Tag Archives: Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission

JFAC Increases 2-To-1 Match By $50,000; Approves Additional $20,000 For Technical Assistance

This morning, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation CommissionRepresentative Steve Miller (R-Fairfield) made the main motion to support a $50,000 increase to the two-to-one state match, and for an additional $20,000 to allow the SWC to recover indirect costs for professional services related to cooperative conservation projects.

“This is great news for our state, our natural resources, and for the fifty soil and water conservation districts in Idaho,” IASCD President Kit Tillotson said.  “These increases are a result of our member districts sharing their conservation projects with their legislators, and the outreach by the IASCD Board of Directors.”

The motion to support the increases in the budget passed by a vote of 19-0, and now moves to the floor of the House/Senate chambers with a “do pass” recommendation.


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Election Results From 2012 Fall Division Meetings

We wrapped up fall division meetings last night with a great Division IV meeting in Burley, Idaho.  Thank you to all the hosting districts for your hospitality!

Elections for IASCD division director and IASCD alternate director were held in Division II, IV, and VI.  All divisions nominated and elected supervisors to the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission’s Technical Assistance Working Group (TAWG) and District Allocations Working Group (DAWG).  The ISWCC Commissioners asked each division to select a supervisor to serve on next year’s TAWG and DAWG, rather than have the commission select individuals from divisions.  Finally, each division elected a supervisor to the IASCD Resolutions Committee.  The results of each division election are below.

See you all in Idaho Falls in just a few weeks!

Division I

TAWG: Billie Brown

DAWG: Tom Daniels

Resolutions: Dale VanStone

Resolutions Alternate: Fran Hughes

Division II

IASCD Division Director: Steve Becker

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Bob Reggear

TAWG: Kyle Wilson

DAWG: Steve Becker

Resolutions: Cody Anderson

Division III

TAWG: Art Beal

DAWG: Julie Burkhardt

Resolutions: Kirk Vickery

Division IV

IASCD Division Director: Rick Rodgers

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Aaron Andrews

TAWG: Richard Kunau

DAWG: Roy Belnap

Resolutions: Joe Pavkov

Division V

TAWG: Terry Lebrecht

DAWG: Kevin Koester

Resolutions: Kevin Koester

Division VI

IASCD Division Director: Lynn Bagley

Alternate IASCD Division Director: Matt Woodard

TAWG: Matt Woodard

DAWG: Richard Jacobson

Resolutions: Rod Robison

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ISWCC Is Looking for a Water Quality Resource Conservationist

The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission has one immediate opening for a Water Quality Resource Conservationist.  The service area for this position covers Region 4 in south central Idaho including Twin Falls, Gooding, Blaine, Arco, Challis, and Salmon.  We’ve posted part of the job announcement, so if you want to learn more, please click here.

Core Responsibilities:

Provide technical assistance in water quality plan development and implementation for Soil Conservation Districts and serve as the primary point of contact and liaison between area Soil Conservation Districts and the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

Conduct resource inventories for agriculture land use areas.  Identify and define water quality and other resource concerns originating with agriculture activities, giving priority to implementation within TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) areas, water quality impaired watersheds, and ground water nitrate priority areas.

Provide local leadership & technical assistance for implementation of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in partnership with the USDA
For more information, or to apply to the position, please click here.

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JFAC Passes Soil and Water Commission Budget; Includes $37,900 for NRCS Office Space

Earlier this morning, the Join Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) took up the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission budget. Debate began at 8:40am, and Representative Marv Hagedorn (R-District 20) carried the budget.

Representative Hagedorn’s motion included $18,500 for a change in employee compensation, $100,900 from RCRDP loan interest to enhance the program, $60,000 in one-time federal funds for the technical assistance grant, $37,900 for NRCS office space charges, and $20,000 in one-time spending for technical assistance cost recovery.

Chairman Dean Cameron allowed Representative Hagedorn to speak further on the motion. “It makes sense to keep our field staff co-located with the NRCS staff whenever possible, and this helps the Commission to pay its share of those costs,” said Hagedorn.

Senator Bert Brackett (R-District 23) spoke on the motion, and expressed his disappointment for the district match not being fully funded, and hoped it would be in future budgets. Representative Shirley Ringo (D-District 6) agreed with Brackett’s comments, and said JFAC should try and include the full two-to-one match in future budgets.

Chairman Cameron then called for the vote, and the motion passed unanimously (20-0-0). It will move to the floor with a “do-pass” recommendation.

