On Aug. 11-13, conservation district officials, employees and partners from 10 southeast states and territories gathered in Gatlinburg, Tenn., for the 2019 NACD Southeast Region Meeting. The three-day meeting was hosted by the
Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD).
On Sunday, Aug. 11, NACD Southeast Region board members met after a morning service. A partnership roundtable followed, led by NACD Southeast Region Chair
and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Tennessee,
That evening, meeting participants networked and enjoyed a cookout and music from the band
followed by a private viewing of the film
Hidden Rivers of the Southern Appalachians
with comments from director
On Monday, Aug. 12, NACD Board Member
Ray Weaver welcomed participants to Tennessee. That morning, conservationist and author
David Ramsey spoke about the successful efforts of a diverse group of local citizens to preserve the important Rocky Fork watershed area in eastern Tennessee. Afterwards, TACD President
Jim Bledsoe addressed participants and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture
Dr. Charlie Hatcher provided a keynote address. Later, at a celebratory luncheon, participants recognized the accomplishments of 10 individuals who were inducted into the Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame. After the luncheon, NRCS Deputy Chief for Programs
Jimmy Bramblett spoke about the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill and the Conservation Assessment & Ranking Tool (CART) and
Mike Hubbs spoke about TACD’s soil health initiative.
The general session on Tuesday, Aug. 13, opened with an update from
Ian Cunningham. NRCS Regional Conservationist for the Southeast
James Tillman shared information about the Workload Cycle Time Study. Tennessee State Forester and Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture,
David Arnold talked to participants about the 2016 Sevier wildfires and efforts by local communities to gain and maintain Firewise USA
Shelby Lyn Sanders shared the Foothills Land Conservancy’s efforts to preserve land in Tennessee. NACD Southeast Region Executive Board Member
Gary Blair provided closing remarks.
The meeting continued in the afternoon with three different tours. One tour focused on forest management and forest fire recovery, another on land preservation and outdoor learning areas with the
Blount County Soil Conservation District, and another on the history of Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The NACD Southeast Region Meeting wrapped up with a banquet and auction benefiting the
Southeast Conservation District Employees Association accompanied by entertainer
David Browning: The Mayberry Deputy.
NCPP NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR HUGH HAMMOND BENNETT AWARD
In 2020, the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence will honor an outstanding producer and an outstanding conservation planner for their dedication to conservation planning and implementation.
To make a nomination, notify your respective NCPP State partner leader.
If you have questions, please contact NCPP Coordinator
Nominations for NACD's annual service awards close next week! NACD is still accepting nominees for its annual awards program that recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and leadership in soil and water conservation.
To learn more about the awards and submit your nomination, visit
NACD's Awards webpage
GRANT SWCD AND PARTNERS HELPING TO RESTORE NEW MEXICO
As a single-person, part-time office, the
Grant Soil and Water Conservation District
(SWCD) has its work cut out when it comes to implementing on-the-ground projects, so the SWCD is partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to undertake forest restoration in New Mexico.
The timing couldn’t be better, as New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, which is located in part in Grant County and near the Grant SWCD headquarters in Silver City, has been focusing on restoration efforts to reduce high fuel loads, especially near communities and neighborhoods adjacent to the forest.
“We don’t have funding where we can hire a forester or a technician, so it’s really important we partner with these outside agencies to help us conduct these projects,” Grant SWCD Project Manager
Rebecca Benavidez said
“The fires can spread quickly and rapidly, so any time we can do fuels reduction projects it helps the watershed and helps prevent catastrophic fires,”
. “We struggle to find funding, so these grants are really important to us.”
Grant SWCD was awarded a $315,000 Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) grant from the USFS, which also required a 25 percent or $80,000 non-federal match. The grant aims to build collaboration and provide treatment to 237 acres of ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper on the wilderness district of Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico.
The project takes place in Gattons Park’s wildland-urban interface along the edge of a residential area. Objectives include reducing fire risk, harvesting and utilizing small-diameter wood, restoring forest structure, and improving wildlife habitat. Now in its second year, 116 acres have been treated to date, Benavidez said.
