Student River Research & CRP Notifications

Student River Research & CRP Notifications

More than 300 Pasco High students spent last week collecting samples, and recording data from observations made at different points along the Columbia River. The data collected by the students included water temperature, oxygen content, acidity, and how salty and cloudy the water was at each location. They will use the collected data to develop hypotheses about why salmon are struggling in the lower reaches of the river. Students said they were actually learning why the fish are dying, why the environment is changing, and how they can possibly help. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife waived fees to allow larger groups of students to visit the locations. In return the students will share their final data with department officials.

Friday marked the end of the extended Conservation Reserve general sign-up period. Now farmers are wondering just how long will it be before they know whether or not their offers were accepted. Juan Garcia with the USDA Farm Service Agency says it may be a while.

GARCIA: Our staff here will start reviewing the environmental benefit scores for each offer and the average payment rate - say around three weeks after that that we’ll be able to provide information to Secretary Vilsack so he can determine at what level will be the cut off to accept offers.

So farmers are looking at mid to late May before they could be notified. After that...

GARCIA: We have to notify NRCS so they can start developing conservation plans so we can approve all the contracts by September 30th.

That will be cutting it close since the new Conservation Reserve contracts take effect starting October 1.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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