The following workshop is for any contractor involved in projects within 250 feet of a shoreland zone. The shoreland zone is defined as an area within 250 feet of rivers, wetlands, lakes and the ocean; and 75 feet of certain streams. As of January 1, 2013, Maine legislation requires that a certified person be on-sit of any activity that disturbs more than one cubit yard of soil--including earth moving, loggin ore landscaping operations--in the shoreland zone until work is complete and the site is stabilized. With out state certification, a contractor is limited in expanding and/or remaining sustainable in the business world. Step one is to attend an all-day Basic Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Workshop. Step two is to engage the services of the Soil and Water Conservation District to inspect practices installed in a project. You must use the Conservation District within the boundaries of your project location. An inspection report is sent to Maine Department of Environmental Protection. If favorable, you become a state certified contractor. Register today to avoid increase fee for late registration. Don't put off registering; there is only room for 50 participants.
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District received funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program Agreement #68-1218-13-17 to offer "The Andy Valley Successful Farmer". For beginning farmers, in business under ten years, there are many opportunities available through the Befginner Farmers Resource Network. Check this site out: http://www.umaine.edu/beginning-farmer-resource-network/.
During the fall of 2103 and early 2014 we held 5 workshop sessions. These included Forest Harvesting Management, Vegetable and Fruit Crop Management, Soil Health and Nutrient Management, Pest Management for Fruit and Vegetables, Transitioning To and Organic Production, and Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production.
Professional Development Workshop
Maine Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Project was funded through a grant with SARE. February 24, 2014 a Professional Develoment Workshop was held for those providing services to farmers.
Nomination petitions are available for the one open position for the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District's Board of Supervisors.
Election Superintendent Jane Heikkinen announced at recent Board of Supervisors meeting, "Petitions to nominate a candidate are available. Any wishing to run for election must contact the District Office at 207-753-9400 ext 400 to receive the necessary form. The Nomination Petition form must be returned with at least 25 registered voters residing in Androscoggin or Sagadahoc Counties by October 10th. Ballots will be made available by October 17 and must be returned no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, November 14th. Ballot votes will be counted on November 20, 2014." The election to this position involves a commitment of service for three years beginning January 1, 2015.
USDA Local Work Group Meeting
The Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a meeting of the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties USDA Local Work Group Meeting on December 19, 2013. Fifteen people attended the meeting.
The local resource categories and percentages in the funding pools will be animal waste with 75%, cropland and pasture with 20%, and small farms with 5% for 2014. The Local Working Group identified and prioritized the resource concerns and points allocated to these concerns:
High 33 points for questions related to the resource concerns
Integrated pest management (vegetables, small berries and orchards)
Soil Health/Cropland Issues
Nutrient management (waste mangement and soil health)
Water quality (surface and groundwater)
Erosion (farmland and streambank)
Medium 10 points for questions associated with the resource concerns
Community Engagement (Ag education and recreation activities on farms that support local communities
Forestry (timber stand improvement)
Low 6 points with questions related to the resource concerns
Other Workshops Held
The first of six sessions in "The Andy Valley Success Farmer Series--Forest Harvesting Management" was held October 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Leeds Town Hall, 8 Community Drive. Registration began at 8:30 a.m. with an introduction to Multi-use management, reading the forested landscape, silvicultural concepts and working with your forester; state regulations for boundaries, notification, shoreland zoning and tree growth tax program; in-woods management practices during/after harvesting to prevent erosion and protect water quality; developing and maintaining access roads and NRCS related gprograms. The afternoon included an on-site woodlot tour at The Kennebec Land Trusts' Curtis Homestead with more discussion of the morning topics.
To see the topics covered at the Forest Harvest Management Workshop, click here:
The Farm Pond Walk and Talk Workshop was held Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 8:30 to 12 noon. This workshop was held on the Hemond Farm and MotorX area, at 695 Woodman Hill Road, Minot. The session included inside classroom time and an outside walk to three farm ponds for further discussion on farm pond uses.
This workshop was relaxed and informal, covered new pond construction tips, built pond maintenance ideas, planning for pond use and provided opportunity to learn from questions of the other attendees and answers that were given.
The Farm Pond Walk and Tak Workshop was sponsored by the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, hosted by the Hemond Farm and facilitated by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agriculutral Engineer Cani Gilpatric. This workshop was offered as a result of requests received from farmers. However, please note that USDA NRCS does not provide cost sharing, technical assistance or construction engineering for new farm pond development.
Other Workshops Offered in 2013
Lake Auburn Watershed Septic Social was held Saturday, September 7, at the Volunteer Monitoring Program Office, 24 Maple Hill Road, Auburn from 8:00 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.
All septic systems located within a watershed and all septic systems have the potential to impact a nearby waterbody. Learn how you can save money, extend you septic system's life and protect Lake Auburn. This septic social was offered to bring answers to your questions, help you stay on the right side of the law, and offer tips on preventing a system failure. The fantastic speakers and good company made it a fun morning. This Septic Social was offered with the collaborating efforts of Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, Auburn Water District, Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission, Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, W E Fenderson Septic Service, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Sun Journal published a guest editorial about the event written by Heather Mccarthy. We extend our thanks to both the Sun Journal and Heather.
The first 15 Lake Auburn watershed residents who attended the Septic Social received a coupon from the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission to add to the discount offered by W.E. Fenderson Septic Services for a septic tank pump out.
New Standards for Timber Harvesting in Shoreland Areas
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service partnered to offer this FREE workshop for code enforcement officers, woodlot owners, forest operators and any others interested. The workshop was held in the USDA Service Center's Conference Room at 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston.
The topics covered the new laws, options for municipalities and key changes for timber harvesting. The instructors took time to address questions and offered to do follow up visits.
A Maine Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction and Certification Program
Professional Development Workshop was held with about 30 people participating on June 20, 2012 at Maple Hill Farm Inn, 11 Inn Road, Hallowell, Maine.
Earth Smart is a Maine agricultural emissions reduction certification program developed by collaborating partners to provide a whole farm assessment and help farmers prioritize recommended practices that will reduce emissions on the farm while providing additional co-benefits. The program will recognize farmers for the implementation of good agricultural practices and will help position them to take advantage of current and future regional and national carbon offset markets, if they wish to do so.
The Earth Smart program was developed by: Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Maine Forest Service, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Maine Rural Partners, AgMatters LLC and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Additional support and contributions were received from Maine Farm Bureau, Maine Association of Conservation Districts, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Farm Credit East, Time and Tide Resource and Development Area, Northeast SARE, National Wildlife Federation; Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Ivan Fernandez; Juan Alvez and others who have donated time to edit and comment on the documents. We thank all who have been involved, without their help this program would not have been possible.
New Farmer Workshop Series
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Department of Agriculture and Maine Forest Service to provide a basic introduction to agriculture issues in a seven part series.