Conservation and Prescribed Burning - Environmental Protection ...

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Conservation and Prescribed Burning - Environmental Protection ...

The Natural Resources

Conservation Service –

Conservation and

Prescribed Burning

Susan O’Neill

NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change

Team

EPA Region 10 Smoke Management Meeting

April 22-23, 2009, Spokane, Washington

Photo courtesy Lorraine Vogt


Overview

• NRCS

• Who we are

• How we operate

• Air Quality within NRCS

Prescribed Burning within NRCS

• Purpose

• Policy

• Training

• Programs – National Perspective

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) & CIG-b

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

• Participation in the NWCG Smoke Committee


Technical Assistance Agency

• Provide Technical

Assistance to Private

Landowners

• Address: Soil, Water,

Animals, Plants, Air

and Humans

(SWAPA+H)

• Achieve these

Objectives through a

Conservation Planning

Process


Resource Concerns

• Currently 72 Resource

Concerns

• Four Resource Concerns

for Air Quality and

Atmospheric Change

• Particulate Matter

• Ozone Precursors

• Odor

• Greenhouse Gases (CO 2 ,

CH 4 , N 2 O)


Conservation Planning Process

• Develop a Conservation

Plan with the Landowner

• Consists of Conservation

Practices

• 150+ Conservation

Practice Standards

• National Standards

• States customize

Prescribed Burning is a

Conservation Practice

Standard (CPS)


Conservation Planning Process

• Nine Step Process

• Identifying Problems

• Determine Objectives

• Inventory Resources

• Analyze Resource Data

• Formulate Alternatives

• Evaluate Alternatives

• Make Decisions

• Implement the Plan

• Evaluate the Plan


NRCS Structure

• State-centric Hierarchy

• Determine priorities

• Organized into Regions

• Three Technology

Support Centers

• Core Team supporting the

Region

• 9 National Teams

providing specialized

technical assistance

nationally


National Technology Support

Centers

• East, Greensboro, North Carolina

• Manure Management Team

• Social Sciences Team

• Soil Quality Team

• Central, Fort Worth, Texas

• Grazing Lands Team

• Wetlands Team

• Wildlife Team

• West, Portland, Oregon

• Water Quality and Quantity Team

• Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team

• Energy Team


Air Quality Personnel in NRCS

AQAC Team in Portland, Oregon:

• Greg Johnson – Team Leader

• Susan O’Neill – Air Quality Scientist

• Roel Vining – Air Quality Scientist

• Greg Zwicke – Air Quality Engineer

California:

• Ted Strauss, Air Quality, Climate Change, Energy (ACE)

• Johnnie Siliznoff, Air Quality Specialist

State Air Quality Contacts:

• Dee Carlson – Idaho

• Sally Bredeweg – Washington

• Dave Dishman – Oregon

Washington DC:

• Michele Laur, National

Atmospheric Resource

Specialist

• Ron Heavner, National

Air Quality Specialist


Air Quality in NRCS

• Provide technical support

to the States

• Training

• 4 Online Courses

• 3-day Air Quality, Climate,

and Energy Courses

• Smoke Management in 4-

day Prescribed Burning

Courses

• Tool Development:

SNAP, COMET-VR,

WEPS


Air Quality in NRCS

• Practice Standards

• Review current

Standards for AQAC

• Develop new Standards

• Policy Development

and Rule/Regulation

Review

• Support the

Agricultural Air Quality

Task Force

• National Engineering

Handbook Chapters


Prescribed Burning Assistance

• National Policy: NRCS

supports and encourages the

use of prescribed burning on

rangeland, pastureland, forest

land, hayland, wildlife land,

and CRP land to meet specific

resource management

objectives.

• NRCS assists with the

planning of the burn but not

typically with the

implementation

in NRCS


Prescribed Burning Assistance

in NRCS


Prescribed Burning

Conservation Practice Standard

• Purpose of Prescribed Burning

• Control undesirable vegetation.

• Prepare sites for harvesting,

planting or seeding.

• Control plant disease.

• Reduce wildfire hazards.

• Improve wildlife habitat.

• Improve plant production quantity

and/or quality.

• Remove slash and debris.

• Enhance seed and seedling

production.

• Facilitate distribution of grazing

and browsing animals.

• Restore and maintain ecological

sites


NRCS Prescribed Burning Training

• Only trained and

qualified personnel

are authorized to

provide assistance in

planning or

implementing

prescribed burns.

