Summer in Minneapolis, the City of Lakes

Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to plan for NACD’s Summer Board Meeting and Conservation Tour July 15-19 in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

This year’s event takes place at the DoubleTree by Hilton-Bloomington. Check out the hotel and its amenities here. The entire meeting will be held at this site and there are plenty of rooms available at the NACD rate of $125 a night. The hotel is close to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as well as the Mall of America and offers a complimentary shuttle to the site and its surrounding attractions. Explore all the area has to offer here. Did you know that the state of Minnesota has more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii? The Chain of Lakes, four of the largest lakes in Minneapolis, are also close by where attendees can rent a canoe or kayak and stroll and bike along 13 miles of paved shoreline paths. Check out things to do in Minneapolis here

The draft meeting agenda along with registration information is now available on our website on the Summer Board Meeting page. Along with a Conservation Forum and a Soil Health Social, the meeting will also feature a jam-packed Conservation Tour put together by the state of Minnesota! The tour will feature sites such as the Regal Creek Stabilization Project, Becker’s Plant Materials Evaluation Site, Sherburne County Community Gravel Beds, the Native Prairie Site at the Sherburne History Center, and a view of the St. Cloud Raingardens and a local SWCD supervisor’s farm. Don’t miss out on this up-close look at conservation in Minnesota! 

Early Bird registration cut-off date is June 16, so make your plans to join us now and be a part of “The Next Generation of Conservation Planning!” 

Local Districts, Officials Celebrate Milestones

The Prince Georges Soil Conservation District (SCD) held a 75th anniversary celebration on April 27 at Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards in Brandywine, Maryland. The SCD was established in 1941 and over its history has evolved to serve both urban and agricultural constituencies. Specific services offered by the SCD include providing grading and sediment control, agricultural landowner assistance and rural preservation services to the county’s citizens and residents. NACD President Lee McDaniel and CEO Jeremy Peters spoke at the event, congratulating the SCD on their achievement. President McDaniel also presented the SCD board with a proclamation marking the observance. NRCS Chief Jason Weller provided a keynote at the celebration, speaking about the importance of strong natural resource conservation and the challenges of a growing population.  

NACD also celebrated another district milestone and was represented on Tuesday, April 26 at a reception honoring a district supervisor from the Ohoopee River Soil and Water Conservation District for 75 years of service. Throughout his career, Mr. Jim Gillis served as the district chair as well as on the Georgia Soil Conservation Committee, now known as the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. John Redding, Past President of NACD represented President Lee McDaniel by presenting Mr. Gillis with a letter of congratulations. During his career, Mr. Gillis was well acquainted with Hugh Hammond Bennett who visited with Mr. Gillis several times during his life time.  

SWCDs to Play Key Role in Implementing Minnesota’s Buffer Law

Landowners, counties and watershed districts are now reviewing the preliminary map of Minnesota public waters requiring protective buffers. Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has asked landowners who have buffers identified on their property to work with their local soil and water conservation district or drainage authority to ensure the preliminary map is accurate.  

Minnesota’s buffer law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams and public ditches to help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. The preliminary buffer map and status map are available here. 

The buffer law is one aspect of conservation delivery that will be explored in greater depth at NACD’s Summer Meeting July 15-19 in Minneapolis. 

Two Grant Opportunities for Conservation Program Funding

The U.S. Standard Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the U.S. that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. 

For guidance on how to apply, qualified applicants, and other tips, please Click Here – the deadline for applications is July 14. All proposals must be submitted through the registration process, but it is also recommended that applicants contact their Joint Venture Coordinator in their project area for assistance. 

Regeneration International is seeking applicants for the “100 Projects for the Climate” program. Continuing the momentum of COP21, this program aims to speed up the emergence of citizen-led initiatives to help protect the planet and feed the world. This new effort will enable the 100 most innovative solutions from around the world to become a reality. Individuals or groups who have what they believe are “effective and replicable solutions for combating climate change,” including soil health efforts, are invited to submit their applications for possible funding. The deadline for applications is June 6. Citizens will then vote to select 100 projects worldwide for funding. 

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Results

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on May 5 the enrollment of more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Through CRP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat. Farmers' and ranchers' participation in CRP continues to provide numerous benefits to our nation, including helping reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and providing resiliency to future weather changes. 
"The Conservation Reserve Program provides nearly $2 billion annually to land owners – dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs. When these direct benefits are taken together with the resulting economic activity, the benefits related to CRP are estimated at $3.1 billion annually," said Vilsack. "Over the past 30 years, CRP has created major environmental improvements throughout the countryside. The program has removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equal to removing nine million cars from the road annually, and prevented 600 million dump trucks of soil from erosion. With today's announcement, USDA is continuing these achievements by maximizing conservation benefits within the limitations provided by law." 

Read the full press release here.

Envirothon: On the Road to Canada

Two new Envirothon teams are headed to Canada! In Pennsylvania, teams from Carmichaels Area High School won the top three spots at the 29th annual Greene County Envirothon held May 5 at Wana B Park in Carmichaels. This year 65 high school students from the county’s five school districts competed in the event. And in Mississippi, over 100 students participated in their event in Roosevelt. Oxford High School from Oxford, MS will represent Mississippi this year.  

TMassachusetts State Envirothon event will be held May 12 at Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton, MA with 36 registered teams to participate. For nearly three decades, the Massachusetts Envirothon has engaged young people in hands-on exploration of soil, water, wildlife, and forest resources, and investigation of the important environmental issues affecting themselves, their families, and their communities. Winners from Massachusetts, as well as those from Pennsylvania and Mississippi, will compete at the North American Envirothon July 24-29 in Ontario, Canada.  

For updates on local Envirothon competitions, including photos and media, click here.  


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