Former Chief of NRCS Pearlie Reed Passes

Last week a tremendous supporter of the National Conservation Partnership passed away. Pearlie S. Reed served the conservation movement in many positions throughout his career. He came from a family with agricultural roots in Arkansas and worked with the Soil Conservation Service and later the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in a number of increasingly influential positions including serving as NRCS State Conservationist for Maryland and California, before ascending to the head of the agency as Chief from 1998-2002. Reed was called back from retirement into federal service to serve as Assistant Secretary for Administration in the US Department of Agriculture in the first term of the Obama administration.  

Throughout his career Reed was a steadfast supporter of conservation districts and the National Conservation Partnership. He will be remembered for his energy and tireless work on behalf of conservation all across the USA for which he received numerous awards and recognition for his accomplishments.  

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released the following statement:  

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pearlie Reed. Pearlie began his long and distinguished career at USDA in 1968 as a student trainee in his native Arkansas with the Soil Conservation Service. He rose to become Chief of that very agency, after it became known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service. In his 35 years of public service at USDA, Pearlie's work in conservation impacted the lives of many, and his leadership in the management of the Department to modernize our services and to help build a new era for civil rights has left a meaningful legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with Pearlie's loved ones during this difficult time."  

NACD President Lee McDaniel, recalled Pearlie’s service to Maryland prior to becoming Chief, “He had a clear understanding of how the Maryland partnership and Chesapeake Bay issues made our state unique and addressed these issues appropriately. He will be missed by all of us." 

Funeral services will be held in Arkansas, Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15. 

NACD & BLM Planning 2.0 Proposed Rule

On February 25, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published its proposed amendments to the “Planning 2.0” initiative and called for public comments to be submitted by April 25, 2016. NACD's Public Lands Resource Policy Group (RPG) has been reviewing the proposed regulation changes and is currently finalizing public comments. NACD staff are also preparing a comment template that local districts and state associations can use to submit their own comments. The template will be available here by the Friday, April 15. All comments must be submitted through the website or by clicking here) by 11:59 PM EDT on April 25. 

The BLM will also be hosting a final information webinar on April 13 from 3 PM to 5 PM EDT (1-3 PM MDT/ 12-2 PM PDT and MST-AZ/or 11 AM-1 PM AKDT). In order to participate in the webinar, you will need to register here. Once registered, information on how to access the webinar will be emailed to you from Katie Gronsky. Information from past webinars can be found here

Critical Wetlands Proposals

USDA NRCS announced on April 5 that $15 million will be available to conservation partners to provide technical and financial assistant for private land wetlands protection and improvement. The funds are available through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), which is part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This partnership between NRCS and state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, tribal governments, and others will allow for more voluntary conservation of high priority wetlands. Conservation of wetlands increases wildlife habitat, reduces flood impacts, recharges groundwater, and allows for recreation and education.  

Proposals can be submitted to NRCS state offices by May 16. Click here for more information and click here for a full press release. 

SWC Infographic

The Source Water Collaborative, a group of organizations dedicated to protecting drinking water at thesource, released a new source water protection outreach tool called Source to Tap. Source to Tap is an interactive infographic that provides basic information on how the Clean Water Act can be used to reduce pollution in drinking water sources. Provisions of the act include Water Quality Standards, Designated Uses, and 

Total Maximum Daily Loads. The interactive infographic demonstrates existing opportunities for local partners to work with state clean water and drinking water program managers to protect source water. Local partners can also contribute their knowledge, data, and perspectives to help in the effort to protect drinking water sources. Click here to see the infographic.  

For more information on the Source Water Collaborative, visit their website and follow them on Twitter @SourceWaterCol.  

Envirothon Updates

A lot is happening during the month of April around the U.S. with Envirothon. Iowa celebrated 20 years of Envirothon with its state competition held yesterday, April 11. Check them out on Facebook for more information and for more details on this year’s event.  

Arizona and Alabama held their state Envirothon competitions the week of April 4. All the winners from this year’s state competitions will continue on to the North American Envirothon contest to be held later this year in Ontario, Canada and will be hosted by Forests Ontario. Keep up-to-date with all Envirothon happenings across the country by following NCF Envirothon on Facebook (NCF-Envirothon) and Twitter @Envirothon. And don’t forget, the 2016 NCF-Envirothon Registration is now live on the website.  

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