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Improving Livestock Watering Systems in Oconee, South Carolina

By Katrina Stacey

Thanks to a 2018 NACD Technical Assistance Grant, the Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has been able to address a backlog of Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) requests and contracts in South Carolina.

“It helped us get some engineering designs completed, so that we could get those out the door and to our participants,” said Jason Davis, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technician. Most of the designs completed were for livestock watering systems, which included drilling wells and/or installing culverts or stream crossings.

With the grant, the SWCD brought in contractors to provide this technical assistance. One of these contractors stayed in the office to help NRCS with filing and paperwork. “This contractor really helped take some things off Jason’s plate,” said Eddie Martin, SWCD district manager. The district also contracted out engineers to do EQIP design work.

The boost in technical assistance has allowed the district and NRCS to help a lot of folks in their area. One example is the large project that was completed for Richard Marcengill, a cattle farmer who needed assistance implementing practices that would allow him to move away from watering cattle in the creek and wetland on his property. With the help of the SWCD and NRCS, Marcengill was able to install six watering troughs and fence his cattle out, providing a cleaner water source on 135 acres.

Marcengill is very happy with the project outcome. “Because of this project, Richard was able to increase his herd size,” Davis said. “He continues to increase his herd size, and now we have another EQIP contract with him to restore and rehabilitate the watershed on his property.”

“When we were able to get their contracts completed, these guys were very happy, because some of them had been sitting for maybe a year or two,” Martin said. “The program has been extremely successful on the ground level in a way that we can get out and help people start thinking about the wise use of natural resources.”

To learn more about NACD’s Technical Assistance grants or to read other TA success stories, visit the NACD Technical Assistance Grants webpage.

Tags: Technical Assistance, 2018 Technical Assistance Grants

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