With the legislative process almost complete for the 2022 session, we begin to see a clearer picture, one that recognizes the hard work of everyone in our community in achieving this success. Almost $29 million will be directed to Conservation Commission programs, a stupendous outcome considering where this session started with a whirlpool of riparian buffer mandates and a CD election mandate proposal. As we near the end of this process, the short version of what this funding looks like is:
- $17 million for voluntary riparian habitat restoration programs
- $2.7 million to fund district project engineering
- $3 million to at last fund implementation of VSP
- $2 million to initiate the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program
It’s important to note that this amazing success comes through the work of many, including WACD’s staff and lobbyist, conservation districts, Conservation Commission staff, and many representatives among our agricultural and environmental communities. It’s probably safe to say that our community would not have received the recognition it did without a strong history of local and state-level success, and without support from such a wide coalition of interests.
In the coming days, there will be far more details. We expect soon a complete spreadsheet of Conservation Commission funding from their policy sages and finance wizards. Meanwhile, WACD staff is scouring the many hundreds of budget pages for the other items we know are important to our members, both collectively and individually. This includes perusing funding sources from other state entities, what legislative workgroups are to be formed before next year, and if local district projects are to receive state funding.
As attention shifts away from the last sixty days and toward future endeavors, please take a moment to pat yourself on the back and be proud of what we were able to do together as an association.