On Sunday, July 21, conservation district officials and employees gathered for the start of the 2019 NACD South Central Region meeting in Thackerville, Okla. The three-day meeting was hosted by the Oklahoma Conservation Partnership and the
Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts
On Monday, July 22,
NACD President Tim Palmer
(pictured) delivered opening remarks, addressing meeting attendees with a message of encouragement for the work that conservation districts are doing across the region. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Associate Chief Kevin Norton
gave updates on NRCS programs and funding.
Following Norton’s message, staff from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Water Quality Division presented the initial results of the Oklahoma National Water Quality Initiative pilot study and EPA 319 project. The morning session closed with representatives from the Chickasaw, Cheyenne and Arapaho, and Choctaw Nations, who gave updates on several tribal natural resource management projects.
The afternoon conservation field trips featured a hands-on demonstration of a growing season prescribed burn, a tour of a recently rehabilitated upstream flood control structure, and an in-depth experience with the field crews and volunteers who conduct water quality sampling across the host state.
The sessions held Tuesday, July 23 include several pollinator-focused projects, soil health initiatives and a discussion on introducing methods for saving the soil while adding profits to production agriculture operations.
At the close of the meeting, NACD will host a
focusing on collecting feedback on our programs, as well as guidance on how we can help further the mission of conservation districts across the nation.
WLA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOI ASSISTANT SECRETARY TO SPEAK AT
The Western Landowners Alliance's (WLA) Executive Director
will address meeting attendees during the NACD Summer Conservation Forum and Tour luncheon on
Monday, Aug. 5
, in Santa Fe, N.M.
Allison is a founding member of both the Western Landowners Alliance and Chama Peak Land Alliance. Through both organizations, Allison has worked with private landowners and multiple stakeholders to advance conservation, sustain working lands and support rural communities.
Meeting attendees will also hear from Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals
Joe Balash during Monday's Conservation Forum.
Balash is an Alaska native with more than 19 years of experience in land and natural resource management. As Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Balash oversees DOI federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Previously, he served as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
Visit NACD's summer meeting
to learn more about meeting details. Meeting registration is
and on-site registration will begin
Friday, Aug. 2, at 3:00 p.m
2019 NCF-ENVIROTHON COMPETITION
The 2019 National Conservation Foundation (NCF)-Envirothon competition kicks off on Sunday, July 28, in Raleigh, N.C. The international event, held this year at the North Carolina State University campus, brings together high school teams from the United States, Canada and China for the interactive environmental and natural resources competition.
Teams consisting of five high school students will demonstrate their knowledge across the topics of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, wildlife, forestry and the current issue, “Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and Technology to Feed the World.”
Throughout their week in North Carolina, the students will learn from conservation, natural resources and environmental professionals about the region’s natural resources. The student teams undergo written tests, visit interactive testing stations in the field, and prepare an oral presentation. Winning teams will be named on Friday evening during the competition’s awards banquet.
“The NCF-Envirothon provides students with an opportunity to learn about and engage with the world around them,”
NCF Chair Steve Robinson said. “We’re proud of all the teams who have competed in state and province competitions, as well as those who have gathered for the international competition. It’s inspiring to see their dedication and to know the future of conservation is in good hands.”
The 2019 NCF-Envirothon competition would not be possible without the support of its sponsors. Day sponsors include
Smithfield Foods, Inc. and the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Event sponsors include the North Carolina Farm Bureau; Weyerhaeuser; Wrangler; Soil and Water Conservation Society, Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter; Sustainable Forestry Initiative/Project Learning Tree; North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and the Resource Institute. Program sponsors include the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the North Carolina State University Department of Crop and Soil Sciences; United Soybean Board; North Carolina Soybean Producers Association; North Carolina State Extension; and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Additional sponsors include Idaho Envirothon, Soil Health Institute and the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA).
Learn more about the NCF-Envirothon at
and stay tuned to eResource to learn about the winning teams.
GATHERS IN IOWA FOR BOARD MEETING
Last week, the National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA) board of directors met in Des Moines, Iowa, for their mid-year board meeting.
NACD President Tim Palmer provided updates on NACD and led discussions on several partnership topics. He also briefed the board on upcoming NACD events, including the summer meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., and the annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nev.
Other partners meeting with the board included NASCA Executive Director
Mike Brown and NRCS Iowa State Conservationist
Kurt Simon. Discussions with all partners included next steps with the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) effort and ways to strengthen the conservation delivery system.
NACD Development Director
Laura Demmel provided board members with updates on the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI).
