The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) works extensively with the nation’s farmers and ranchers to protect soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources while meeting production goals.
Working with agricultural producers allows NRCS to promote conservation practices approximately 1.4 billion acres of the privately held land in the United States. About 92 million acres of land in our country is tended by home gardeners. In an effort to promote conservation on these lands, NRCS has partnered with other organizations to produce, Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation From the Countryside to Your Backyard.
This full-color and informative online resource highlights 10 conservation activities that can be used in your backyard, shared spaces, and public places too.
- Trees add beauty and so much more.
- Trees, shrubs, and other plants can provide homes and food for wildlife.
- A backyard pond will likely become the focal point for all your backyard conservation.
- Wetlands filter excess nutrients, chemicals, and sediment and provide habitat for a host of interesting creatures.
- Composting turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer.
- Mulching cools, protects, and enriches the soil.
- Apply only those nutrients the plants can use. (See our previous post on soil test kits to help you get accurate test results.)
- Terracing makes flower and vegetable gardening possible on steep slopes.
- Drip irrigation and other water conservation practices can save water and money.
- Early detection and treatment of pests means a healthier growing environment.
Along with gardening, raising poultry at home is increasing in popularity. If you are interested in raising poultry for eggs or meat production, please first check to make sure having chickens at home is legal in your area.
If the practice is allowed in your location, UC ANR’s Selecting Chickens for Home Use publication is a great place to start.
- Stock for egg production
- Stock for meat production
- Stock for exhibition
- Buying your chickens
- Hatching your own chicks
- Replacing your stock
Additional information can be found at the UC Davis Avian Science website.
Designed to deliver alerts to residents quickly, VC Alert has the ability to share threats to the health and safety of entire communities seamlessly and efficiently. Alerts can be received by one or more of the following: home phone, cell phone, work phone, email, text message, fax, or instant messaging.
In addition to emergency information users can choose to receive any of these additional categories: crime alerts, road closures, public meetings, and community events.
Perhaps the best part of this system is the ability to define the locations and types of notices you are interested to receive. For instance, you may request alerts near: your home, workplace, children’s school, or areas in which other family or friends reside.
It is easy to sign up for this service. You may sign up using the internet , by phone 805.648.9293, or by mail. The address to mail a request is Ventura County Sheriff’s OES; 800 South Victoria Avenue #3450; Ventura, CA 93009. Residents are able to sign up in English, or in Spanish.
Water that drains out of our washing machines, bathtubs and showers is graywater. Graywater can be reused in the yard to water plants and trees. Although graywater use is common in some areas, recycling graywater is controversial in other areas.
As of August 2009 Laundry-to-Landscape systems can be installed in California without a permit. Learn more about these systems at the Casitas Municipal Water District’s free Gray Water Workshop this Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 9:00 am to noon. To register, RSVP to Ron Merckling by email (make link email@example.com), or by phone at 805-649-2251 ext 118.
See the Casistas Municipal Water District website for other programs and events.
The newly redesigned UC IPM Online website has many wonderful resources intended to reduce the environmental and human health impacts of pest problems and managing them. Integrated pest management (IPM) can be used to solve pest problems in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas.
IPM embraces combined management approaches for the greatest effectiveness for reducing pest damage. Biological control, cultural controls, mechanical and physical controls, and chemical control work together to create effective, long-term control in a way that minimizes possible harm to people and the environment.
When chemical control is needed the Mitigating Pesticide Hazards webpage provides step by step guidelines and suggestions to reduce potential harm.
- Choose a pesticide from the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for the target pest
- Before an application evaluation
- After an application evaluation
- Consider water management practices that reduce pesticide movement off-site.
- Consider practices that reduce air quality problems.
Some of these resources are available in Spanish.