• Certification Levels

• Basic to more complex

depending on fuels,

topography, acres

• NRCS personnel must

comply with any State

training or certification

requirements


NRCS Prescribed Burning Training

• 1-week Courses Tailored to:

• The region/ecosystem

• The goals of the NRCS State

office

• Include:

• Fire Ecology

• Fire Behavior

• Ignition Techniques

• Fire Weather

• Smoke Management

• Burn Plans

• Planning and Executing a

Prescribed Burn


Prescribed Burning Assistance

in NRCS

Burns planned with NRCS

assistance must adhere to all

Federal, State, and local laws

regarding:

• Outdoor Burning

• Fire Control

• Smoke Management

• Air Quality

The Landowner is responsible

for obtaining all required

permits


Planning a Prescribed Burn

• The National Range

and Pasture

Handbook burn plan

template

• Customizable at the

State or district level

• Includes Smoke and

Fire Weather items

• Safety is always the

first consideration


Prescribed Burn Plan Elements

• Location of burn

• Resources

management

objectives

• Pre-burn vegetation

description

• Prescription of

weather conditions

Burning method

• Pre-burn preparation


Prescribed Burn Plan Elements

• Firing sequence

• Smoke Management

practices

• Job assignments: fire

patrol, containment,

mop-up, suppression

• Equipment and

materials checklist

• Post burn evaluation

and management


Oregon NRCS Prescribed Burning

• Location:

Heppner, Oregon

• Burn Objectives:

• Reduce Juniper

encroachment

• stimulate grass

growth

• wildlife

• Size: 250 acres

Class


Oregon NRCS Prescribed Burning

• Unique features

• Balance between fine

fuel moisture and

atmospheric

dispersion conditions

• Three

Canyons/Draws

• 20 Oregon NRCS

personnel now

qualified to discuss

prescribed burning

with landowners

Class


Other NRCS Prescribed Burning

• Florida

• SE Pine Ecosystems

Wildlife Habitat

• New Mexico, Utah

• Rangeland – Juniper

encroachment

• Illinois, Central US

• Tallgrass Prairie

• … Others

Classes


Air Quality in NRCS Programs

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

(EQIP)

• States determine the priorities and thus

practices that are covered under EQIP

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

• Rewarding good conservation

• Proposed for 2009: Alternatives to burning of

orchard trimmings and residues


NRCS Programs

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

• Competitive grants – 50% of cost covered by

grant, purpose is to demonstrate and

implement new technology

• CIG-b - $37.5 million/yr for air quality in the

Farm Bill, for 4 years

• Funds allocated to the States based on

nonattainment areas: Idaho and Oregon for PM10


New Conservation Practice

Standards

• State Interim Practices

• Four New National Air Quality

Conservation Practice Standards in

Review


NWCG Smoke Committee

(SmoC)

• Chartered under the National Wildfire Coordinating

Group (NWCG)

• Members: USFS, NPS, FWS, BLM, BIA, NASF, NRCS,

NACAA

• Objectives:

• Improve understanding of Air Quality rules/regulations;

• Further the application of appropriate smoke management

approaches (BSMP, SMP, ESMP);

• Coordinate/foster partnerships between fire management

agencies and stakeholders;

• Advocate for new science and technology, training and outreach

efforts.


• Training

NWCG Smoke Committee

(SmoC)

• Effective Communication for Smoke Management in a Changing Air

Quality Environment – 3-day Workshops

• Online Tutorials and Refresher Courses

• Clearinghouse of Smoke Management Materials

• Communication

• www.nifc.gov/smoke

• www.myfirecommunity.net “Air Quality and Fire Issues” Neighborhood

• Track new Regulations/Policies and provide briefing materials

• WESTAR Exceptional Event Rule (EER) working group

• 2008 EPA Fire National Emission Inventory (NEI)

• Implementation of the Federal Fire Policy

• Greenhouse Gases – Emission Inventory, Reporting Rule

• New Ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS


Susan O’Neill

NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team

susan.oneill@por.usda.gov

503-273-2438

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

prohibits discrimination in all its programs

and activities on the basis of race, color,

national origin, age, disability, and where

applicable, sex, marital status, familial status,

parental status, religion, sexual orientation,

genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal,

or because all or a part of an individual's

income is derived from any public assistance

program.

Photo courtesy Lorraine Vogt

Thank you! Questions,

Comments, Discussion


Prescribed Burning Assistance

in NRCS

• Assisted landowners in applying prescribed

burning to 480,000 acres in 2008

• 280,000 acres Central Region

• Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas

• 179,000 acres Eastern Region

• Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi

• 21,000 acres Western Region

• Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico

• Oregon (1,400 acres)

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