NCDEA board members attended two soil and water conservation district (SWCD) board meetings and visited with staff in five conservation districts prior to the three-day meeting. All five of the visits were productive in learning about how to be more effective in helping improve professionalism and customer service.
Rhonda Kelsch chaired the meetings and guided the board through a number of processes and exercises including a review of the current strategic plan, work on deliverables, review of by-laws, a discussion on enlisting the involvement of state chapters of district employees, and developing ways to generate involvement using the new NCDEA website.
For a complete listing of the NCDEA board and other resources, visit
IERCD, HAF CELEBRATES LATINO CONSERVATION WEEK
With almost 40 percent of California’s population comprising of Hispanic and Latino individuals, the
Inland Empire Resource Conservation District
(IERCD) often partners with local community organizations to conduct outreach to these underserved communities.
In April, IERCD partnered with the
Hispanic Access Foundation
to conduct a nature hike. Due to the success of that activity, the two organizations partnered to celebrate
Latino Conservation Week
(LCW), celebrated this year from July 13-21. Founded by HAF, LCW provides an opportunity for Latinos to come together and demonstrate their passion for the outdoors.
For the past five years, HAF has hosted LCW events across the country to encourage and support the Latino community participating in natural resource protection.
Led by HAF’s
and IERCD Education Coordinator
Jasmine Orozco Clark
, the two organizations planned the
(Stroll in the Meadow) at Prado Regional Park in Chino, Calif., on Thursday, July 18. The location was selected by San Bernardino County Fourth District
Curt Hagman to showcase the park and obtain public input on useful park additions to be made in the future.
Over 50 people attended the event, where participants learned about various conservation topics through hands-on activities, such as dissecting an owl pellet.
Seven stations included topics related to water quality, composting, sustainable agriculture, and the ecology of the area (including plants, insects and birds). Several partners also helped lead and organize the stations, including California State University of San Bernardino, University of California Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County Master Gardeners, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the American Bird Conservancy and the San Bernardino County Regional Parks staff.
After participants visited each of the stations, IERCD Field Ecologist
and American Bird Conservancy Biologist
led a small group on a nature walk to apply the information they had learned that morning.
“Working with the Hispanic Access Foundation was such a wonderful experience,”
said Orozco Clark
KING CD HIRES STAFF TO ADDRESS LOCAL WILDFIRE CONCERNS
King Conservation District (KCD) in Renton, Wash., has long worked with landowners on forest stewardship planning. Recently, within the past three years, KCD has expanded its work to cover wildfire resiliency and preparedness.
When word spread that KCD covered wildfire resiliency and preparedness, many landowners began requesting the district's services. The increase in public interest led to contacts with homeowners’ associations and other small communities who had wildfire concerns and green space that the members were responsible for.
“There were no resources for [these small communities] beyond having to hire a contractor,” KCD Program Manager for Urban and Rural Forest Stewardship
Mike Lasecki said. "So, we saw the most impact on the ground with working with those communities. We identified this need in the local county to provide this service at the community scale.”
The expansion in services also required increasing staff capacity.
Matt Axe joined KCD in June as the full-time wildfire and forest resiliency coordinator assigned to conduct community wildfire risk assessments, as well as meet with individual landowners and small community forest landowners for stewardship planning.
“He hit the ground running,”
Lasecki said. “Right now, seasonally, the wildfire resiliency and preparedness is taking up most of his time, but he’s also working on a stewardship plan for a community we had been in contact with prior to his starting.”
Axe will be working with communities to implement wildfire risk reduction projects, which could be as simple as clearing out dead brush, understory or stacks of downed tree limbs.
Axe has also conducted presentations to communities, which is the first step when KCD identifies or hears of a community wanting a risk assessment and/or forest stewardship planning.
The district travels to the community, provides information, listens to their concerns, addresses questions, and works in partnership with local, county and state officials like the Washington Department of Natural Resources, local first responders and the fire district and the county’s forestry program.
“We meet people where they’re at,”
Lasecki said. “One of the benefits of us being able to come out is we know you’re going to keep that tree, so here’s what you need to do in order to do so, and still reduce the risk. We’re here to help.”
KCD is also working on cost-share initiatives for individuals and communities, assisting in planning chipper days and/or other events where the landowners and contractor would benefit in combining the services needed into a multiple-property effort.
“[Axe] has given us that single point-of-contact for our landowners and communities. So far, it’s been a great success,”
This Thursday, July 25, NACD will celebrate its 73rd anniversary.
