Woodbridge’s Animal Science program, Town of Greenwood honored

SUSSEX COUNTY – Woodbridge School District’s Animal Science program and the Town of Greenwood are among the recipients of the annual Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Awards.

The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village was the setting April 22 for the Stewardship Week proclamation presentation.

Governor Jack Markell, along with DNREC Secretary David Small, led a ceremony with Delaware Association of Conservation Districts President Robert Emerson recognizing this year’s honorees and signed a proclamation officially designating April 26 through May 3 as Soil and Water Stewardship Week in Delaware under the theme, “Local Heroes: Your Hardworking Pollinators.”

“Our honorees have demonstrated their continuing commitment to environmental improvement, and on behalf of the people of Delaware, I would like to thank each of them for their dedication and for their time, effort, and investment to implement model conservation practices,” said Governor Markell. “I also want to thank all of the Conservation District supervisors and employees for the many and various contributions they make to improve the quality of life in Delaware.”

Woodbridge School District Animal Science Program (Agricultural)

The Woodbridge School District’s Agriculture/Future Farmers of America (FFA) Animal Science Program and program head Karen Breeding, have excelled at practicing soil and water stewardship everyday by combining the education of students with conservation of land and water resources. The school district’s agriculture program has participated in Sussex Conservation District’s (SCD) programs for several years, and in 2014, Woodbridge completed numerous conservation practices in a three-year nutrient management plan on their farm next to the new high school just north of Bridgeville. Ms. Breeding and her FFA students manage the 15-acre pasture caring for five beef cows, one sow and litter, three sheep, and a small flock of chickens.

The Woodbridge School District farm has a host of best management practices to help improve water quality on and around the farm, including an animal waste structure and concrete heavy-use area protection pads for the manure shed and feeding area. Roof runoff management gutters were installed on the barn to divert clean water away from the feed lots to an existing storm drain and to a vegetated area outside the pasture near one of three rain gardens constructed on the farm. Gutters also were placed on the manure shed, diverting clean water to one of the other rain gardens. A pollinator meadow was planted to provide habitat, and a field windbreak was planted.

The Woodbridge Farm Project was a true partnership, with the SCD facilitating funding for the district’s best management practices. Woodbridge School District was the first recipient of SCD’s Cost-Share – Special Projects – Outreach and Education Component, which was created for the development of projects that promote conservation and other best management practices for primary use in educational or public outreach purposes. Other funding for the project came from SCD’s Conservation Cost-Share fund, DNREC’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program grant funding, DNREC’s Watershed Assessment Program’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Grant, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Program, with NRCS providing technical assistance for most of the practices. SCD’s equipment program installed rain gardens and planted the pollinators utilizing the school district’s no-till drill.

Town of Greenwood (Urban)

The Cart Branch tax ditch, part of which runs through Greenwood Town Park and an industrial area, conveys runoff to the Nanticoke River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. The project became a priority when areas of erosion along the tax ditch jeopardized utility poles, a railroad bed and a culvert crossing under the railroad bed.

DNREC’s Drainage Section designed a drainage/water quality project that uses open space in the neighboring town park and industrial area for floodplain creation. Historically, the town has experienced flooding, and widening the tax ditch into a floodplain mitigated some of these impacts. The project also used native plantings along the floodplain for improved water quality.

The Sussex Conservation District (SCD) implemented the project in May and June 2014. The project is a good example of partnership between the Town of Greenwood, DNREC and SCD to address a drainage and erosion problem, as well as improving water quality benefits within the watershed.

The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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