Draft WI NRCS Practice Standards Open for Comment

Twelve Wisconsin practice standards have been revised by the Wisconsin NRCS office.  The following twelve practice standards will be open for public comment for two weeks from Wednesday, December 19th to Wednesday, January 2nd.

Instructions to comment on standards:  Submit comments using the “Leave a Comment” link to the left or the comment section at the bottom of this page. Submit all comments related to a single standard at one time. Enter comments to additional standards in separate comment boxes. Keep comments specific and directly related to the standard. Indicate the standard and the section you are referring to when commenting, for example “327 Conservation Cover: V.B.4.a(1): Does this mean that…” Respond in the same order as the sections appear in the draft. If you have general comments applicable to the entire standard please note them as such.

Below lists the revised standards and brief explanations of the revisions made for each of the practice standards.

Vegetative Practice Standards

These “vegetative” conservation practice standards were revised to utilize a seeds-per-square-foot method to calculate the total seed needed for planting vs. the previous pounds of seed per acre. The seeds-per-square-foot method is more accurate when there is significant variability in seed size and weight.  A spreadsheet-based seeding calculator tool will be available to assist with seed mixture development.  All of the vegetative standards now emphasize the current requirement to increase calculated seeding rates to reflect “pure live seed”.  Edits to the general criteria added standardized language related to seed bed preparation, fertilization requirements, and erosion control during the establishment period.

Wildlife Habitat Management Practice Standards

These general wildlife habitat management conservation practice standards were updated to reflect minor updates to the national practice standards and to provide more uniform Wisconsin specific language for generalized management recommendations shared by the standards. The use of habitat evaluation tools was added to both practice standards as the method to determine what habitat elements are lacking and need to be enhanced through implementation of the practice standards. The generalized habitat management guidance contained in the Upland Habitat Management practice standard was removed.

595 – Integrated Pest Management:

The Wisconsin practice standard was updated to reflect revised national language which now requires the use of Integrated Pest Management techniques vs. the prior standards “shall consider the use of IPM” statement.  The revised standard now requires minimum levels of mitigation to address pesticide products with an Intermediate, High or Extremely High rating in the Windows Pesticide Screening Tool (WINPST).  Use of the WINPST tool will become mandatory, replacing the quick reference risk assessment tables previously located in the Wisconsin Pest Management Technical Note.

Forestry Management Practice Standards:

These practice standards have had minor edits to comply with the national standards.  Riparian Forest Buffer (391) has been revised to reflect management purposes other than timber. Tree/Shrub Site Preparation (490) has had minor changes and a name change.  Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation (650) is a new Wisconsin practice standard.  Forest Trails and Landings (655) has been revised to emphasize the temporary nature of the practice.  Tree/Shrub Pruning (660) has had the species-specific criteria removed.  Forest Stand Improvement (666) has been revised to broaden the criteria to reflect more than saw timber/fiber production purposes.

If you have questions regarding the revised draft standards, contact Pat Murphy at pat.murphy@wi.usda.gov.  If you have questions about submitting comments, contact Gini Knight at gini@wlwca.org.

6 Responses to “Draft WI NRCS Practice Standards Open for Comment”

  1. Scott Reuss December 19, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    512 Forage and Biomass Planting. V, A, 2, and Figure 1 and Table 1. The proposed seeding date guidelines do not reflect reality for Marinette County soil types and growing conditions. Many perennial forage seedings are planted prior to May 1st, and need to be to allow for sufficient soil moisture and correct soil temperature. A relatively large percentage of our soils are sandy and thus warm and dry very quickly during many springs. At a minimum, I would recommend moving Marinette County from the "north" portion of the recommendations into the "central" to better reflect agronomic reality. My belief is that the entire "north" portion is somewhat late, as my work in Florence and Forest Counties would indicate that many fields there should also be planted prior to May 1st in many years.

    Scott Reuss

    Marinette/Florence County UW-Extension

    Agriculture/Horticulture Agent

    • socwisconsin March 18, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Response from NRCS State Office:

      This very issue was discussed, whether or not to redistrict some of the northern counties into the central zone. This discussion in on-going and at the present time the zones and dates will remain the same. The standard does allow a producer to seed prior to May 1st. Section V. A. 2. states: “Seeding outside of the recommended dates must be approved by the Area Resource Conservationist, State Grazing Specialist or State Agronomist”.

  2. PETER M WURZER December 19, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    In section V.A.2 of the 342 Standard the requirement for seed tags submittal should be removed. This requirement is another example of government regulations being developed to remedy a problem that does not exist. More documentation for the sake of documentation doesn't help anyone. I'm convinced that a seed bill would be more than adequate, after all our main clients are farmers who make a living growing things. Lets keep our eyes on the land itself instead of the many, many bits of information that are constantly being analyzed, massaged and evaluated. I sense a real disconnect with the land itself and a reliance on university and man made thoughts here.

    • socwisconsin March 18, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Response from NRCS State Office:
      The wording does not specify that a seed tag must be provided, however, seed tag information must be provided to verify PLS for computing the actual adjusted seeding rates. The vendor usually makes a copy of the tag attached to the seed lot or will document the purity and germination information on the invoice.

  3. Mike Murray, Departm December 19, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Comments on Standard 595 Integrated Pest Management

    V.A.13 – change the text to read "Restricted use pesticides shall be applied by an individual certified in the appropriate pesticide applicator certification category".

    The reason for this is that DATCP certifies pesticide applicators in 20 different categories, e.g. commercial field & vegetable, chemigation, fruit crop, aerial. Each category limits sites where certified individuals can apply pesticides.

    VI.B – guessing "specie" should be species

    VIII.E – add language to the effect that "a chemigation operating plan shall be developed". This is a specific O&M requirement of ATCP 29.54.

    VIII – I suggest adding a new section specific to the use soil fumigants. These pesticides are commonly used in potatoe/vegetable production and also by tree nurseries in the Wisconsin. ATCP 30.22 has special provisions for the use of soil fumigants including setbacks from applicaiton fields to residential structures and recordkeeping requirements. Starting Dec. 2012 EPA driven product label changes now require that soil fumigation operations develop fumigant management plans, post special warning signs and utilize buffer areas around fields being fumigated among other things.

    Maybe this language could be used in Standard 595

    For sites being treated with soil fumigants, a fumigant managment plan shall be developed and appropriate warning signs posted. Specific requirements for the use of soil fumigants are found on the pesticide label and Wisconisn Administrative Code ATCP 30.22.

    • socwisconsin March 18, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Response from NRCS State Office:

      V.A.13: Changed text as suggested to clarify the language as specified in ATCP 29.26 (applicator certification) and ATCP 29.31 (categories and certification requirements).

      VI.B.: Either usage in this case is acceptable, both words can be coined as singular or plural.

      Text edited in section VIII. E. to reflect the need of a documented chemigation operating plan as specified in ATCP 29.54 when pesticides are used. Language added to VIII. F. as suggested, when soil fumigants are applied.