Invasive Plant Species Threaten the Health of Your Forest

Forests are a wonderful place to relax, enjoy nature, hunt, and engage in other fun activities, but our enjoyment of our forests is threatened by numerous invasive plant species. These plants can outcompete – and sometimes, even replace – native plant species, which significantly impacts the long-term health of our forests.

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What You May Not Know About Electronic Recycling

In 2013, the Shiawassee Conservation District launched a highly success electronic recycling program in partnership with Comprenew. Recently, the District sat down with Scott Vanerkooy at Comprenew to discuss electronic recycling and see what happens to the items that are dropped off during our collections.

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Conservation In Action

3 RUP Credits, 3.5 CCA Credits, and a MAEAP Phase 1 Credit available!

Registration at 8:30 A.M. at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Busses leave at 9:00 A.M.

This event is free and includes lunch.

RSVP REQUIRED by September 5, 2018 at Shiawassee Conservation District 989-723-8263 x3.

High Tunnel Systems ~ Transition to Organic ~ Right to Farm ~ Farmer Veteran Coalition ~ Cover Crops ~ Forest Management

  • Join us as we tour two high tunnel systems and learn how Veteran farmers, Richard and Katy Stone are using them to grow their vegetable operation. Also hear steps they have taken and reasons for transitioning to become certified organic. Nick Babcock from the Michigan Farmer Veteran Coalition will also discuss how the coalition helps Veteran farmers in Shiawassee County and across the United States.
  • Cover crops offer so many benefits. Join us to hear why one local farmer is planting no-till soybeans into cover crops, and terminating cover crops after planting and how it benefits soil health among other things.
  • Ben Tirrell, Program Manager for Michigan Right to Farm at Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will break down what this program means for farmers and their neighbors.
  • Following a forest management plan improves wildlife habitat, increases profitability, and increases aesthetics. Jeff Tuller, Consulting Forester will join us to discuss why a forest management plan is so important.

There will be walking around farms or across fields at each stop of the tour

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact the Shiawassee Conservation District at (989) 723-8263 x3 by September 5, 2018. USDA is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.

Landscaping a Mound

Your soils are clay, your yard is soggy and your home is in the country, chances you have a mound type of septic field. As a mound septic system owner, one of the first questions you may have is, “What am I going to do with this large hill in my yard?”. It is true that the mound, at three or four feet high and up to 90 feet long, offers unique landscaping challenges. Luckily there are things you can do to both protect the mound and make it visually appealing.

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The Dust Bowl: Lessons Learned in Soil Conservation

“Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes.” John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.

The Dust Bowl devastated the southern Great Plains for eight years during the drought-stricken 1930s. Yellowish-brown dust blew making simple acts such as eating and breathing near impossible. Great dust storms rolled far eastward, darkening skies all the way to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. The areas most severely affected were western Texas, eastern New Mexico, the Oklahoma Panhandle, western Kansas, and eastern Colorado. Drought, the Depression, and poor farming practices created what is considered one of the most serious environmental catastrophes the United States has ever experienced.

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Is Feeding Bread to Ducks and Geese Bad?

What do you do with your leftover and expired food? Would you dump it in a pile in your front yard to feed the wildlife? Most people would not pile food in their yard however; many people seem to think it is ok to drop off their unwanted food in parks. They justify it by saying they are feeding the ducks. In reality, they are doing the ducks more harm than good even if this result is unintentional.

Feeding the wildlife in community parks and other urban areas is a tradition that has remained prevalent for generations of people who frequent these areas. For many, it’s a way to connect with nature, bond with family, or just spend some leisure time. It can seem so hard to resist ducks begging for attention, and it would seem that providing food for them would make them healthy and happy, but it doesn’t.

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Do I Need a Plumber or a Septic Service Provider?

A backed-up toilet is not a good situation under any circumstance. For homeowners with on-site septic systems, the question becomes, is it my plumbing or could my septic system be failing?

The quickest way for a septic system owner to decide whom to call when drains are slow is to count the fixtures backing up. If more than one fixture is slow or backs up, call a septic system provider. If it is just one fixture, start with a plumber.

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Septic Tank Additives

Septic Tank Pumping

For homes with an on-site wastewater disposal, system maintenance falls to the homeowner. Household wastewater flows into the septic tank, where the heavier solids settle on the bottom to form a sludge layer. Floatable solids, such as greases, oils and fats, collect at the surface to form a scum layer. The remaining liquids empty in to the drainfield to be treated by natural processes in the soil. Homeowners are responsible for regular tank pumping to remove solids so they do not clog the system.

It has been suggested that additives can be used in a septic system to accelerate digestion of biosolids, break up scum, improve settling of solids, or restore clogged soil. There are two distinct categories of additives: 1) chemical, including inorganic and organic compounds and 2) biological, such as yeast, bacteria, and enzymes.

Biological additives may reduce the amount of grease and effluent in the septic tank. However, these additives may increase biological activity to the point of adding extra solids to the tank. A breakdown of the scum layer in the tank by these additives is also detrimental. The scum layer holds back fats, greases and other floatables, preventing them from clogging the drainfield.

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