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Conservation News-March 18, 2024

Medina River watershed meeting set on March 28 in Castroville

The Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, is hosting a watershed protection planning meeting on March 28 in Castroville. The meeting will be at the St. Louis Braden Keller Community Center, 1410 Amelia St., for those interested in becoming involved in a partnership to improve and protect the Lower Medina River watershed. Lucas Gregory, Ph.D., TWRI associate director, said the meeting is the third in a series of meetings with watershed stakeholders to develop strategies needed to address water quality impairments in the watershed. “The Lower Medina River and Medio Creek are currently designated by the state as impaired because of elevated bacteria concentrations,” he said. “There are also nutrient concerns present in the watershed. Both the impairment and concerns can begin to be addressed through the watershed plan.”

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Final SEC rule leaves out emissions reporting

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted last week to finalize a climate-disclosure rule without the Scope 3 reporting requirements, which would have required public companies to report the greenhouse gas emissions of their supply chain. The final rule is a victory for farmers and ranchers who spoke out against the “Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors” rule. “The proposed rule was an example of overreach by the SEC,” Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) President Russell Boening said. “Farmers and ranchers are heavily regulated by agencies at the federal, state and local levels. The new reporting requirements under the proposed rule would have made an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.” TFB issued a Voter Voice action alert on the proposed SEC rule in June 2022, and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) issued an Action Alert on the proposed rule in February 2023.

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COMMISSIONER SID MILLER ANNOUNCES OVER 800K IN DONATIONS FOR TEXAS PANHANDLE WILDFIRE RELIEF

Today, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is pleased to announce that the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund has received an overwhelming response, with over 1,600 individual donations totaling over $800,000 to support relief efforts for Texas farmers and ranchers devastated by the Panhandle wildfires. These donations will provide critical financial assistance, helping them rebuild and recover from the unprecedented damage. “I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed to the STAR Fund to support our fellow Texans in their time of need,” Commissioner Miller said. “The overwhelming response demonstrates the strength of our Texas spirit and our commitment to standing together in times of crisis.” The STAR Fund, administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), provides financial assistance to agricultural producers who have suffered losses due to natural disasters, including wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts. The funds collected will be distributed directly to those in need to help cover expenses such as livestock feed, fencing repairs, and other essential recovery efforts.

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USDA Launches New Bobwhite Conservation Pilot and Announces General Conservation Reserve Program SignupThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of a new conservation initiative – Working Lands for Wildlife’s Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project, as well as the signup dates for USDA’s General Enrollment signup in the Conservation Reserve Program (General CRP), which opens March 4. Both conservation opportunities give producers tools to conserve wildlife habitat while achieving other conservation benefits, including sequestering carbon and improving water quality and soil health. Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, announced these opportunities today at Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D. The General Conservation Reserve Program signup will run from March 4 to 29, 2024. The Working Lands for Wildlife Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project is a new effort supporting voluntary conservation of private working lands to benefit northern bobwhite quail and East-Central grasslands conservation.
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