PARKER COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT #558
604 NORTH MAIN, SUITE 100, WEATHERFORD, TEXAS 76086
817-594-4672, EXT. 109
CONSERVATION - DEVELOPMENT-SELF GOVERNMENT
JACOB SHAFFER, NEW DISTRICT CONSERVATIONIST WANTS TO WORK
WITH LOCAL LANDOWNERS
My name is Jacob Shaffer and I have been selected for the District Conservationist position in Parker County. I replaced William Donham who retired at the end of 2012. My previous location was Aspermont, Texas, which is north of Abilene, yes, less rain and more mesquite trees. Other locations I have worked while with NRCS include Centerville, Matador, and Sharing a little about my background, I was raised south of Denton, Texas around Argyle. I received my bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Systems Management with minors in Agronomy and Business from Texas A&M University College Station in May 2004. I also received my master’s degree in Agronomy from Texas A&M University in 2007. Hobbies I enjoy are hunting, fishing, camping, Dave Ramsey events, triathlons, and of course, Texas A&M football as well as all Texas My office is located in the USDA Service Center at 604 North Main, Suite 100 in Weatherford. I look forward to working with farmers and ranchers here in Parker County and hope I will be an asset to the Service Center, as well as the community. And just maybe I will be able to bring a little “maroon” flavor into town as well!
THE STATE'S O&M GRANT PROGRAM FOR SOIL ANDWATER 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.
HELPING OUT THE LOCAL WILDLIFE
Many times wildlife is taken for granted and at other times wildlife can be considered a nuisance. Think of birds and bats. Both are beneficial, but birds are much nicer to have around than bats. Having both bird houses and bat houses around does make perfect sense, one feeds at night and the other by day, each eating a thousand or more mosquitos in a single night. While only the female mosquito spreads disease by feeding on blood, the more mosquitos that are eaten by birds or bats are that many less needing to be sprayed with costly insecticides. It is estimated that bats alone eat billions of tons of insects each year, pretty much anything that happens to be flying in their airspace. All wildlife needs food, water, shelter, and space in which to live. Whether you have 1 acre or 100 acres, wildlife is all around you. Birds need shelter. If you want birds to stay around your yard or in open areas near you, they need bird houses or large trees to build nests. Water and food sources need to be placed in areas away from people’s homes; birds like to observe us from a distance as well. Bird feeders hung in trees will bring color to your yard and a window view will offer many hours of bird watching. Wildlife prefers home style meals, so stay with native plantings as much as possible. A good resource is the Master Gardeners; they are experts in native plantings. Check out their gardens at our office at 604 North Main Street in Weatherford. Deer have become a problem in recent years. Homeowners put out deer corn hoping to bring wildlife to their area, but forget that deer may be traveling through other people’s property and may not be as welcome. Having large animals near your home could cause problems, when deer become too comfortable you could find them in your yard, driveway or on rural roads you frequently travel. Deer are considered “weed eaters” as they readily forage on forbs. Forbs are listed as broad leafed herbaceous plants that are not considered grasses. If you live near ponds or creeks you may see more wildlife drawn to these water sources. Large tracts with diverse native plants that include fruiting trees or shrubs as well as trees that produce a nut will be attractive to many birds and mammals. If you are not sure what type of plants you have on your property or what type of plants to encourage, check out the NRCS plant data base at http://plants.usda.gov or Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center at http://www.wildflowers.org.
WHERE TO GO ON THE INTERNET TO FIND ASSISTANCE OR INFORMATION
WHAT THEIR DUTIES ARE AND HOW THEY CAN HELP FARMERS, RANCHERS AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS
Natural Resources Conservation Service - Field Office Weatherford, Texas - Home office Temple, Texas
website http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/. Administers farm bill programs. Cost-share is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Free consultation is provided to farmers and ranchers who want or need to conserve soil, water and other natural resources.
Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board - Home office Temple, Texas
website http://www.tsswcb.state.tx.us/. Coordinates programs administered by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Programs include cost share assistance for water quality, management, and conservation planning.
USDA – Farm Service Agency - Field Office Weatherford, Texas - Home office College Station, Texas
website http://www.fsa.usda.gov/. Administers NAP (the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Insurance Program), CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) signups, Farm Loans – including emergency loans when applicable,
Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Local Office Weatherford, Texas - Home Office College Station, Texas
agriculture through their affiliation with Texas A&M University. Youth education through 4-H