Monthly Archives: June 2011

IASCD Comments on US Fish and Wildlife’s Partners Strategic Plan

The IASCD Board of Directors sent a letter to US Fish and Wildlife commenting on their revised Partners Program Strategic Plan. This plan will direct program operations in Idaho for the next five years from 2012 to 2017. The revised Strategic Plan will include modifications to their current geographic focus areas in Idaho, provide estimated annual project accomplishment targets, and describe anticipated conservation benefits to fish, wildlife, and plant species.

While some of their plan included soil and water conservation districts, many of the plans failed to mention the local soil and water conservation district. The Federal Land Policy Management Act requires US Fish and Wildlife Services to coordinate planning and implementation activities with state and local governments. Since Idaho state law identified the soil and water conservation districts as the primary entities in conservation, the IASCD Board of Directors felt Fish and Wildlife needed to follow federal law and coordinate any plans with the local SWCD’s.

Federal agencies not only need to be aware of local plans, but they also must consider those local plans as relevant to the issues during the planning process. For example, if an agency is developing a management plan for wilderness areas, and a local district has a plan that relates to the use of the area, the federal agency must consider the local position.

You can learn more about Fish and Wildlife’s plan by going to this website: http://www.fws.gov/idaho/Partners.html

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IASCD Urges Senators To Oppose Cuts to Conservation Programs

The IASCD Board of Directors sent a letter to Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) asking they oppose cuts to federal conservation programs. Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives passed HR 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill cut funding for Conservation Technical Assistance by nearly $100 million, and cut mandatory farm bill conservation funding by $1 billion.

You can read the letter by clicking here.

We encourage you to contact our Senators and let them know your thoughts on the importance of conservation programs.

Click here to email Senator Crapo, or call his Washington, DC office: 202-224-6142

Click here to email Senator Risch, or call his Washington, DC office: 202-224-2752

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2011 Forestry Contest Results and Newsletter

The Bonner Soil and Water Conservation District recently distributed the 2011 Forestry Contest newsletter, which included the winning teams, photographs and thank yous to all the donors and volunteers.

Over 320 contestants participated in the contest which was held at the Delay Farm. In the Senior Division, the first place team was the Post Falls High School Team #1. The team members were Adam Sedgwick, Andrew Sedgeick, John Erickson, and Jared Erickson. Post Falls Middle School Team #2 took first place in the Junior Division. Esther Erickson, Jessica Taggart, Christina Sedgwick and Meghan Mcleod were the winning team members. Finally, Sagle Elementary Team #9 took first place in the Rookie Division. This team was made up of Cat O’Neal, Reilly Wolfe, Kenz Wolfe, and Jet Murdock.

Adam Sedgwick, Post Falls High School, was the Top Individual Scorer in the Senior Division in 2011 with an excellent score of 520. Adam received the David Ritz Memorial Plaque and a cash prize – for the 2nd year in a row! The Bonner Districts wants to thank Ruth McDivitt and the Ritz Family for their continued support of the Contest and for sponsoring this special award.

Esther Erickson, Post Falls Middle School, is the recipient of the Larry Fryberg Memorial Award, given for the Top Individual Scorer in the Junior Division. This Award is only in its 2nd year, started last year by Judy Fryberg in memory of her late husband Larry, a former Area Supervisor with the Idaho Department of Lands. Esther earned a score of 459.

Michael Morris from Coeur d’Alene’s Borah Elementary is the Top Rookie Individual Scorer– the first year for this award!

Next year, the Forestry Contest will celebrate it’s 30th anniversary.  Here’s to the first thirty years, and thirty more!

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White House Establishes the First White House Rural Council

Last week, the White House announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. President Obama created the Council by signing an Executive Order.

The Council will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, promoting innovation, expanding digital and physical networks, and celebrating opportunity through America’s natural resources. One of the key factors that will be discussed is expanding opportunities for conservation, outdoor opportunities and economic growth on working lands and public lands.

IASCD will monitor the happenings of the Rural Council, and let districts know of any new opportunities that may arise.

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The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission Has Two Water Quality Resource Conservationist Openings.

The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission posted two job openings yesterday. ISWCC is seeking two qualified Water Quality Resource Conservationists. One position will be located in Arco, Idaho and the other will be located in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Some of the responsibilities include providing technical assistance in water quality plan development and implementation for Soil Conservation Districts and serving as the primary point of contact and liaison between area Soil Conservation Districts and the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The ideal candidate will also have program responsibilities including program promotion, on-farm planning and implementation of best management practices, contract development and administration, and program effectiveness reporting.

To view the full job posting, or to apply, please click here.

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IASCD Opposes Cuts to Conservation in FY ’12 Ag Approps Bill

Today, the IASCD Board of Directors sent a letter to Idaho Congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson asking they oppose cuts to HR 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. Currently, the bill reduces spending by $2.7 billion, and reductions include drastic cuts to conservation programs.

We encourage you to contact Congressmen Labrador and Simpson, and ask they oppose cuts to conservation programs in HR 2112. This bill will be up for debate this week!

Congressman Labrador: 202-225-6611

Congressman Simpson: 202-225-5531

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Federal Legislative Roundup: June 12-17

The US House of Representatives will reconvene on Monday, June 12th at 2pm EDT after their week-long district work period. The House Committee on Agriculture is not holding any hearings next week. The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a variety of legislative mark-ups, but none of the legislation has impacts on conservation in Idaho. The House should wrap up their work week on June 16th, and be back in their respective districts June 17th to June 20th.

The US Senate will start their week on June 13th at 2pm EDT. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is not holding any hearings, but the Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing titled “The Clean Air Act and Public Health.” This hearing takes place on Wednesday, June 15th at 10:00am EDT. The first witness panel will be EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The second witness panel includes Ms. Sarah Bucic with the American Nurses Association, Dr. Jerome A. Paulson with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Harvey Brenner, Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of North Texas, Ms. Cathy Woollums, Senior Vice President and Chief Environmental Counsel for the MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, and Dr. Alfred Munzer, Pulmonary and Critical Care at the Washington Adventist Hospital.

Finally, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is contributing $3.4 million for on-the-ground projects in Idaho recommended by the Clearwater Basin Collaborative. You can read Senator Crapo’s press release by clicking here.

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