PARKER COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT #558
604 NORTH MAIN, SUITE 100, WEATHERFORD, TEXAS 76086
817-594-4672, EXT. 109
Generally, someone is in th office Tuesday - Friday 8:30 - 2:00
CONSERVATION - DEVELOPMENT - SELF GOVERNMENT
COMMISSIONER’S COURT WINS “FRIENDS OF CONSERVATION” AWARD
The Parker County SWCD directors recognized Parker County Commissioner’s Court as outstanding “Friends of Conservation” and entered them in the Texas Conservation Awards Program last February. A 1st place plaque was presented to Commissioner’s Court at the Area V Conservation Awards Banquet held May 6th at Tarleton State University in Stephenville. The
awards program is sponsored by the 52 Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Area V.
Parker County Commissioner’s Court has been a vital partner in keeping the Parker County SWCD’s 34 flood prevention structures in good repair since signing the “Watershed Work Plan Operation and Maintenance Agreement” in 1967. Current members from left to right are: Craig Peacock, Precinct 2; Rusty Renfro, Precinct 4; County Judge Mark Riley; Larry Walden, Precinct 3; and George Conley, Precinct 1.
Another milestone was reached in 2007 when the District and County signed an “Inter-local Agreement” expanding the program to further help the District maintain the structures while addressing drainage areas where overtopping or breaching of a structure would impact county roads and bridges.
Over the years the County’s Trustee Work Program has benefited the District. Trustees have cleared trees from sites, rebuilt risers, and helped with replacement of outfall pipes. A lot of manual labor goes into the upkeep of a flood prevention structure and trustees have become a welcome addition to our O&M crew’s efforts to finish projects in a timely manner.
Commissioner Craig Peacock, Precinct 2, has followed in the footsteps of past Precinct 2 Commissioners and continues to allow the District to store their Brillion Grass Seeder at their facility. Precinct 2’s staff has always been able to help the District with evaluating maintenance needs of the seeder and have been able to use trustees for general maintenance and minor repairs,
such as changing tires, at an affordable cost to the District.
Craig Peacock, Commissioner Precinct 2, accepted the award on behalf of Parker County Commissioner’s Court; he is shown with Wanda Carter, Office Manager, Parker County SWCD; Morris White, Secretary-Treasurer, Parker County SWCD; and Melton Harms, Chairman, Parker County SWCD.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE!!!
The District is gifting a wonderful book titled "Range Plants of North Central Texas - A Land User's Guide to Their Identificaton, Value and Management," written by Rickey J. Linex, as a thank you to those who donate $20 or more to the Parker County SWCD in support of the District’s conservation efforts. Easy to use and beautifully written, the guide is full of colorful pictures of plants and their seeds on sturdy paper. This is a great resource for anyone who would like to identify plants growing on their property. Come by and look at the book we have on display.
Bluebonnet seeds in 1 lb. bags as well as Native and Starburst mixtures of wildflower seeds in l lb. bags are in stock for those wishing to plant now for spring flowers. The mixes contain 10% Bluebonnets as well as 16 – 17 other wildflower seeds that bloom in the spring. Native wildflowers are tolerant of dry conditions and well adapted to the climate extremes of north Texas. An added bonus is less mowing is required. Bluebonnets sell for $18 a pound and the wildflower mixes for $26 a pound. .
If you live in the country, be sure to choose plantings that are not prime deer food. Some of the wildflowers such as Mexican Hat and Mealycup Sage are not deer magnets, while clover and azaleas are. A few plants last on their meal list are mesquite, pinyon pine, juniper, prickly pear, cactus, yuccas and Lamb’s ear.
Tree seedlings from the Forestry Service are also offered for sale October – February with pick up on February 27th, 2015. Containerized trees are sold individually for $2.80 each in plastic tubes. Afghanistan Pine, American Plum, Austrian Pine, Bald Cypress, Deodara Cedar, Desert Willow, Fourwing Saltbush, Hackberry, Italian Stone Pine, Lacebark Elm, Orienal Arborvitae, Osage Orange, Pinyon Pine, and Sand Plum are offered this year. Hardwood seedlings in lots of 25 are sold bare rooted and sell for $35.00. All that offered this year is Bur Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Shumard Oak, and Pecan. Fill out you information below and a complete list of seedling will be sent at the appropriate time. Our email address is Tree seedlings from the Forestry Service are also offered for sale October – February with pick up on February 27th, 2015. Containerized trees are sold individually for $2.80 each in plastic tubes. Afghanistan Pine, American Plum, Austrian Pine, Bald Cypress, Deodara Cedar, Desert Willow, Fourwing Saltbush, Hackberry, Italian Stone Pine, Lacebark Elm, Orienal Arborvitae, Osage Orange, Pinyon Pine, and Sand Plum are offered this year. Hardwood seedlings in lots of 25 are sold bare rooted and sell for $35.00. All that offered this year is Bur Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Shumard Oak, and Pecan. Fill out you information below and a complete list of seedling will be sent at the appropriate time. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The District began selling rain barrels 3 years ago. Since the District only receives enough funding to employ part-time office staff, they were looking for something to market that would not require on site sales. Rain barrels fit the bill perfectly, because once the District receives an order it is sent to our supplier and delivered right to the customer’s door! The whole process can be handled by mail. The 55 gallon capacity Terra Cotta rain barrel is the District’s best seller at $110.00, with the 53 gallon capacity Terra Cotta for $103.00 a close second. Larger sizes are available in blue, 63 gallon capacity is $125.00 and the 67 gallon capacity is a steal at $130.00. Flex elbows are sold for $5.25 and barrel connectors for $4.25. Tax Code 151.355 exempts rainwater harvesting equipment from sales tax. The exemption applies to equipment and supplies used solely (used exclusively for the reason stated) for certain types of water conservation. Rain barrels and attachments the District sells are used solely for conservation rainwater harvesting and are tax exempt.
