Five Things to Know

August 6, 2020

1: SCC special meeting next week on budget reduction ideas

The Washington State Conservation Commission will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 to discuss options to achieve a possible 15% reduction in their operations budget for the 2021-2023 biennium. All members of the public are welcome to attend online and we encourage conservation district folks to participate. You must register to receive a confirmation email with the phone number and web link to use on the day of the meeting. Find the meeting notice here (PDF document).

2: WACD Plant Materials Center's new system is working

Plant Materials Center staff are working diligently on configuring and populating the new nursery sales and inventory management software system. While it takes a while to set up a program like this, staff are getting that done and then entering all of the orders that have been received for this year. We plan to be able to report on year-to-date sales year by next week.

In other news, the PMC is participating in a Washington State Department of Agriculture program to trap the Giant Asian Hornet, or Murder Hornet, that has been reported in lower British Columbia and Whatcom County. Fortunately, no such hornets have been found in the PMC traps.

3: Area association meeting dates

Three of six area associations have set the dates for their annual meetings:
  • October 15: Southwest Area Association of Conservation Districts (host district Cowlitz CD)
  • October 28: Southeast Area Association of Conservation Districts (host district Pine Creek CD)
  • October 29: South-Central Area Association of Conservation Districts (host district North Yakima CD)
We will update area association meeting dates and information weekly.

4: WACD annual awards time begins now

It is that time of year again when this year’s crop of great achievements and successes is ready for harvesting. With WACD’s Annual Awards Program now available we hope you will consider writing a nomination for an outstanding member of Washington State’s conservation community who deserves recognition. There are nine awards, from volunteers to new supervisors to local cooperators large and small. Nominations are due to Lori McLaughlin by October 30th and will be announced in coordination with the WACD annual conference.

5: We've heard what you want and here it is: a resolution primer!

In response to district requests, WACD staff are rolling out our resolution material for the year. On the WACD Resolution webpage is now this year’s resolution template, but also two documents designed to help folks understand the process. One is a resolutions "primer,” outlying the procedures and importance of resolutions to WACD as well as local districts. The other document is a handy flow-chart of a resolution progressing from the district to implementation at the national level.

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More from the WACD Plant Materials Center

  • COVID-19 updateThe WACD PMC continues to adhere to all of the workplace COVID regulations. Everyone remains healthy which is a little surprising in that most years someone comes down with a cold once in a while. The weeding crew has been temporarily laid off due to lack of weeds which helps with COVID-19 control measures and reduces potential exposure. Skagit County remains in phase 2 and will not go to phase 3 since there is a ban in place against going to the next phase and the number of new cases exceeds the allowable number necessary. Hopefully that can be contained and there is not any flare up this fall or winter.
  • Life Goes On – The WACD PMC keeps busy 52 weeks a year with the various aspects of operating a bare root seedling nursery. Planning and implementing the practices necessary to run a diversified operation is constant on many levels. While we are busy growing plants for sale this winter and next, we are collecting seeds for the following years and preparing ground to plant the seeds in. The majority of seeds are planted in the fall where they remain dormant in the ground until they germinate the following spring. The photos above show some of the initial steps in bringing a field into production. We grow a cover crop of barley and then work it into the ground where it helps build the soil. By fall this ground will be ready for fall planting. Stay tuned for more in a future report!

It's National Farmers Market Week!

Now, more than ever, the importance of farmers markets in our food system deserves your attention, appreciation, and celebration. Learn more on the Farmers Market Coalition website.

More from the WACD Executive Office

  • WACD's Olympia office is in transition – We are moving to 1219 11th Avenue SE where we will occupy two offices of 132-square-feet each. CenturyLink surprised us this week by acting on our phone disconnect request almost immediately (thank you to Brandy Reed for noticing that our phone was disconnected and telling us). Ryan (suite 103) and Tom (suite 104) remain available on our cell phones; find that information on the WACD website.
  • Annual conference planning beginning to crystallize – The WACD Conference Planning Team (CPT) met again this week to discuss content ideas and review conference costs. People on the CPT come from all six areas across the state plus includes Natural Resources Conservation Service and Washington State Conservation Commission partners. The registration packet and conference schedule will be published immediately following the September 15th meeting of the WACD board. Annual conference updates will be published in this Five Things to Know newsletter as we develop more information.

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

We lost a legend this week. No, not someone associated with our conservation community but instead someone who was an anchor in our Washington State culture in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond.

From KING 5 News comes this story: Broadcast legend Pat O'Day dies at his San Juan Islands home. For those of us of a certain age, we might remember Pat as the voice of the KJR-FM rock radio station in Seattle (I first heard him on a pocket transistor radio in about the sixth grade). Later, Pat became the voice of Seafair races. In fact, he had a very interesting history.

Pat provided a calming, friendly voice that became normal and expected in the Pacific Northwest, providing reassurance during an era when it felt like everything around us was changing. If you grew up in the Seattle-Tacoma region during those years, Pat's passing probably feels as poignant to you as it does to me. In hindsight, I didn't realize how deeply appreciated the solidity that Pat provided. I always looked forward to hearing his voice on the radio and his Seafair broadcasts.

The loss of Pat causes me to think about change and about how we come to expect that people who have provided an anchor of some kind in our lives will always be there. Obviously, they won't. In our minds we know this but it is not always quite so apparent in our hearts until the moment happens. Many elected officials who have been rocks for us may be having such moments this week after seeing some interesting primary election results! (And I hope you will forgive me, my dear reader, for this moment of apophenia!)

The primary election that happened this week hints at changes on the horizon. We are seeing a distinct anti-incumbency trend. Whether this holds true through the general election in November is, of course, a guess, but it seems to have momentum that could carry forward to the general.

What do these changes mean for us in our conservation work? They mean that we should appreciate our allies and supporters even as we prepare ourselves for the arduous and interesting task of building relationships with new officials. Do take time to tell your local and state elected officials how much you appreciate their hard work on behalf of local conservation. None of us know what is written in the next chapter in our lives, and as the years begin to pile up behind me, I recognize that we run into people from prior years more and more often. The elected official who leaves office this year may reappear in an even more important role in the future.

One of the resounding themes we hear every year in your feedback is how much you value our work with legislators and legislation. As we journey together through this election season, remember that WACD is here for you. Please do reach out to us if you need help having those conversations with officials. As noted in last week's Executive Corner column, it all starts with a conversation.

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

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