inslee has the power to make sure these agencies do take these concerns into account. In the next few days, a group of powerful organizations are submitting a letter to Gov. Inslee. The letter, appreciating his climate leadership, asks him to take the next step and him to protect us from these projects. If thousands of us join in, Gov. Inslee will have no choice but to make sure our concerns are addressed.

Here in Washington, the Kalama methanol refinery is poised to be our state’s largest source of climate pollution by 2025. It comes with staggering health, safety, and environmental risks, and an equally staggering rate of fracked gas consumption — roughly one-third of the state’s total gas use. Similarly, the Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility, currently being built without all its permits on Medicine Creek Treaty Territory land without the Puyallup Tribe’s consent, presents serious climate and public safety concerns which haven’t been fully addressed by local review agencies.

We’re pulling out all the stops to push back on both of these toxic fracked gas projects, and with Gov. Inslee’s support and thousands of us behind him, we’ll be able to protect our communities from decades of climate pollution. Please sign and share this letter to ask Gov. Inslee to protect us from these toxic fracked gas projects!

Reinstate SBSK comment sections on YouTube – Sign the Petition

Video explanation here:
YouTube has taken discriminatory action against SBSK ( and other channels that feature minors as part of an over-reaching effort to combat child predation on their platform. They have chosen channels at random and disabled all of their comments without any sort of transparency or real communication with creators. Their actions were not all-encompassing, rather many channels (especially those tied to large corporations and advertisers) have been left unaffected. They have no information for creators/communities on how long the comments will be disabled or if the action is permanent.

We at SBSK are fighting this blatant discrimination and censorship of the disability community. Our impact as a channel and a nonprofit is greatly limited without our comment section. We are heartbroken and angry for all that we have lost due to YouTube’s actions. Chris and I have advocated since receiving the initial notice last week, but our pleas and outrage have been ignored. We are asking you, our community across the globe, to rally around us and to fight this discrimination.

Please sign our petition and include a message demanding the immediate reinstatement of comments on SBSK’s channel.
You can read our full open letter to YouTube below:
Dear YouTube,
On our channel, comments aren’t just “an important way for our team to engage with our community”… they are as paramount to the work we are doing and the positive global change we are trying to promote as the videos themselves.
Our comment section is where the individuals we feature often hear and experience societal acceptance for the first time. They are a place where information and tips are shared; where myths are dispelled and stigma challenged. They are a place, (one of the only public forums) where someone can be acknowledged as more than their diagnosis.

Our comment section is where dialogue happens. Where perspectives are challenged and widened. It is where empathy is found, fostered, and made commonplace.

To have lost our comment section is devastating for our team and our community. It is devastating to our mission and the neurodiversity movement that had found it’s voice on YouTube.
I appreciate your response, and while I believe there is a need to further protect minors on your platform, there has to be another way. Half of our mission is to show those we feature that society will accept them if they have the courage to put themselves out there. So far, every person I have interviewed has been met with an abundance of loving and supportive comments.

I am incredibly proud of SBSK’s followers and the empowerment and ownership they feel towards our channel. We have one of those most positive comment sections on the internet; one that is monitored by us and policed by our community who will accept nothing less than respect in those forums.

By choosing to move forward this way, YouTube will severely minimize our impact as a non-profit. In trying to do the right thing with an emphasis to protect your advertisers, you have genuinely hurt people and censored them. These individuals are not the pedophiles you were targeting, just collateral damage.

The disability community has fought too hard and long for it’s voice. I know there has to be a way that we can work together to support the protection of minors on YouTube without isolating and silencing the disability community once more. We ask that you consider us for the group of channels who will be allowed comments while working with you to moderate them.

Chris Ulmer and Alyssa Porter