Five Things to Know

August 13, 2020


Welcome new subscribers!

Welcome to our Five Things weekly newsletter! Please help others in our conservation community by reaching out to let them know how easy it is to subscribe. Send them to https://wadistricts.org/subscribe or forward this edition to them.

1: Five of six area association meeting dates are set

Five of six area associations have set the dates for their annual meetings (the host conservation district for each meeting is shown in parentheses):
  • October 15: Southwest Area Association of Conservation Districts (Cowlitz CD)
  • October 20: Northeast Area Association of Conservation Districts (Stevens County CD)
  • October 21: Northwest Area Association of Conservation Districts (Whatcom CD)
  • October 28: Southeast Area Association of Conservation Districts (Pine Creek CD)
  • October 29: South-Central Area Association of Conservation Districts (North Yakima CD)

2: It's time to work on your resolutions for area meetings

Area association meetings are approaching quickly. In fact, you may only have a couple of conservation district board meetings before area associations meet in October! Now is the time to think about the important changes you want to see in the entities that serve you and in state and federal conservation programs.

To help you formulate and present your resolutions, Ryan Baye has assembled and modified information to create a resolutions "primer.” He has also finalized this year’s resolution template and provided a handy flow-chart showing how a resolution progresses from your conservation district to implementation at the national level. Find all of these resources on the WACD Resolution webpage.

3: WACD Plant Materials Center sales volume is down

We have been monitoring sales of plant materials very closely this year because of the potential impact of COVID-19 on restoration projects and on conservation district plant sales. Currently, sales volume is 68% of this time two years ago and 58% of this time last year. These sales figures are very concerning. It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to bring you conservation-grade plants ready to thrive in your project sites and in your customer's native landscapes.

In anticipation of reduced sales volume, WACD staff will expanding marketing efforts and look for ways to trim expenses. If there is a silver lining in this, it means that more plants are still available than would usually be the case in August. We encourage WACD member districts to place their plant orders as soon as possible.

4: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife will present a draft 25-year Strategic Plan

Please join us in hearing more about WDFW's draft 25-year Strategic Plan on Tuesday, August 18th at 1:30 p.m. The WDFW Draft 25-Year Strategic Plan is available to review prior to the webinar. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Tom Salzer or Ryan Baye at WACD, or with your Washington State Conservation Commission Regional Manager.

5: Save the date for WACD and Conservation Commission board meetings

Save the date to attend upcoming meetings of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts and the Washington State Conservation Commission:
  • September 15: WACD board of directors will hold an online-only meeting
  • September 17: WSCC will hold an online-only meeting

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

Last week I reported the passing of Pat O'Day, a cultural legend in the Pacific Northwest. This week I have the sad task of reporting to you that we lost a legend from within our Washington State conservation community: last week, Alan Stromberger passed away in his sleep.

Alan had deep roots in his community and was known for his involvement in many causes. Not only was Alan a Lincoln County Conservation District Supervisor for 25 years, he also served as a Fire Commissioner for over 30 years and served two terms on the Sprague School Board. He showed his neighbors how conservation practices like no-till seed application, the Conservation Reserve Program, and water quality efforts provided environmental and economic benefits for his Lincoln County farm and ranch.

Eventually his volunteering took him statewide. Alan served as President of WACD from 2013-2015 where he served our conservation district community very well.

One of his proudest accomplishments was navigating the corridors of Olympia and Washington D.C., working to eventually secure $2.5 million in local, state, and federal grants for a new fire station and emergency response center for Sprague (population - 450).

Alan seemed to know someone in every town from Spokane to Seattle. He had a million stories and somehow professionalized a two-piece suit and cowboy boots. He will be missed.

If you are interested in funeral arrangements or sending condolences, please contact Ryan Baye. You can find additional information about Alan on his LinkedIn profile.

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center

COVID-19 updateThe WACD PMC continues to adhere to all of the workplace COVID regulations. 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; the number of new cases exceeds the allowable number. We hope that there won't be a flareup of cases this fall or winter.

