Five Things to Know - July 2, 2020

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

Happy new year! Welcome to fiscal year 2021. July 1st marks the beginning of the fiscal year for WACD and the Conservation Commission.

This year is certainly not normal. COVID-19 has been an unwelcome surprise for all of us. While WACD pivots to respond to constantly changing conditions, one of our worries is how this situation is impacting our member districts.

WACD now has a budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 that depends substantially on conservation district dues. But with all the changes sparked by COVID-19, we have a greater level of uncertainty around how dues may impact members.

If your district is thinking of not supporting WACD this year, I ask that you please consider the role that WACD fills in contributing to your conservation districts's success. In difficult times like these, supporting your association is a key step your district can take to invest in success.

If you have concerns about your district's ability to pay WACD dues this year, please get in touch.

Tom Salzer
WACD hears you and we are here for you!

1: Part 1 of WACD strategic plan for review

Members told us to build a new strategic plan, so that is what we are doing! A work group has dived into this topic since the beginning of the year. Last week, the WACD Board of Directors approved sending draft mission, vision, and priorities (MVP) statements to members and partners for review and comment. The strategic plan will be built in two parts, each with three elements. The first part forms the foundation for the action-oriented second part of the plan. MVP statements will be formally adopted at the September 15th Board meeting. Learn more and submit comments through the WACD website.

2: PMC installing new software

The WACD Plant Materials Center is installing new nursery sales and inventory software. Sales Manager Jessica Oman has been working tirelessly to get the new software up and running in time for the new fiscal year. It should be completely ready to go in the next few days. The new software will make it easier to track and report plant availability.

3: Governor extends Safe Start proclamation by one week

Stay tuned to the Governor's website for news as updated Safe Start guidance will be issued at any moment. Find the news release about the extension at https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-extends-safe-start-proclamation-one-week.

4: Pacific Region check-in

Engage with peers across the Pacific Region! Join Ariel Rivers (National Association of Conservation Districts) and Pacific Region leaders for a check-in across the entire Pacific Region. Ariel wrote "please feel free to invite district or state association staff, or others, who may wish to join the call and engage with others across the Pacific Region."

Virtual board meetings is an agenda item topic along with diversity, equity, and inclusion. View the agenda here. This event requires pre-registration - register here.

5: Submit election comments

Don't miss your chance to express your thoughts on proposed changes to conservation district elections! In late May, the Conservation Commission posted proposed changes to conservation district elections at https://scc.wa.gov/elections_0520/. The public comment period is now open and WACD encourages you to submit your comments to the Commission. The link to do so is https://www.formstack.com/forms/?2726604-JfwJs6JKCL. There are also two opportunities to participate in public hearings on August 6th and August 11th.

POCD Seeks District Manager

The Pend Oreille Conservation District is seeking applicants for the position of District Manager. See the announcement on the WACD and SCC websites.

More from the Plant Materials Center

  • COVID-19 Update – We are not aware of any new COVID-19 regulations for the workplace this week. We have adapted to those posted last week and the week before and the crew is doing well with those procedures. Everyone at the PMC remains healthy. Skagit County is in Phase 2. They applied last week to go to Phase 3 but remain at Phase 2 due to a few too many new COVID-19 cases over the preceding two weeks.
  • It’s a New Fiscal Year – Fiscal Year 2019-20 ended on June 30. As challenging as FY 2019-20 was, this year could be even more difficult. The biggest concern of course is the potential for COVID-19 to return with a vengeance. Hopefully that does not happen but to manage potential fiscal impacts on the PMC, we will contain spending as much as possible while still maintaining production. New orders continue to come in. We hope for a year with outstanding production and increased sales.
  • It’s Been Wet – June was the wettest month since February which was a very wet month. The PMC received 3.42” of rain last month. Many of the species here don’t mind the recent weather and some are growing very well, some perhaps too well. Some are getting a bit large for this time of year. Things dry out in July so the size of some plants can be contained and diseases such as powdery mildew and rust can be more easily controlled.
  • Life Goes On - The wet weather is beneficial for one cultural practice we are currently involved in. That is root pruning or undercutting (see photo). It involves a specialized implement designed to cut the root tips off of plants while they are growing in the ground. The root pruner has a blade that goes into the ground. The depth is adjusted so that only the root tips are cut off. Removing the root tips helps form a more fibrous root system. It is these smaller lateral roots that provide most of the uptake of nutrients and moisture, which makes for a more survivable and vigorous plant.
Root Pruning 7.1.20-1024px
If too much of the root is cut off the plants could die. There is some risk involved but producing a plant that can survive harsh restoration sites is important.

More from the Executive Office

  • Part 1 of Strategic Plan approved for comment - The WACD Board of Directors approved sending the new mission, vision, and priorities (MVP) statements to members and partners for review and comment. Part 2 will contain proposed goals, actions, and a scorecard (GAS). These elements will be presented at the September 15th Board meeting for approval to go out for review and comment. We expect to have a draft plan available at area meetings this fall. Both parts will be reviewed again in December when final adoption of the WACD strategic plan is expected. Once the strategic plan is adopted we will begin work on a comprehensive business plan for the Association.
  • Quarterly meeting of Conservation Partnership held - WACD meets with representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Washington State Conservation Commission four times a year. That meeting was held this week and was well attended. Thank you to the Conservation Commission for hosting this quarter's meeting and to meeting host Shana Joy for a well-organized, well-delivered session.
  • Next regular WACD Board meeting September 15th - Topics planned for the September Board meeting include: formally adopting the first three elements of the strategic plan (mission, vision, priorities) and approving the final three elements (goals, actions, scorecard) to go to members and partners for comment; and reviewing financial reserves and related policies.
  • Budget package development has started - The Conservation Commission has started developing decision packages for the 21-23 biennium in advance of the FY 20-21 legislative session. This work is based on feedback from districts and the vote at the May 2020 Conservation Commission meeting. Conservation Commission staff members are reaching out to districts who have expressed interest in particular topics. WACD is engaged in the budget development process.

    Specific packages being developed in the operating budget include Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) this will include Engineering, Livestock TA, Forest/Range Health and Food Security & Systems, Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP), Food Policy. Packages in the capital budget include Natural Resource Investments (NRI), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP TA and CREP Cost Share), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), Shellfish, and Irrigation Efficiencies.
  • Northwest Drought Workshop to be held July 28, 29, and 30 - The USDA Northwest Climate Hub and National Drought Mitigation Center are hosting a Northwest Drought Workshop via three virtual sessions on 28 & 30 July 2020. This event is for aimed at USDA agency staff (NRCS, FSA, RD, RMA, FS, etc.) and Federal Partner’s including Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Councils, Tribes, University Extension, and other State and Federal Agencies.
    The objectives of these workshops are to get a better sense of drought and how it’s monitored, impacts of drought and interconnections in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, as well as share information and resources to raise awareness about drought and lead to changes in response to dry conditions in the region.

    Intended outcomes include: Increasing drought impact reporting; remaining informed on drought status; developing a summary of information shared for adapting to drought conditions; and identifying participant-driven next steps and needs.
    The first session will be held on 28 July from 8 am - 11 am PT. The second session will be held on 30 July 8 am - 11 am PT. The third session will be held on 30 July 1 pm - 4 pm PT.

    Learn more and register via this link. You are welcome to register for as many of the workshops as you'd like, however, attendance is limited, so sign up as soon as possible to secure a spot.
  • Help WDFW with their strategic plan - The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is seeking public feedback on ways to improve outcomes for Washington fish, wildlife, and people. Lend your voice by participating in their poll at (https://poll.app.do/sm-1-strategic-plan-2929980)

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