Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation (SPARC)
OCSCD was awarded a technical assistance grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) for the third year. This is the fifth year of the NACD technical assistance grant program, which was created with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help increase staffing at the field level and provide conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the U.S.
Ocean County Soil Conservation District’s Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation (SPARC) project will continue to build District capacity through two pathways that will occur simultaneously. District staff, including Christine Raabe, District Director, and Kristin Adams, Erosion Control Specialist, along with a broad-based Advisory Committee Partnership will connect with local shellfish farmers, primarily within Barnegat and Great Bays, to gain a better understanding of their specific natural resource concerns.
Ms. Adams has achieved NRCS Apprentice Conservation Planner certification and is now working towards NRCS Certified Conservation Planner status. The District will provide a boots-on-the-ground, local connection between NRCS and the shellfish producers, to further develop the conservation practices of the NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative, while increasing funding opportunities for producer participation and involvement.
“Since 2018, NACD and NRCS have worked together to increase staffing at the field level for conservation districts,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “This increased technical capacity helps to improve conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the nation.”
A total of $15 million has been announced for 2022 awards through the NACD technical assistance grant program. Since the program’s inception, NACD has funded technical assistance in all 50 states and three U.S. territories.
“NACD is proud to provide funding to America’s conservation districts and allow for more boots on the ground, providing our growers with support for their individual landscapes and resource concerns,” Palmer said.
Visit NACD’s website to learn more about the grant program.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.
Aquaculture Conservation and Restoration Resources
RI Oyster Restoration/Covid-19 buyback program video – https://www.youtube.com/watch
RI Oyster Restoration/Covid-19 buyback program NRCS website article – https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps
SOAR: Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration – The Nature Conservancy Website Article – https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do
TNC is Helping Oyster Farmers Impacted by COVID-19 video – https://www.youtube.com/watch
Oyster buyback program revitalizes growers, rebuilds reefs: NJ Spotlight Article – https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/12/oysters
NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative – https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps
SPARC Project Updates
Stockton University’s New Mill Creek Oyster Restoration Reef
OCSCD continues to further our efforts on the Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resource Conservation grant project (SPARC). This past month District Erosion Control Specialist Kristin Adams joined Dr. Christine Thompson and Steve Evert from the Stockton University Marine Field Station as they witnessed the very first shell planting of Stockton University’s second oyster reef restoration site, the Mill Creek Reef.
Oyster Reef Restoration with Parsons Seafood, Tuckerton, NJ (Great Bay)
Ocean County Soil Conservation District’s Sustainable Practice’s for Aquaculture Resources Conservation project (SPARC) continues efforts to provide technical assistance to aquaculture farmers in the Barnegat Bay watershed to further develop the conservation practices of the NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative.
2020 SPARC Project – A Year in Review
(June, 2021) The main goal of SPARC was to initiate conservation planning and technical assistance training for New Jersey coastal bays that emphasizes the natural resource needs and concerns of regional shellfish aquaculture producers and to provide access to various opportunities. OCSCD used this grant as an initial and necessary first step in establishing a regional … Read more
OCSCD Awarded a Second Year of Funding
(May, 2021) The Ocean County Soil Conservation District was awarded a second year of funding through a technical assistance grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). This is the fourth year of the NACD technical assistance grant program, which was created with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation … Read more
Gathering data on the Tuckerton Reef, an oyster reef restoration site
OCSCD continues to further our efforts on the Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resource Conservation grant project (SPARC). This past month they gathered data on the Tuckerton Reef, an oyster reef restoration site.
Farmers from local aquaculture operations showcase oyster farming methods
Boots in the Water (September, 2020) Ocean County Soil Conservation District now has “boots in the water” working with local shellfish farmers to gain a better understanding of their specific natural resource concerns. OCSCD Erosion Control Specialist, Kristin Adams, recently visited two different aquaculture operations to learn more about oyster farming from industry professionals. Raceway … Read more