Monthly Archives: May 2012

IASCD’s Radio Interview Is Online!

Elemental Idaho has posted IASCD’s radio interview on their website, in case you were unable to listen to Kit and Bret earlier in the week.

If you click here, you’ll be taken to the summary of the interview. To listen to the interview, click the Play button just below the text, and above the YouTube advertisement.

The YouTube advertisement is NOT how you listen to the show!


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Monday on Elemental Idaho: Soil Conservation Districts–What Are They?

From the Idaho Council on Industry and the Environment’s eNews update…

Have you noticed the Valley SWCD sign on Hwy. 55 and wondered what that was? Join us on Monday (May 21) for a discussion with Kit Tillotson Division V Director of the Portneuf SWCD from Lava Hot Springs and Bret Rumbeck, Executive Director of the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts to learn more about this unique blend of federal, state and private land owners.

Idaho has 50 such districts to coordinate voluntary, local efforts to sustain and enhance Idaho’s natural resources.

Elemental Idaho is ICIE and Radio Boise’s environmental public policy program, airing Mondays at noon on Boise Community Radio, KRBX, 89.9 FM. If you’re not in the Boise area, you can stream the program live online at

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Lemhi SWCD 50th Anniversary

In our April/May eNewsletter, we featured a short article about the Lemhi Soil and Water Conservation District’s 50th anniversary. Here is the full article written by Jane Sandstrom, Treasurer for the Lemhi SWCD.

On May 22, 2012 the Lemhi SWCD will be celebrating 50 years of conservation in Eastern Idaho. It only took 6 months of meetings, hearings and a referendum in 4 communities; Salmon, Lemhi, Leadore and May before the Lemhi SWCD received their Certificate of Organization in 1962. In the first 4 months 28 ranchers & farmers signed up to be cooperators. This initial success has continued over the years as we work with landowners to preserve natural resources, while improving their agricultural operations.

The district encompasses about 2,749,000 acres with around 240,000 acres in private ownership. The population is around 8,000 making this a very rural area. Main industries include agriculture, mainly livestock operations, recreation, and some mining.

First projects of the Lemhi SWCD included soil surveys, developing conservation plans for landowners, land leveling and irrigation improvements and rock rip rapping on the Salmon, Lemhi and Salmon North Fork rivers. These basic steps resulted in better water management, erosion control, and improved agricultural production.

Developing and improving irrigation practices continued to be a focus in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s more emphasis was placed on the use of sprinklers to conserve both water and soil. In the 1980’s the district started to promote minimum tillage and gravity sprinklers to save energy and water along with use of new plant material for livestock forage.

The 1990’s brought a change with the listing of salmon as endangered and other fish as threatened, and recognizing the assistance we could provide to landowners to protect and improve a variety of natural resources. The 2000’s continued the focus on fish habitat now including larger designs with stream reconnects and fish passage improvements. We worked with many partners on these projects.

The 2010’s bring a new challenge: trying to keep local input and interests alive and relevant. Projects have become bigger and include both more landowners, partnering agencies, and organizations now involved with conservation and land stewardship.

Recent projects of the Lemhi SWCD include replacing culverts with fish friendly bridges, stream reconnects – that include improved irrigation systems for landowners – and fencing of riparian areas. Annual tours of projects, county fair participation, and educational programs over the years have provided outreach and education of local producers and youth. Lemhi SWCD’s current support of an ongoing study of grazing riparian areas strengthens our interest in an overall approach to projects for natural resource protection.

A few interesting highlights of the past include hosting a mink fashion show for the IASCD Auxiliary, which was sponsored by a then local mink farm, and participating in a proposal to add 7 new soil types to the National Soil Taxonomy classifications as a result of soil surveys in the surrounding counties. The LSWCD was also instrumental in forming the Lemhi Model Watershed office in 1992 (now the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program).

Who knows how priorities will change in the next 50 years, but the Lemhi SWCD will continue to be THE local organization that promotes, protects, and supports voluntary conservation by landowners of the natural resources found in our beautiful valley.

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April/May eNewsletter Has Been Posted

It’s a little late, but you can now read our April/May eNewsletter. We posted it this morning. Please click here to take a look!

