Tag Archives: soil

Navigating the Idaho 319 Program

By: Matt Woodard, Chairman of the East Side Soil and Water Conservation District

Section 319 of the Clean Water Act established a grant program under which states, territories, and tribes may receive funds to support a wide variety of non-point source pollution management activities, including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific non-point source implementation projects.  Source

A good 319 project is regionally significant, important to many agencies, addresses multiple concerns, has multiple benefits beyond water quality, watershed based, on the 303(d) list, and has public outreach such as statewide/local press.

Letters of recommendation about your project are a critical part of your 319 application.  Letters from your local WAG, soil conservation district chairman, DEQ water quality administrator, supporting agencies (like USFC, IDFG, NRCS) county commissioners, city officials, other state/fed reps), environmental organizations, trade associations (like IASCD), industry associations are all examples of acceptable support letters.  Be sure each letter is signed, dated, and provided to DEQ with the completed application.  A large, diverse support base often receives a greater consideration during the competitive funding process.

The maximum amount of funding you can receive from a 319 grant is $250,000.  319 grants will fund up to 60% of the total project.  The remaining 40% needs to be non-federal funding in the form of match funds (hard or soft, or in kind).  You should know that only 10% of the grant can go to administrative costs; administrators like to see the maximum amount of funding go to an on-the-ground project.

Timeline For FY 2014 319 Grant Funding

April 8, 2013: Pre-Application Process Opens

May 6, 2013: Pre-Application Process Closes

May 31, 2013: All pre-application reviews to be completed; DEQ will communicate with applications on any questions they have on your project.

August 1, 2013: A completed online application is due to be received by DEQ; prior to that, the project should have been reviewed by the local WAG.  Their approval of the project is necessary for it to go forward.

September 13, 2013: All qualifying project applications are to be sent to the respective BAG chairman for review.

October 1-31, 2013: Each applicant is required to present their project to the respective BAG.  The BAG will rank projects based on regional importance, the amount of funding requested, and other factors.

November 6, 2013: Results of each regional project ranking are summarized and forwarded to each regional BAG chair.

December 2, 2013: DEQ Water Quality staff and the chair from each BAG meet in Boise to discuss the projects.  From this group of projects comes the final rank in order of priority.

Approximately $1.2 million is awarded state wide each year, and has grown very competitive.  Your project should be thought out and address those multiple concerns.  A good Power Point with lots of photos of the project area and a budget breakdown is a great idea for your presentation.  Also, get to know your local DEQ water quality manager.  You should ask them lots questions.  They are there to help you!

Finally, mark your calendar for April 30th.  The Balanced Rock and Twin Falls SWCDs are holding a training day for 319 grants.  The hours are from 9am to 3pm, at the Jerome Fish and Game Office.

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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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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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IASCD Sends Letter To Idaho’s Federal Delegation Asking For Federal Conservation Funding

Today the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts (IASCD) sent a letter to Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) to share our thoughts in the vital federal conservation programs used by the fifty soil conservation districts in Idaho.  IASCD requested funding for NRCS Conservation Operations, the 319 Nonpoint Source grant program, and State and Private Forestry programs.

“We fully understand the difficult decisions the Appropriations Committee has to make in funding or eliminating federal programs.  IASCD fully supports a federal budget that reduces unnecessary government spending, and properly reflects our nation’s difficult economic situation.  However, agriculture and natural resource spending almost always bears the brunt of spending cuts.  For example, if we use the FY 2011 funding level adjusted for inflation, the NRCS Conservation Operations account in the FY13 Agricultural Appropriations budget would be $904 million, representing a 6% reduction from the FY2005 appropriated level.  We would request you support $904 million in this account for this budget.”

IASCD requested that 319 Nonpoint Source funding be set at $227 million, and State and Private Forestry programs be set at $355 million for FY ’13.  The 319 program has gained tremendous momentum in Idaho, especially in the southeast region.  The program allows for further improvements in water quality, as well as reductions in sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous into the streams.  Districts in the northern part of the state use State and Private Forestry programs to improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and improve water quality, and steelhead trout habitat.

President Kit Tillotson’s letter to Congressman Simpson was written on behalf of the IASCD Board of Directors and member soil conservation districts.  A similar letter was also sent to Senator Mike Crapo, Senator James E. Risch, and Congressman Raul Labrador.

To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

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Thank You To Our Envirothon Sponsors!

A few weeks ago, IASCD sent a letter to businesses across Idaho asking for their financial support for Envirothon. Already we have nine organizations donate funds to help support the event! A big THANK YOU to the following:

Northwest Farm Credit Services (first time donor!)
Lactalis American Group (first time donor!)
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Thompson Creek Mining Company
Idaho Grain Producers Association
Idaho Barley Commission
Idaho Mining Association
National Wild Turkey Federation – Idaho Chapter

And a big thank you to the following conservation districts for their support!

Ada Soil and Water Conservation District
Clark Soil Conservation District
Bear Lake Soil and Water Conservation District
Boundary Soil Conservation District
Canyon Soil Conservation District
Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District

If you’d like to send a tax-deductible donation to the Idaho Envirothon, please contact Nancy or Bret. All funds go directly to Envirothon, and not to IASCD expenses, salaries, or benefits.

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Welcome Back to the State Capitol!

The Idaho Association of Soil Conservation District Board of Directors drafted a letter to welcomed the state senators and representatives to the State Capitol building here in Boise. We hand delivered the letter to nearly every legislator early this morning. If you’d like to read the letter in full, please click here.

The Board gave a brief history of districts and IASCD, as well as describing the work districts do each day to preserve, sustain, and enhance our state’s natural resources.

Locally-led, non-regulatory conservation is the most effective way to help individual land owners and communities preserve natural resources using a voluntary approach to land stewardship. The state dollars invested in these programs ripple out into our communities and impact all facets of our economy; less sediment in rivers means a pristine river for fishing or rafting; healthy soil means a more plentiful crop; responsible land management means a balance between species habitat and grazing.

Our districts and IASCD will be in touch with you during this session to share successful conservation projects that have had positive impacts to their local environment and provide background to you on any natural resources issues that come before you. Districts and IASCD will also share their support for a fully funded 2-to-1 state fund match to districts. This would be consistent with the provision in Idaho Code 22-2727.

During this legislative session, IASCD will work with member districts to tell our story to our state officials. Please let us know if you’d also like to write your legislator a short letter. We’d be happy to help you craft it!

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Our New YouTube Channel and Two New Videos

The Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts is excited to announce our new YouTube channel and two videos that give a glimpse into the conservation partnership and story here in Idaho.

We want to thank Imp House, LLC for their fantastic work on our small project, as well as David, Delwyne, Teri, and Rob for taking time from their day to take part in the videos.

IASCD is hoping to springboard this video project into something larger, so please stay tuned!

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