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CD 101: A look at Conservation Districts What is a Conservation District (CD)?

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Presentation on theme: "CD 101: A look at Conservation Districts What is a Conservation District (CD)?"— Presentation transcript:

1 CD 101: A look at Conservation Districts What is a Conservation District (CD)?

2 Conservation Districts Providing the key to answering the following important questions about conservation districts: Who?What?When?Where?Why?Significance? This presentation provides a comprehensive background on the history, purposes, and importance of Conservation Districts in Colorado.

3 The W5S Method WhoWhatWhenWhereWhySignificance If you can answer the W5S about Conservation Districts, the “key” to conservation will be yours!

4 What are Conservation Districts anyway? Let’s have a look…

5 Born from the dust storms of the 1930’s…

6 …was the concept of conservation. ► ► In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region's soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of “dust refugees” left the black fog to seek better lives.

7 The dust bowl originated in the great plains… ► ► The drought that plagued the great plains combined with farming practices of the times impacted the entire country. The storms stretched across the nation. They reached south to Texas and east to New York. Dust even sifted into the White House and onto the desk of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

8 …but had far reaching impacts. ► ► On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Since about three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private lands across the United States.

9 In Washington, D.C… ►I►I►I►In 1935, the Soil Conservation Act was passed which provided assistance and technical expertise to farmers and ranchers. BUT, in order to get conservation on the ground, officials would need to find a way to “bridge the gap” between the government and local landowners.

10 In Colorado… ► In an effort to create the local connection, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote to all of the State Governors in 1937 recommending legislation allowing landowners to form soil and water conservation districts. The Colorado Soil Conservation Act (House Bill 258) passed on May 6, 1937.

11 Conservation becomes the rule! ► Colorado Soil and Water Conservation Districts were born to “bridge the gap”.

12 To further conservation in Colorado… ► On July 30, 1945, the Colorado Association of Soil Conservation Districts was formed as a statewide organization to provide guidance for the individual districts as well as to promote conservation at state and national levels. The Association's work has included helping districts to secure grants for conservation machinery, influencing state and federal legislation, and holding workshops to discuss state laws. ► Today, this organization is known as the CACD (Colorado Association of Conservation Districts.)

13 The cutting edge in the 21 st century… ► In 2002, legislation removed the "Soil" from the names of conservation districts to more accurately reflect that the districts’ concerns are with all natural resources, not just "soil". Currently there are 76 conservation districts in Colorado.

14 What is a Conservation District? ► ► Across the United States, nearly 3000 conservation districts -- almost one in every county -- are helping local people to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources. ► ► Known in various parts of the country as “soil and water conservation districts,” “resource conservation districts,” “natural resource districts,” “land conservation committees” and similar names, they share a single mission: to coordinate assistance from all available sources -- public and private, local, state and federal -- in an effort to develop locally driven solutions to natural resource concerns. ► ► More than 15,000 volunteers serve in elected or appointed positions on conservation districts' governing boards. They work directly with more than 2.3 million cooperating land managers nationwide, and their efforts touch more than 778 million acres of private land. ► ► Among other things, conservation districts help:   implement farm conservation practices to keep soil in the fields and out of waterways;   conserve and restore wetlands, which purify water and provide habitat for birds, fish and numerous other animals.   protect groundwater resources;   plant trees and other land cover to hold soil in place, clean the air, provide cover for wildlife and beautify neighborhoods;   help developers and homeowners manage the land in an environmentally sensitive manner; and   reach out to communities and schools to teach the value of natural resources and encourage conservation efforts.

15 General Structure ► Unpaid, ELECTED ► By statute, District Conservation Boards are composed of a specified between number 5 and 11 of Unpaid, ELECTED officials.   District officials in Colorado are referred to as “Supervisors”.   Supervisors have legal responsibilities and duties. Most Districts have employees to assist supervisors. District Manager District Clerk Conservation Technicians Education Coordinator

16 Duties & Responsibilities ► ► Powers and duties of districts. (1) A conservation district, in the exercise of its public powers, has the following powers and duties in addition to others granted in this article, which powers and duties may be exercised by the supervisors subject to the rules, regulations, and bylaws adopted by such district and to the direction of the qualified voters at any regular or regularly called special meeting of the district: To Do…

17 (It’s the law!) ► ► Powers and duties of districts.   (1) A conservation district, in the exercise of its public powers, has the following powers and duties in addition to others granted in this article, which powers and duties may be exercised by the supervisors subject to the rules, regulations, and bylaws adopted by such district and to the direction of the qualified voters at any regular or regularly called special meeting of the district: ► ► To conduct surveys, investigations, and research ► ► To erect structures and maintain any facilities to arrest or prevent the erosion of soils or lands ► ► To cooperate or enter into agreements with and, within the limit of its available funds, to furnish financial or other aid to any agency ► ► To obtain options upon and to acquire or acquire control of, any property, real or personal ► ► To make available to landowners and occupants within the district, agricultural and engineering machinery, equipment and supplies ► ► To accept grants, services, and materials and to borrow money ► ► To take over, by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and to administer any soil conservation or erosion control project ► ► To sue and be sued in the name of the district; to have a seal which shall be judicially noticed ► ► To prepare a plan for the care, treatment, and operation of the lands within the district. ► ► To cause annual audits to be made in accordance with the "Colorado Local Government Audit Law"; ► ► To make contributions of information, data, statistics, funds, or other contributions valuable in the furtherance of land conservation ► ► To sponsor, plan, construct, maintain, and operate flood prevention and watershed improvement projects ► ► To participate in the formulation and implementation of nonpoint source water pollution control programs

18 What can I do? ► ► People are the key to conservation district success. Volunteers, whether serving on district boards or participating in a river cleanup, are important because:   Local people offer extensive expertise and personal interest regarding the best ways to take care of their own natural resources.   Effective management of natural resources at the local level reduces the need for outside intervention and regulation.   Districts often have minimal budgets, and may not be able to meet their conservation goals without volunteer help.   Volunteers in education can help youths learn to be responsible stewards of the land. ► ► Among the things you can do are:   Become a member. Your dollars will help conserve the natural resources in your community. Your membership can improve the water quality of the river that provides your family drinking water and a place to swim and fish. Contact your district for more information about memberships. Become a member   Volunteer. Districts need help with everything from planting seedlings in wetland restoration projects to filing in the office. Contact your district to let them know you are willing to help.   Practice good stewardship at home. You can improve your corner of the world by composting food scraps and lawn clippings in your backyard, conserving green areas in your urban neighborhood or implementing best management practices on your farm. Ask your district for assistance.good stewardship at home

19 What about right now? LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

20 A special thanks to… NACD- CACD- Conservation Services Division- Kiowa CD- Baca County CD-

21 So, did you get the message? Who…What…When…Where…Why…Significance… What are “keys” to conservation districts in Colorado?


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