Natural Resources Programs
Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages
Throughout the West, population dynamics are changing. As communities grow, the land at urban fringes is being rezoned from large agricultural enterprises to smaller, one to 40+ acre parcels that maintain some agricultural uses while attracting a more diverse ownership. More than half of Nevada’s farms comprise less than 10 acres. Local and regional impacts on soil and water resources often increase as larger parcels are rezoned into small acreage parcels. This is due to increased densities of wells and septic systems, a rise in amounts of impervious surface, and the owners’ lack of knowledge and experience with integrated pest management and forage and grazing management techniques. Changes in land management may also result in accelerated rates of soil erosion and increases in nutrient loads, pesticides and total dissolved solids in surface and groundwater supplies. The challenge is how to reach this audience and teach them the importance of land stewardship.
What Has Been Done:
Under the leadership of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), a team from eight western states spent 18 months developing a curriculum-Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages-designed to teach small acreage owners how to attain their property goals while protecting soil, water, plant, animal and other natural resources. The manual contains lesson plans, hands-on activities and 15 visual presentations. The team trained nearly 80 Cooperative Extension and natural resource agency professionals from western states, who in turn implemented the program in their respective states.
In Nevada, the curriculum was used to educate landowners in the Carson Valley to help improve water quality in the Carson River, which is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 303(d) Impaired Waters List because of its turbidity, temperature and phosphorus levels.
Since the successful training of western participants, more than 1,200 copies of the Living on the Land curriculum have been distributed to 42 states and four foreign countries. The curriculum has been used for three years in the Boise, Idaho area; two years in Clark County, Washington; as well as by the Carson Valley Living on the Land (CVLOL) program in Nevada. Local partners are the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, Carson Valley Conservation District and Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development.
A CVLOL program evaluation showed participants improved their water quality knowledge based on pre- and post-test results. Of those who attended three or more workshops, 100 percent installed best management practices (BMPs) on their properties. The Washington program evaluation found that 113 BMPs were installed by class participants. More than 90 percent of respondents agreed the Living on the Land course provided the level of information desired. Close to 50 percent tested their well water and had their septic systems inspected, nearly two-thirds tested their soils and 84 percent of respondents shared part of what they learned with others.
Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Contact: Susan Donaldson, Area Natural Resources Specialist, 775-784-4848
Natural Resources Programs
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.
Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.
Integrated Pest Management
Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.
Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages
Living With Fire
Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.
NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials
The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.
Nevada Range Management School
This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.
Nevada Youth Range Camp
Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education
Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty work on an interagency and interdisciplinary cadre that puts on Riparian Proper Function Condition Assessment trainings and works with agencies and watershed groups to develop collaboration about riparian management.
Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge through Education
Walker Lake, located in central Nevada, is a natural resource of interest to diverse and often competing groups. Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge Through Education, is a community-based program to educate adults and youth about Walker Lake issues.
Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).
Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training
The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.