In response to the devastation of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recommended the Standard State Soil Conservation Districts Act be signed into law by all state governors, which gave states a step-by-step guide to create conservation districts and listing their powers and responsibilities. Conservation districts grew stronger during the 1940s, where in January 1946, district representatives met in Washington, D.C., and agreed that they needed to band together in order to speak with one, unified voice.
On July 25, 1946 at the Statler Hotel in Chicago, 18 representatives from 17 states created the National Association of Soil Conservation District Governing Officials.
73 years later, conservation districts have a more powerful national voice than ever. NACD represents nearly 3,000 districts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
To learn more about NACD's history and founding members, visit
NACD Southeast Region Meeting and
Registration is open for the 2019 Southeast Region meeting! This year's meeting will take place in
Gatlinburg, Tenn., from
Aug. 11-13, 2019.
The meeting will celebrate the theme "
Conservation – Gateway to Our Future"
and will include tours, the 2019 Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame Luncheon, a showing and discussion of the film “Hidden Rivers” and more.
This year, NACD will also host a
for the Southeast Region on
Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at 1:00 p.m.
The listening session will give members the opportunity to provide feedback on our programs and ways we can improve our value as a national association. Lunch will begin at 12:30 p.m. prior to the listening session. Please visit
Pennyslvania Districts Gather For
Joint Annual Meeting
Last week, NACD’s Northeast Region Representative
Eric Hansen joined the
Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) and the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission (SCC) for their Joint Annual Meeting.
At the meeting, Hansen presented on conservation program changes in the 2018 Farm Bill along with NRCS State Conservationist
Denise Coleman. Hansen also gave a keynote address at the district director breakfast, providing an overview of NACD’s programs and grant opportunities.
At the meeting, PACD also elected a new slate of officers (pictured above from left to right:
Lancaster County Conservation District
Westmoreland Conservation District
Beaver County Conservation District
Pike County Conservation District
Cambria County Conservation District
NACD, Arizona Districts Gather for AACD Summer Meeting
From July 9-11, 2019, conservation leaders from across the state of Arizona gathered in Flagstaff for the 2019
Arizona Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) summer meeting.
Meeting attendees heard from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Chief Matt Lohr, as well as state legislators
Gail Griffin and
Timothy Dunn. The group was also addressed by representatives from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service, the Arizona Department of Agriculture and other natural resources professionals.
NACD President Tim Palmer (pictured, left)
spoke about the national association’s work to boost technical assistance in the state, as well as its advocacy work on Western natural resources policies.
Presentations on July 10 included overviews of the conservation delivery model, district success stories and conservation funding opportunities. On the final day of the meeting, NACD Southwest Region Representative
Jeff Burwell addressed meeting attendees.
Check out NACD's
August Recess Guide
Each August, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate head back to their districts and states to meet with constituents.
August represents a unique opportunity to educate Members of Congress on what conservation districts do in their communities and show why support for conservation programs at the federal level is so important.
NACD's guide provides aspects of a successful meeting to consider during planning, as well as strategies for how to reach out to your elected representative. Please let
know when you schedule a meeting or event.
California Districts Seeks District Manager
Placer Resource Conservation District (PCRCD) is seeking a district manager to be based in Auburn, Calif.
The district manager is responsible for managing and directing internal business operations of the district, and for leading the implementation of PCRCD's strategic plan.
Read the full job description
or visit PCRCD's employment
. Completed applications must be submitted to
Download The New Soil Web 2.0 App
In partnership with the University of California at Davis Soil Resource Laboratory, NRCS recently announced the release of the iOS and Android SoilWeb app, version 2.0.
The newly updated app has a cleaner and more modern interface with GPS-location-based links to access detailed digital soil survey data (SSURGO) published by NRCS.
With the largest data in the world, the app gives access to valuable scientific data right at your fingertips and on the go.
BLM Offers Free
Wild Horse Off-Range Pasture Tour
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host two free two-hour public tours of a wild horse off-range pasture near Sulphur, Okla., on Saturday,
Aug. 24, 2019.
The purpose of the tour will be to allow public access to the private facility and for participants to learn more about BLM’s wild horse and burro management responsibilities. Attendees will have the opportunity to view more than 1,600 mares roaming on approximately 9,700 acres of grassland in central Oklahoma.
Space is limited so register today! To make a reservation, call 866-468-7826 or e-mail
. The deadline to register is Aug. 22, 2019.
Promote your conservation district or state association's tree sale, annual meeting, webinar, field day or more on NACD's
Calendar of Events