Friday, December 18, 2015

USDA Soil Conservation Service

Elaine came across a Lincoln Sunday Journal and Star from August 29, 1954, that contained this picture of me. The David White Dumpy level was a key instrument in surveying the conservation practices that we “laid out” for farmers. I was serving as the “Instrument person” in this picture while another individual would carry a stadia board or Philadelphia Rod to points where elevations would be determined by readings with the instrument. If we were surveying the line of a terrace, the person with the Rod would be signaled up or down the slope until reaching the desired point on the hillside. My signal in the picture implies that it is at that desired point. Were it necessary to more the Rodman to a higher location, my signal would have been to raise one arm. The movement of the arm would be a clue as to the amount  of change that was needed. Likewise a “down sign” was with a downward arm movement. When it was necessary to move the instrument, I would put  one arm above my head and wave with a circular motion. It was a great job; we were not only helping to reduce soil loss but working out in the fresh air, and getting lot of exercise. The article tells of the formation of the Salt-Wahoo Watershed Association under the leadership of Journal Editor Raymond A. McConnell, Jr. and State Sen. Otto H. Liebers as co-Chairmen. The Association provided sponsorship for the Federal Pilot Watershed Program. That led to the PL-566 Watershed Program which was utilized throughout the State of Nebraska and across the Country. I served as the construction inspector on several of the contracts which eventually led to a job at the Agency Headquarters in Washington, D.C.   The structures built under that program are continuing to demonstrate their effectiveness. 

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