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BLM Signs MOU with NACD

The Bureau of Land Management is renewing a partnership with a nonprofit that works with farmers on land and water stewardship measures, advancing the Obama administration’s commitment to working with private landowners to achieve conservation goals.

BLM late yesterday announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) pledging to work together on a range of public lands issues, including forestland and rangeland management needs to address invasive plant species and increased wildfire risks, as well as issues dealing with wild horses and burros.

The national association represents some 3,000 conservation districts nationwide and their state associations. Since it was founded in 1946, the association has worked with private landowners and private land managers to apply conservation practices endorsed by BLM and other federal agencies on their lands. The association also works with local communities and landowners to coordinate funding and assistance from state and federal governments for conservation.

BLM and the national association share common goals “in managing, developing, and protecting federal and private land and water resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner,” according to the four-page MOU. The partnership is necessary in Western states where federal and private lands often intertwine, requiring public and private landowners to work together to make conservation programs effective.

“The BLM values this relationship. The cooperative spirit and goodwill of the more than 3,000 districts across the nation have allowed us to make great strides,” Jamie Connell, BLM’s acting deputy director, said yesterday in a statement. “By renewing this MOU, we acknowledge there is still much left to do, and we recognize we can accomplish so much more together than we could individually.”

The MOU, signed by Connell and Earl Garber, NACD’s president, renews an agreement originally signed between the two parties in 2001, said Beverly Winston, a spokeswoman for the national association.

The renewed partnership comes at a time when budget cuts have affected the ability of BLM and the Agriculture Department, in particular, to put farmland conservation measures and other programs in place (Greenwire,  April 29).

NACD helps to lobby for the farm bill’s conservation programs, which among other things pays farmers to idle cropland for conservation, promotes conservation on working lands and provides funding for environmental improvements on farmland.

“We are very pleased to be renewing our MOU with the Bureau of Land Management,” Garber said yesterday in a statement. “Over the previous years, our close working partnership with BLM has helped open many doors to address important natural resources management issues. The MOU will allow the diverse conservation work underway to continue forward.”

The Washington, D.C.-based national association has actively worked with farmers to help them put into place conservation measures on their lands. The NACD has worked closely with the Obama administration on such measures.

Indeed, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said before leaving his post last spring that he was proudest of his work with private landowners who agree to participate in programs that permanently protect their lands from development through the use of measures like conservation easements (Greenwire, April 5).

The MOU continues a long-standing relationship between the NACD and the Interior and Agriculture departments.

President Obama recently nominated USDA chief of staff Krysta Harden, NACD’s former CEO, to become the agency’s deputy secretary (E&E Daily, June 28).

And in May it was announced that Dave White, who retired last year as USDA’s natural resources chief, would work as a strategic consultant for NACD (Greenwire, May 3).

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Latah SWCD Dam Removal Project

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July 17, 2013 · 11:47 am

March/April 2013 eNewsletter Posted

Our March/April 2013 eNewsletter has been posted to our website.  Please click here to read it.

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IASCD Legislative Displays on KTVB News – January 29, 2013

On January 29, 2013, IASCD and member districts held their annual legislative display date in the state capitol building. We alerted the media to the event, and had KTVB show up around 3pm to take footage and speak with IASCD staff.

The clip was featured on the 6pm news that evening.

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February 8, 2013 · 12:34 pm

SWC’s Budget Presentation Before the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee

Earlier today, the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission gave their annual budget presentation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.  Administrator Teri Murrison gave the committee a brief history of soil conservation districts in Idaho and the birth of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission. 

Teri said that we maximize the natural resources for our state, and our “Idaho Way” is not a heavy-handed, regulatory approach. She then listed some of the major trends driving conservation are urban growth, reductions in funding, and water quality. 

There are a number of core functions of the SWC such as technical support to districts, conservation programs, and administration.  Teri let JFAC members know the total CREP contracts were at 157, and had a total of 17,210 acres enrolled in the program. 

Next, Teri spoke about the current TMDL workload, and the number of plans completed over the last five years.  She explained some of the backlogged plans and how long it takes a staff member to complete a TMDL. 

“We’re passionate about the land, natural resources and locally-led, voluntary conservation,” concluded Teri.  She then took a few questions from committee members.

Like last year, Representative Ringo said she is concerned that the full 2-to-1 match was note funded, and asked Teri what could be done with a full match.  Teri said IASCD provided her a list of possible district projects, and that will be submitted to Representative Ringo. 

Representative King asked for further explanation of the TMDL program and the requested full-time position.  Teri provided the Representative with the needed background, and then took a question from Senator Nuxoll about how match funding works. 

There were no further questions, and the presentation wrapped up about 8:55am. 

Thank you for all who attended or listened online!

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Fourth Annual Agricultural Symposium and Soil Workshop

The Payette and Malheur Soil and Water Conservation Districts have announced their fourth annual ag symposium and soil workshop.  The symposium will be held on February 28th, and the soil workshop will be held on March 1st.  Both events will be at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, located in Ontario, Oregon. 

Preregister for the symposium for $25, and $50 for the soil workshop.  The door registration for the symposium is $30. 

For more information, details, and a registration form, visit http://www.payetteswcd.org.  Or, call Johna Gabiola at 208-642-4402 ext. 102 or Linda Rowe at 541-889-9689 ext. 114. 

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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 http://www.iascd.org.

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