Friday, January 20, 2017

NMSU Media Productions develops outreach materials on water management, irrigation techniques

NMSU Media Productions develops outreach materials on water management, irrigation techniques DATE: 01/19/2017 WRITER: Amy Smith Muise, 575-646-1073, CONTACT: Jeanne Gleason, 575-646-5658, New Mexico State University’s Media Productions is part of a prestigious integrated USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture project to explore the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water on food crops. Maintaining agricultural water security is critically important to the continued sustainable production of our nation’s food supply. In support of this goal, farmers may choose to conserve their groundwater by the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water. At the same time, the recent Food Safety Modernization Act has increased the focus on preventing foodborne contamination. To meet stricter guidelines for the quality of irrigation water used on food crops, producers need up-to-date information and transformative on-farm solutions. Funded by USDA-NIFA and managed at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, this multidisciplinary, multistate team is addressing this need through CONSERVE (COordinating Nontraditional Sustainable watER Use in Variable climatEs): A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health. The CONSERVE project includes research, Extension and education activities and will reach out to farmers, communities, educators, students and federal, state and local governments. CONSERVE is focusing on two key regions, the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest. These two diverse climates each have regional agricultural water challenges that are exacerbated by climate change. Currently, NMSU Media Productions is working to create animated modules to communicate key underpinnings of the project as the basis for educational curricula and outreach materials to support producer and community understanding of nontraditional irrigation water practices. “For more than a decade, our team has partnered with national experts to promote new agricultural production and process techniques that allow consumers to enjoy fresh, raw produce while minimizing food safety concerns,” said Jeanne Gleason, head of NMSU’s Media Productions. “With this new project, we will work with even more national and international scientists to develop educational programs promoting the project’s new water management and irrigation techniques that will protect and extend our limited water supply while supporting consumers’ access to safe raw fruits and vegetables produced in a more sustainable way.” Gleason and Barbara Chamberlin are co-directors of NMSU’s $586,500, four-year, grant-funded project that will fund their Media Productions team to develop part of the national team’s educational programs for diverse national audiences, including K-12 classrooms, university students, agricultural producers, irrigation districts and food suppliers. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: Follow NMSU News on Facebook:

Monday, January 9, 2017


MALTA STAR-THISTLE INVASION Malta star-thistle (Centaurea melitensis L.) was first found in Eddy County around 2003 or so along the truck by pass in Carlsbad. I carry a hoe in the truck for such occurrence and have rouged out a number of new invasive weed when I see them. I was too late for this one however; I did rouge out a patch only to find 20 or more patches down the highway. Since that time this weed has been the target of the Eddy County weed management group who have done their very best to stop this weed. The fact it has taken 13 years for it to become a major concern is a testament to their work. But like the Russian thistle (tumble weed) it can now be found in the just about everywhere in the county and is moving from disturbed site such as road sides into fields and landscapes. It is a winter annual with a spiny yellow flowered head that reaches about 3 feet higher but under good growing condition can reach 4 feet. The spins are less than an 1.5 inches, which distinguishes it from its cousin yellow star-thistle. It reproduces by seed and can produce 1-60 seeds per flowering head. The leaves are withered usually by flowering time. This is a tricky weed though. It germinates in the fall, like the mustard, as soon as it has two true leaves it bolt and send up one flower that will have 1-5 seed in all less than 3 inches tall. So it is difficult to mow this flower off and it a guaranteed species survival for another year or more. There have been six biological control insects released for yellow star thistle. These insects feed on the seed thus reducing seed production. It is a wait and see if they can also help with Malta, so far as I know we don’t have any in the state yet. Chemical control if applied at the right time of year works well. The systemic herbicides clopyralid or picloram work well when applied between December and April in rangeland or roadside applications. These chemicals will kill trees and other desirable broad leaf plants. Once the flower is set, chemical application don’t do the job. In alfalfa fields the use of the mustard herbicides when there are mustard weed present may help. Clorpyralid and picloram will kill alfalfa and other perennial broad leaf plants like pecan trees, so you cannot use them. Sheep and goat like to graze this weed until it gets the spiny flower. It has no toxic effect but once the spine form they can lodge in the mouth and tong causing problems; however most animals will not try it. Cattle don’t seem to have any desire to feed upon it at any stage. This weed is almost imposable to control by mechanical methods. For homeowner in landscape situations all you can do is hoe of cut the tops off catching the seed head and disposing them in a dumpster, but as described earlier there are those survival seeds that are produced without much notice. Because of flooding in the past there is a lot of seed in the fields and if you do not spry for mustard it will get worse. The seed will not germinate until late fall. You can control the mustard and this weed too hopefully with good applications. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

Friday, January 6, 2017

EPA Releases Final Analysis of Metals Released from Gold King Mine in the Animas and San Juan Rivers

EPA Releases Final Analysis of Metals Released from Gold King Mine in the Animas and San Juan Rivers WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the final fate and transport report for the Gold King Mine (GKM) release. The report focuses on understanding pre-existing river conditions, the movement of metals related to the GKM release through the river system, and the effects of the GKM release on water quality. The research supports EPA’s earlier statements that water quality in the affected river system returned to the levels that existed prior to the GKM release and contamination of metals from the release have moved through the river system to Lake Powell. "This report is a comprehensive analysis of the effects on water quality from the Gold King Mine release," said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA's Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. “While data indicate that water quality has returned to pre-event conditions, EPA is committed to continue our work with States and Tribes in the river system affected by the Gold King Mine release to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.” The area affected by the Gold King Mine release consists of complex river systems influenced by decades of historic acid mine drainage. The report shows the total amount of metals, dominated by iron and aluminum, entering the Animas River following the release --- which lasted about nine hours on August 5, 2015 --was comparable to four to seven days of ongoing GKM acid mine drainage or the average amount of metals carried by the river in one to two days of high spring runoff. However, the concentrations of some metals in the GKM plume were higher than historical mine drainage. As the yellow plume of metal-laden water traveled downstream after the release, the metal concentrations within the plume decreased as they were diluted by river water and as some of the metals settled to the river bed. There were no reported fish kills in the affected rivers, and post-release surveys by multiple organizations have found that other aquatic life does not appear to have suffered harmful short-term effects from the GKM plume. The concentrations of metals in well-water samples collected after the plume passed did not exceed federal drinking water standards. No public water system using Lake Powell as a source of drinking water has reported an exceedance of metals standards since the release. Some metals from the GKM release contributed to exceedances of state and tribal water quality criteria at various times for nine months after the release in some locations. Metals from the GKM release may have contributed to some water quality criteria exceedances during the spring 2016 snow melt. Other exceedances may reflect longstanding contributions of metals from historic mining activities in the region and natural levels of metals in soils and rocks in the area. EPA will continue to work with states and tribes to interpret and respond to these findings. Results from this analysis will inform future federal, state and tribal decisions on water and sediment monitoring. EPA will continue to work with states and tribes to ensure the protection of public health and the environment in the river system affected by the Gold King Mine release. Read the final report, “Analysis of the Transport and Fate of Metals Released From the Gold King Mine in the Animas and San Juan Rivers”: Read the report’s executive summary: More information on the Fate and Transport analysis: More information on the 2015 Gold King Mine incident: R005