Five Things to Know

October 15, 2020

1. Area meetings are underway!

The North Central Area Association held their annual meeting on Tuesday and the Southwest Area Association held their annual meeting on Thursday. Three resolutions were adopted. Resolutions adopted by Area Associations are being posted to the For Members page on the WACD website, under the Resolutions tab.

Speaking of the For Members page, creating a members-only page on the WACD website appears to have been a good idea. Our most popular web page over the past week has been the For Members page. Please be sure to share the https://wadistricts.org/members and password (WACD1942) with your peers...and watch that space for more information!

2. Make your voice count

Please participate in the NACD DEI survey! – As of October 12th, only 12 responses to NACD's short survey have been received from across the entire country. Every individual in a conservation district may participate. This is a great opportunity to share your perspective and ideas with NACD. (Background: During the National Association of Conservation Districts’s 2020 Summer Board Meeting, the NACD Board of Directors took up, voted on, and approved a formal statement on diversity, equity and inclusion. The statement included creation of a task force to provide recommendations back to the board on DEI issues for NACD and the 3,000 conservation districts represented by NACD. NACD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force began work earlier this fall and needs feedback from conservation districts.) The NACD survey will take about five minutes to complete; find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZYGNSWD. This survey will remain open until October 23.

Should WDFW be added to the Commission? Do you think that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should have a voting seat on the Washington State Conservation Commission? This topic surfaced recently in the Capital Press: WDFW seeks seat on board overseeing conservation districts. The Commission has a survey out to collect the opinions from our conservation district community. Read more about it and then take the survey. The deadline for your input is October 30.

To date, no WACD award applications have been received! The State Conservation Commission is announcing their awards at area association meetings. You might have a conservation district supervisor, staff member, or district that has been recognized. Consider nominating one of our great folks from our conservation community for a WACD award. The WACD Annual Awards Program is now available. Nominations are due to Lori McLaughlin by October 30th and winners will be announced in coordination with the WACD annual conference.

3. PMC sales recovered but now some cancellations

The last sales report from 9/23/20 showed that WACD Plant Materials Center sales were $716,933, which had caught up to where they were last year. Since then there have been some cancellations, largely due to concerns about COVID-19. As of 10/13/20 sales stood at $704,337 so there was a $12,600 decrease from 9/23. That represents a 15% decrease in sales from the same time last year which was $822,741. Sales are above what they were at this time in 2018 which were $695,561. The PMC continues to work on marketing with the goal of increasing sales to at least comparable to the levels achieved last year.

4. WACD Board to meet November 16

The WACD Board of Directors will meet on November 16 to conduct regular Association business. This meeting would normally be held in conjunction with the WACD Annual Conference but this year, we felt that we could provide more value to conference registrants if we held the regular meeting early. Meeting information will be announced on the Board of Directors Meetings page two weeks before the board meeting on November 2nd, per WACD procedure.

5. Reminder: Please support WSCC budget packages

Three weeks ago, the Conservation Commission released fact sheets on the operating budget and the capital budget. We encourage conservation districts to express support for those budget proposals. To that end, we have a sample support letter available to help you in drafting your own letter. Letters of support should be submitted before October 30.

Four one-pagers for Area Association Meetings

We have four one-page briefs for review before you attend your Area Association meeting:
Please do reach out to Ryan or me if you have questions about any of these items.

Area Association Meetings in October

As is the case every year, fall is a busy time for WACD, members, and partners!
  • Completed: October 7: Northwest Area Association work session
  • Completed: October 13: North-Central Area Association
  • Completed: October 15: Southwest Area Association
  • October 20: Northeast Area Association
  • October 21: Northwest Area Association
  • October 28: Southeast Area Association
  • October 29: South Central Area Association

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

I'll keep my column shorter than usual this week for two reasons: (1) last week's column was awfully long, and (2) we know everyone is busy with conservation district board meetings, area meetings, and more.

WACD dues

Last week's column about WACD dues was a demonstration of my commitment to operate transparently and the feedback we received was...nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Your feedback is vitally important to how your Association functions. Just as important, we appreciate hearing from you. Please let us know if we're on the right track!

Area association meetings

One of the saddest moments for me this year was realizing that we would not be able to visit in person at area association meetings. I was really looking forward to that time together. Nevertheless, I am very happy to be able to attend area meetings, even if it is from my basement "troll hole" through a computer screen. Something is better than nothing!

The first two area meetings were held this week and went very well. One resolution was adopted at the North-Central Area Association meeting. You can find it on on the Members page (password WACD1942) under the Resolutions tab. The Southwest Area Association adopted two resolutions which we posted just moments ago.

Slack is about connecting and sharing

Especially useful for conservation districts is the Washington Conservation Society Slack account. As we head into a busy winter season, it is important that we stay in touch and share knowledge. Slack is one way to help us do that. Any member of the WCS Slack account can invite you to join, or shoot me an email so I can get you added. We don't want anyone to miss out on connecting with, helping, and learning from each other!