THE STATE'S O&M GRANT PROGRAM FOR SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
On November 1, 2013, Governor Rick Perry renewed the certification of exceptional drought conditions originally set out in an Emergency Disaster Proclamation dated July 5, 2011. Even though the drought began in October of 2010, little rain and high summer temperatures made 2011 the driest year since recording started in 1895. Summer temperatures were estimated to be 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, also making 2011 the most intense one-year drought ever.
Statewide, the state’s reservoirs are estimated to be at 60.6% full, while 90% of the state is still in some type of drought
condition. Even though Parker County now ranks in the “moderate” category, strains on the county’s water supply are becoming
apparent. At this time, water in many of the District’s flood control structures is at historic lows, while some are even considered
dry. Planning and design of floodwater retarding structures includes an allowance for anticipated sediment accumulation. At this
time the District does not foresee a need or have funds available to dredge the lakes of sediment.
But there is good news. The State of Texas has reinstated the O&M Grant Program for Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Over the next 4 bienniums, the District will receive a designated amount to remove trees and other woody vegetation, rebuild
fences and replace gates, resolve erosion issues on the dam and in the spillway, repair minor wave erosion and trailing by livestock,
replacement of eroded corrugated pipe ends, and repair/replacement of valves and valve stems. While the District’s priority is clearing
sites, less costly O&M needs could be addressed while working on a site.
DISCOVER THE CLASSROOM CONNECTION
In the Summer 2002 issue of Landscape an article appeared about using agriculture in the classroom. “A century ago, children knew where their milk, food and clothing originated. Children lived on farms, and had chores gathering eggs, slopping hogs and picking crops. Agriculture and education were inseparable. Early textbooks were full of agricultural examples used to teach ranging from math to reading. Those examples fell by the wayside in the ‘40s as American society became more urban.”
Dr. Ken Koonce who was dean of the LSU for many years once said, “Agriculture is an ideal teaching tool because it is science-based, it is real and tangible, and it can be immediately applied, so students relate to it.” Lower grade levels, such as 4th and 5th grades, are the target of Ag related teaching because younger children are more receptive to new concepts. Ag in the Classroom is a teaching curriculum that was created to restore the correlation between education and agriculture and is a kindergarten to 12th grade program that can be used along with current test criteria. For more information about Ag in the Classroom, visit www.agclassroom.org.
Domino’s Pizza Ranch, is an annual school event in May presented by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s Food and Fiber Committee at the Will Rogers Memorial Complex. 4th and 5th graders get to see the original source of pizza ingredients, from pigs and dairy cows to live plants that produce the flour and spices for pizza. For more information on youth activities sponsored through AgriLife Extension visit http://texasextension.tamu.edu. 4-H is another program that has been around for more than a hundred years, teaching life skills, problem solving and leadership, through a host of activities designed to help children experience success. Visit www.texas4-h.tamu.edu today.
The Texas Brigades is a wildlife-focused leadership development program for youth ages 13 – 17. There are 5 camps that take place June - August: Bobwhite Brigade, Buckskin Brigade, Bass Brigade, Waterfowl Brigade, and the newest – Ranch Brigade. Each camp is located on private ranches in different parts of the state where students are introduced to habitat management, animal behavior, biology, and nutrition. For more information on the Texas Brigades, visit their website at www.texasbrigades.org.
The Parker County SWCD is available to present programs to schools and youth organizations. Email us at email@example.com for more information about the District’s watershed model that visually helps students understand erosion, source and non-source water pollution, air pollution, and how conservation practices that farmers, ranchers, industry, and homeowners use to keep our environment clean and healthy work. Workbooks and information for grades K – 12 are available for the asking.
So what’s the point of all this Ag learning? It’s true that most children won’t choose agriculture as a life work, but they will be tomorrow’s consumers, voters and political leaders. We need to not let the voice of agriculture be lost; our children need to know and appreciate where their food and clothes come from, and realize that the store they are shopping at is the end of the line, not the beginning. They also need to understand why supporting agriculture and the rural ways of life are so important to our county and country