“I’m thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” USFS Gila National Forest Partnership Coordinator
Julia Faith Rivera said
. “We’re getting quality work done on the ground and building stronger relationships, not just for this project but for future collaboration efforts as well.”
TNC initially applied for and received a CFRP grant for planning the project. In 2018, the Grant SWCD was awarded the implementation grant. TNC assisted with completion of the archaeological and environmental analysis in the first CFRP grant and currently continues the project monitoring component in the second CFRP.
“The other piece is just trying to facilitate collaboration around implementation on public and private land restoration,” TNC Gila Program Manager
Martha Cooper said
. “It’s been entirely positive. Certainly, the folks who have come out to see the project have been really interested and encouraged by what it looks like.”
“The tree density has been reduced by nearly a half, and we’re seeing a lot more small openings and breaks in the canopy,”
. “The Forest Service has been happy to get the support from the Grant SWCD and having the work on the ground, and the contractors have done a great job.”
The two contractors for the project have not been involved in forest restoration previously, Rivera said, so helping them and being able to have flexibility through the CFRP grant enables cost savings and more connections throughout the community.
With Forest Service guidance, the contractors have been able to remove timber to an area where it can be chipped, and residential landowners have come and taken the mulch for their own use, saving hauling costs and benefiting the nearby community. In some areas, contractors have created piles with the smaller logs and slash and local fire districts have come in and performed prescribed burns to reduce the load.
Southeast Region Honors Leaders
On Monday, Aug. 12, the Southeast Region inducted 10 new leaders into the Southeast Region Hall of Fame during the 2019 Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame Luncheon. The Southeast Region Hall of Fame recognizes individuals from the nine-state, two-territory region who have had a significant impact or influence on conservation practices and partnerships. Each state and territory may nominate one individual for the award each year.
The 2019 inductees are:
Russell Gray Houston
North Carolina –
South Carolina –
Puerto Rico –
Héctor Iván Aponte Santiago
(accepted by Joel Vega on the inductee’s behalf)
Danny D. Sells
Iowa LICA Seeks Executive Director
The Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association (LICA) is seeking an executive director to be based full-time in St. Olaf, Iowa.
The executive director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for Iowa LICA's members, programs, expansion and execution of its mission.
Reserve Your Spot:
2019 Joint NWC/NASCA Conference
Registration is still open to attend the National Watershed Coalition (NWC)/National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) Joint Conservation Conference from
Oct. 2, in Lexington, Ky.
The conference will include speakers and presenters who will share information on federal, state and local funding; multiple stream funding strategies and management; applied technology for watershed inspection; new benefits data models and management; and the latest from NRCS concerning its current efforts to envision and revitalize the Watershed Program going forward.
Apply Today: NCF-NGLI Accepting Applications
NGLI, a program of the NCF, will train seven applicants over the course of 2020, with one participant selected from each of NACD's regions.
During the year-long NGLI program, currently-appointed conservation district officials will be equipped for leadership at the local, state and national level through several in-person trainings focused on personal, civic and organizational leadership development.
Applications are due
Friday, Sept. 20, 2019
. To learn more about the program and apply, visit the
Save the Date: New Field to Market Accelerator Program Webinar
On Thursday, Aug. 15, Field to Market announced the launch of its new project framework called the
Continuous Improvement Accelerator.
The Accelerator is designed to harness the power of collaboration across the agricultural value chain to implement locally-led conservation solutions and deliver sustainable outcomes through member-led continuous improvement projects.
Registration is now open
for the three new project pathways within the Accelerator: Incubation, Insight and Innovation, which you can learn more about
Field to Market will host a webinar on
Wednesday, Sept. 4
, to provide a more detailed overview of the new Accelerator program, the specific registration and reporting requirements, and how your organization can maximize participation in the three project pathways.
Sign up for the webinar here
NACD Welcomes Friend Angela Ehlers
NACD would like to welcome our new Friend of NACD,
(pictured far left).
Ehlers is the Executive Director for the
South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts (SDACD).
Friends of NACD are individuals who are committed to the conservation of America’s natural resources. Show your appreciation for our nation’s 3,000 conservation districts by becoming a Friend of NACD. Learn more on
Promote your conservation district or state association's tree sale, annual meeting, webinar, field day or more on NACD's
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