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Gooding High School Envirothon Team Wins State Competition

BOISE, IDAHO – On Tuesday, May 8 2012, the Gooding High School Envirothon team won the 2012 Idaho Enviorthon.  In July, the team will travel to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania to compete in the Canon Envirothon Competition July 22 to 27, 2012.   The team is made up of team captain Emma Fredericksen, Zackery Kast, Francisco Garcia, Oran Agee, Amanda Richards and their advisers Becky and David Freiberg.  They were sponsored by the Wood River Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Envirothon is a hands-on, natural resource competition for high school students,” Kit Tillotson, President of the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts said.  “IASCD leverages our partnership to bring in environmental scientists and natural resource experts to teach young men and women the vital balance of conservation and land usage.  I want to thank all of our sponsors, and the soil and water conservation districts throughout Idaho for their continued support and donations.”

“These kids represent the new generation of environmental problem solvers, and competitions like this help sharpen their skills and steer them toward the career areas they are most interested in,” Becky Freiberg, advisor to the Gooding team said.  “The opportunity for these kids to compete and provide solutions to natural resource problems in Idaho helps them shape their own futures as well as contribute to a better future for all of us.  Thanks to Gooding High School, IASCD, the local soil conservation districts, and the Bureau of Land Management’s ‘Take it Outside Program’ for their support”

“This contest is all about learning how to provide for the needs of the people, while maintaining the integrity of the resources.  Contests such as Envirothon teach students how to implement environmental practices as a lifestyle instead of a trend,” Emma Fredricksen, team captain, said.

115 students participated in this year’s Envirothon, with each team being made up of five to six students, plus one advisor.  Also, nearly 30 volunteers and instructors donated their time to teach lessons, correct exams, and assist teams.  The top five finishers were: Gooding High School Team B, Gooding High School Team A, Mackay High School, Dennis Technical Education center Team A, and Kimberly High School.

Canon Envirothon is a not-for-profit organization established to coordinate the delivery of an environmental education program for high school students throughout North America.  The program consists of the annual Canon Envirothon Competition in which winning teams from participating states and Canadian provinces compete for recognition and scholarships by demonstrating their knowledge of environmental science and natural resource management.  The competition is centered on four universal testing categories: soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, and wildlife) and a current environmental issue.  This year’s issue is Nonpoint Source Pollution/Low Impact Development.

“The conservation districts in our state have a long history of working with their local schools to encourage participation in the state Envirothon program.  Without them, we would not have a successful Envirothon year after year,” Tillotson said.

IASCD wants to thank the following businesses for their financial contribution to this year’s state competition: the Bureau of Land Management, CHS Foundation, IASCD Auxiliary, Idaho Barley Commission, Idaho District Employees Association, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Idaho Grain Producers, Idaho Mining Association, Idaho Pea and Lentil Commission, Idaho Power Company, Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission, Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association, Lactalis American Group, National Wild Turkey Federation (Idaho Chapter), Natural Resources Conservation Service, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Thompson Creek Mining Company and the United Dairymen of Idaho.

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Ten Idaho High Schools To Compete In State Envirothon Competition

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                      CONTACT:

May 1, 2012                                                                                             Bret Rumbeck

Ten Idaho High Schools To Compete In State Envirothon Competition
Winning Team Will Travel To Pennsylvania In July To Participate In The International Competition

BOISE, IDAHO – On May 7th and 8th, 2012, 115 high school students, their advisers, and 26 volunteers from across Idaho will participate in the 25th annual Idaho Envirothon, a statewide natural resource competition for high school students. Unlike other environmental programs, Envirothon promotes the balanced use of natural resources, sustainable agriculture, water quality, the need for working rivers, and the right to farm. Envirothon is run entirely on the donations from private businesses, individual conservation districts, and state and federal agencies.

Idaho high schools sending teams to the state competition are: Butte High School, Carey High School, Challis High School, Dennis Technical Education Center (a mix of all Boise high schools), Gooding High School, Jerome High School, Kimberly High School, Mackay High School, Rigby High School, and Weiser High School.

In addition to Envirothon’s primary areas of focus – soils/land use, aquatics, forestry, and wildlife – the students will focus on the 2012 current issue: “Nonpoint Source Pollution/Low Impact Development.”

          WHO: Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts

          WHAT: Idaho Envirothon

          WHEN: Tuesday, May 8th from 8am until 4:30pm

          WHERE: Living Waters Ranch, Challis, Idaho

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The Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts mission is to represent Idaho’s conservation districts as the primary entities to coordinate voluntary, locally led efforts to sustain and enhance Idaho’s natural resources, and strengthen Idaho’s conservation districts and thereby the non-regulatory approach to conservation. For more information, please visit

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