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Districts and IASCD Meet with Congressman Raúl Labrador

On Wednesday, February 22nd, IASCD joined with the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District, the Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District, the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission Chairman Dick Bronson in a meeting with Congressman Raúl Labrador (ID-01).  We all shared our background and a bit about our unique partnership with the federal and state government.

“As a fourth generation farmer, it’s vital that I use conservation practices on my land,” Latah SWCD Supervisor Cody Anderson told Congressman Labrador.

Scott Koberg, District Manager for the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District, explained Ada’s urban focus on conservation.  “This was a great opportunity to talk with our Congressman and share why districts are best suited to preserve and sustain our natural resources.”

Lynn McKee, Vice-Chairman for the Ada Soil and Water Conservation District, told Congressman Labrador that the impacts of district work hits on all facets of the natural resource economy in Idaho.  “A stream or river full of sediment means we won’t see fishermen coming to a town to buy tackle, families camping on the river, or the local rafting company’s boats full of tourists. Our work truly does ripple out into all parts of our state’s economy.”

Congressman Labrador was impressed with the non-regulatory conservation work our districts have done and continue to do each day in Idaho.  He accepted our offer to provide expertise on the Farm Bill as the bill goes through the House and Senate.

Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission Chairman Dick Bronson stressed that non-regulatory, voluntary conservation is the way to prohibit overreaching environmental mandates from Idaho’s private land owners.  Chairman Bronson told the Congressman very plainly, “Conservation, when dealing with private landowners, is a place where government works.”

“I really appreciate when our federal partners take time from their schedule to learn more about what we’re doing at the local level, and to listen to what our needs and concerns are for the state of Idaho,” concluded Steve Becker, IASCD Treasurer.

If you live in Congressman Labrador’s district, please share your conservation story with him!  You can FAX your letter to 202-225-3029.  Also, be sure to subscribe to his eNewsletter to keep up on all things happening in Congress.

Photo Courtesy: Congressman Raúl Labrador’s office. Thank you!

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Senate Ag Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Two New SWC Commissioners

Earlier today, the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for the two newly appointed commissioners to the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Commissioner Jerry Trebesch spoke first, and shared some of his background with the committee. He has been involved in banking for many years, starting at Idaho First National Bank in Rigby. He moved around the state to Salmon, St. Maries, and settled in the Treasure Valley in 1983. Commissioner Trebesch leases about 250 mother cows on his farm in Caldwell.

Commissioner H. Norman Wright was next, and let the committee know he is an Idaho native. Commissioner Wright worked for the Soil Conservation Service for a short time, and then for Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. He settled in American Falls in 1978. Though retired, he is the Lions Club president and serves on the American Falls City Council. Commissioner Wright told the committee that he felt service is important, and he is a firm believer in conservation.

There were very few questions to either of the commissioners, and Chairman Siddoway said they would be back on Thursday (January 26th) to vote on the confirmation.

Kristin Magruder then presented the rules governing the allocation of funds to conservation districts. She gave a short speech to the committee, and then took questions. Chairman Siddoway asked what the funding sources were for the maximum allocation. Kristin responded that typically, districts get funds from their county. But districts could also receive funds from businesses and anything other than an individual contribution as long as the funds were for general purposes.

Senator Bock moved to adopt this rule, and Senator Nuxoll seconded the motion. It was adopted by voice vote.

Finally, please know these are not official minutes! IASCD was in the audience today, and we took a few notes to share with you!

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IASCD Asks JFAC To Support A Fully-Funded 2-to-1 State Match

The Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts wrote a letter to the twenty Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) members asking they fully fund the state match to local conservation districts. While the Soil and Water Commission requested an additional $174,300 to provide full match funds, Governor Butch Otter’s proposed budget did not make this recommendation. Full match funds are consistent with the provision in section 22-2727 of Idaho State Code. The statute allows a state match of up to twice the amount received in the previous year from local support.

We hand delivered our letter to the JFAC members on Tuesday.   Below you can read a short portion of our letter, or if you click here, you can read the letter in its entirety.

We know the difficult economy continues to linger across our nation and our state. Idahoans continue to make tough financial decisions regarding their small businesses or with their family checkbook. Governor Otter, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, and all of your colleagues have done outstanding work to keep our state’s budget balanced.

The state dollars invested in the district match ripple out into our communities and impact all facets of our economy. We are requesting an increase of $174,300 to the SWC’s FY13 budget in order to fully meet the two-to-one state match set in state code. This additional funding will allow districts to put more conservation projects on the ground, and continue to be the state leader in natural resource issues.

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