Crop Insurance – USDA has started offering crop insurance geared for the nursery industry. We are looking into how much it will cost and what it covers. Standard crop insurance would require a separate policy for each species we grow. The new program lumps similar species into policies into a single group for insurance coverage. In the PMC’s case, this means three different policies would be required: one for conifers, one for deciduous trees, and one for deciduous shrubs. The process is taking a while but we should have quotes in hand in September.

Shorter Days – The sun is rising later and setting sooner day by day and it is starting to become noticeable. That can only mean one thing: summer is waning. The push to increase growth on many of our species is being replaced by efforts to stop growth and induce dormancy. One way we do this is by drought stressing the plants. That means irrigating less. Most plant stock is irrigated enough to prevent foliage from drying out too much, maybe once a week. Irrigation should come to a stop by September.
Life Goes On – If summer is waning then autumn must be nearing. Propagation takes a front seat now. Seed collection and processing starts occupying a lot of our time. A lot of the seed that is being collected is planted in the fall. The seed sits in the ground all winter and by spring is ready to germinate. The soil needs to be prepped ahead of sowing dates which is a major focus right now. Cover crops have been incorporated into the soil and now the ground needs water in order to plow it properly. The photos above show the irrigation reel used to do this. It will take about a week to get soil moisture where we want it and with a lot of hard work and luck perhaps it will look like the field in the other photo by this time next year.

How You Can Support WCS at No Extra Cost

The Washington Conservation Society is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization formed to support conservation activities and natural resource education programs in Washington State. The WCS supports districts by acting as a pass-through entity for grants. The Leaving a Legacy book is published annually to memorialize late conservationists who have made a notable impact on the natural resources in Washington State.

Become a member, donate, or support WCS at no extra cost by purchasing goods through Amazon Smile. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

More from the WACD Executive Office

Annual conference platform selected - WACD will use Zoom to present the 2020 annual conference from Monday, November 30 through Wednesday, December 2. As we talked with many conservation district folks and with partners, Zoom emerged as the preferred choice. As all of us have become more accustomed to videoconferencing, a lesson learned is that seeing other participants is an important part of the experience. We will have the capacity to host up to 500 participants in the annual conference. We are still on track to publish the registration packet in mid-September.

Reminder: WACD annual awards! - 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.

In case you missed it: 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.

Links to what we are reading!

Links to information indicate interesting items we are reading. Inclusion of these links in this newsletter do not, however, imply WACD support or endorsement of particular positions or information. Some news sources may be behind paywalls.

Conservation & Natural Resources
Diveristy / Equity / Inclusion
  • Join YWCA Olympia for Rise Against Racism - YWCA - "We are excited to invite you to join us for Rise Against Racism, a month-long virtual challenge of learning, un-learning and reflection. Over 1 month, this free, virtual campaign will help participants learn about anti-racism, get clear on their personal, actionable anti-racism goals, and participate in a learning community focused around social justice. We will be unpacking dominant culture norms that often show up as barriers to meaningful social justice and anti-racism work. This is a powerful opportunity to plant seeds for the change that we so desperately need as a human community. This is a free program for adults and older teens."
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in Washington State - Municipal Research and Services Center - "MRSC has recently received inquiries from Washington State jurisdictions regarding race and social justice initiatives and policies. Nationwide protests, local activism, and the public’s involvement in local and national policy discourse have increased in recent months after the high-profile deaths of Black Americans in police custody and as Black Americans continue to experience racially motivated violence and discrimination. Some local governments are seeking to begin racial equity work, while others are looking to review existing policies with an equity lens. In response to this national and regional effort, this blog post provides resources and sample documents in use by local governments in Washington State. Initiatives in this blog include samples that are focused solely on racial equity, or more broadly on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)."
Washington State government
Interesting news beyond Washington State
News to help you smile
Partners and Associations (suggestions welcome)

WACD hears you and is here for you!

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