Help your peers get the 5 Things newsletter

We do want to share information with members. We do want all members to know what their Association is doing. Unfortunately, many folks have not yet subscribed to the 5 Things newsletter. If you know of peers who need the information we provide, please ask them to subscribe. The more people "in the know" and communicating, the stronger the Association becomes. It's easy to subscribe: just hit the Subscribe tab on the WACD website! (By the way, we also maintain an archive of prior 5 Things newsletters on the Members page. This is useful if you are someone who doesn't want to subscribe, because as soon as we publish the weekly newsletter, it becomes available on the Members page!)

That's all for now. We're busy. You're busy. Even though we are all busy, it's important to pause to recognize that we are all focused on serving our respective communities. The persistent care and commitment you show to your community is part of what makes our conservation district system so special and so effective. It is an honor to be part of your conservation world!

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

For Christmas, give the gift of Envirothon!

From our friends at the Washington Conservation Society: We ask you to consider designating the Washington Conservation Society as your AmazonSmile charity. Donations created from purchases made October 1, 2020 thru January 31, 2021 will go toward supporting the Washington State Envirothon. Recent budget cuts, COVID19, and other challenges have put the amazing Envirothon education program at risk. Please join WCS in supporting this wonderful and worthwhile program by giving the gift of the Envirothon for Christmas!

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center...

COVID-19 Update Skagit County is still in in phase 2 and all employees remain healthy. There have been 13 new cases in the county since Tuesday which makes going to phase 3 anytime soon unlikely. It also makes it likely that the current workplace regulations around COVID will need to be maintained and possibly enhanced. The PMC is continuing to adapt. There are new procedures for customers picking-up plants here, including not coming into the office and receiving the order in front of the packing shed from staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Customers will also not sign our copy of their pick slip.

Asian Giant Hornet – Over the course of this summer and fall the PMC has been participating in setting and maintaining traps for the potentially invasive Asian Giant Hornet. It has been seen in SW British Columbia and Whatcom County. It is considered an invasive threat to honey bee hives as well as to the health and safety of those living in affected areas. The trapping season is coming to an end and no hornets were spotted in Skagit County. There have been a few new reports of hornets being trapped in Whatcom County this summer but finding the nests they come from remains elusive. Hopefully theses nests will be found and eliminated before these invasive insects spread. The PMC will continue trapping next summer.

Willow Harvest Continues – The only plants the PMC harvests and ships this time of year are live stakes, particularly the Willow live stakes. A six-person crew has been brought in to process the cuttings. Demand for live stakes this time of year is down from recent years so it is not a problem keeping up with demand. If there are not any more requests for more stakes the crew will be done in about a week and laid off until more stakes are needed or the bare root harvest starts.

Life Goes On – By looking at the day length and weather it is obvious that fall is here. That is not so obvious by looking at the seedlings in the fields here. They are still pretty green and some continue to put on additional growth which is typical. The attached photos show a few things that need to shut down some more, including Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir.
WRC and WH 20201015-1024px
P-1 Doug Fir 20201015-1024px

More from the WACD Executive Office...

Advocacy and legislative priorities WACD will be holding a legislative priorities work session in November. When exactly will this be? That date is about to be set so stay tuned for more in the very near future.

Meanwhile, please do share your conservation district's legislative priorities with your Area Director. Your input will help inform the WACD Board as it works on legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative cycle. We'll bring the intermediate results of that work to the WACD annual conference so that resolutions and additional discussion can help to further refine WACD's legislative priorities.

We will be watching the November 3rd election returns very carefully! While WACD and our members are grappling with legislative priorities, the Governor will be evaluating what to include in his proposed budget that comes out in December. Once we see the outcomes of November elections, and hear your ideas on legislative priorities, and review the Governor's proposed budget, we'll have a better idea of what might be in store for conservation districts in the upcoming legislative session.

Links to what we are reading

Below are links to interesting items we are reading. Disclaimer: inclusion of these links in this newsletter do not imply official WACD support or endorsement of particular positions or information. Some news sources may be behind paywalls.

One website we ran across is very simple but oh so useful for the local community: the Ferry County View. It is deceptively basic and simple, but these characteristics are exactly what make it so easy to use. There's a lesson there that we've all heard before: keep it simple!

Conservation Community
Agriculture / Food
Budget / Economy
COVID / Pandemic
Diversity / Equity / Inclusion
These resources will also be added to the For Members page of the WACD website.
Health / COVID
Management / Leadership
Salmon / Orca / Fish Recovery
Technology / Cyber


Partners and Publications

This content has been moved to the WACD For Members page for the sake of brevity.

WACD hears you and is here for you!

We welcome your feedback.
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