Workshops to focus on management, preservation of land

BELLEVILLE – Community Partnerships RC&D and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, in cooperation with the Mifflin County Conservation District and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, will host a summer workshop series focused on maintenance and preservation of local lands.

The first in a series of three presentations is set for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Belleville Sale. Trevor Weaver, of the Mifflin County Conservation District, will present a workshop about riparian buffer construction.

Kevin Morgan, Natural Resources Specialist at Community Partnerships RC&D, said Kish Creek was once a cold trout stream. However, agricultural land development near the creek has caused an increase in water temperature and changed the ecological balance of the area.

Constructing a riparian buffer – a strip of forest maintained near a stream – helps shade the water and protect it from the impact of land use. Morgan said Weaver’s presentation will help area residents better understand how to effectively use the land around them while protecting the local watershed.

A second workshop will be presented at the same time and place on Aug. 27. This time, Joel Myers, a local farmer, will talk about soil health and management. Morgan said the workshop will focus on reducing erosion and improving fertility of soil. The event also will feature a demonstration with a rainfall simulator. Morgan said the simulator will mimic one inch of rainfall during a two-hour period of time. The demonstration will show how different agricultural practices affect the land, he said.

A final workshop will be held at the same time and place on Sept. 10. Gerald Hoy, local representative of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, will talk about forest management. Morgan said there are landowners who are not managing their forests effectively. Hoy’s workshop will focus on how to protect the land, Morgan said.

All workshops will take place under a tent near the Livestock Auction or Commodity Crop Auction areas at the Belleville Sale grounds. The location of the tent is dependent upon availability and topic.

Morgan said workshops are open to the public and free of charge. Presentations are meant to provide landowners with the knowledge to fix problems before regulatory agencies come knocking on the door, he said.