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Conservation Corner
Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District
By Kate Norris

The function of a District is to take available technical, financial, and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them so that they meet the needs of the local land user for the conservation of soil, water, and related resources. Adapted form Pete Nowak's "The Conservation District Official: Villain or Victim?"

I'm pleased that "horsehints.org" has given me an opportunity to share conservation ideas, and opportunities for horse owners through this website. Horse owners in the northern Virginia area may also visit www.pwswcd.org to learn about seminar, events, and financial incentive programs available through our agency. Some of you may already be familiar with the mission and services of soil and water conservation districts. My conservationist peers and I have visited many Virginia horse farms, learned about your concerns and objectives, and are working with you to develop and implement solutions. Your overwhelming interest and support continues to keep us extremely busy! We thank you for your commitment to protecting community waters.

Kate Norris Bio

Pasture Management

Budget Horse Farm/Achieve Your Vision!
Fertilization and Seeding/March 1 to April 15
Financial Help for Farm Improvements
Flyover Farm Wins 2008 Bay Friendly Clean Water Farm Award
Frost-Seeding With Clover
Grass Farmers
Grazing Rules of Thumb
Grazing Season/Extend It!
Late Fall
Manure Management, Horse Farms
Pasture Overview
Pasture Assessment
Preserve Pastures/Sacrifice Areas
Roof Gutters
Septic and Well Protection
Stream Regulations
Wash Stall/Simple Outdoor Installation
Water/Ice Solution
Water Quality Impact
Winter Wise Farm Management

Conservation Quiz

For those who are unfamiliar with the Conservation Districts, please allow me to provide an overview. What is Conservation District? Conservation Districts were formed during the Dust Bowl era when traditional farming practices caused so much wind erosion that a black cloud of dust reached all the way to Washington, D.C. Legislators recognized the need for locally lead conservation and today we have more than 3,000 conservation districts across the U.S. The mission of the conservation districts is to provide technical, educational, and financial support to address local natural resource issues including the protection of land, water, forests, wildlife, and related natural resources. Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District is one of 47 districts in Virginia, best known for its award winning outreach to horse farms and in providing an unequaled caliber of youth education opportunities.

I'm a life-long horse owner and a conservationist with the Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District (PWSWCD). PWSWCD is a state- and locally-supported, non-regulatory agency, dedicated to helping citizens voluntarily manage their land in a way that protects water quality. We have a staff of six that provide technical and financial assistance to the varied PWC agricultural community as well as educational programs to citizens, both youth to adults. A board of directors, comprised of three elected positions, one state appointed position, and a county extension agent, govern the District. Our District is a "suburb" of Washington D.C. and includes urban, suburban, and a few rural communities. The majority of our agricultural operations are small horse farms on 5-10 acres. Our communities drain into the Potomac River and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

In the following articles I will introduce you to "Environmentally Sensitive Horsekeeping." I hope to provide you with the tools to evaluate your land stewardship skills and the inspiration to begin to make needed changes. The steps you take will benefit not only your property and horses, but also local and downstream water quality.

Thank you, Kate, for sharing your infinite equestrian and farm management knowledge with all of us. This information was reposted by the permission of the author.