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.

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