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South Dakota conservationist receives award


September 8, 2008
By Marg Land

September 8, 2008, Denver, CO –
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Janet
Oertly, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS), with an Environmental Achievement Award for superior
leadership in protecting water quality in South Dakota.

September 8, 2008, Denver, CO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Janet Oertly, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with an Environmental Achievement Award for superior leadership in protecting water quality in South Dakota.

Oertly’s efforts to assist livestock producers have led to the adoption of manure containment systems and nutrient management plans for feedlots across the state. Oertly was nominated by Steve Pirner, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"Janet Oertly has made protecting South Dakota's water resources a priority," said Judy Wong, EPA's acting regional administrator in Denver. “The collaborative approach she has taken with the state’s livestock producers have led to practices that are protecting water quality in lakes, rivers and streams.”

Oertly accepted the award on behalf of NRCS staff and the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC, convened by the state conservationist, consists of individuals representing commodity groups; private entities; tribal representatives; private individuals; and federal, state, and local governments. The STC meets quarterly and provides advice to the state conservationist on a variety of NRCS programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Under Oertly’s direction, the EQIP has provided funds to help producers voluntarily implement conservation projects to improve water quality for animal feeding operations. Over the past four years, funding has totaled more than $15 million for 164 conservation projects in South Dakota. These projects include waste storage facilities, diversions, sediment basins, composting facilities, and animal mortality facilities.

In addition to these efforts, NRCS staff has assisted large, permitted and non-permitted animal feeding operators with the development of phosphorous-based nutrient management plans and designed manure containment systems. The NRCS has also assisted in many efforts to educate livestock producers on additional ways to improve water quality.

Improving the management of runoff from animal feedlots has been an EPA priority for more than a decade.


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