2022 » September 2022

WACD Operational Status: September 2022

*** DRAFT ***

The information on this page is intended for WACD members and partners.

COMMITTEES

Officer Recruitment Committee
We are now two months ahead of area association meetings. This is a good time to work on officer recruitment.
Harmful Algae Blooms Work Group
The HABs Work Group is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, August 10th, at 9 am.

PARTNERSHIPS / PARTNERS

Washington State Conservation Commission
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Washington Farm Forestry Association
★ Other State CD Associations

The Executive Director of the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts has left CARCD. While they have not published a recruitment for the ED position, it appears they have not filled it yet.

The Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts will be retiring. They have retained Cascade Employers Association to handle the recruitment for an ED, with the hope that the person will be able to start by January 1, 2023. OACD plans to overlap the last few months of the current ED’s term with the new ED. The formal recruitment has not yet been published.

FARM BILL

COMMUNICATION & DATA

★ Newer District Directory Published
An updated District Director was published at the beginning of August with another update published on August 30th. Find it at https://hub.wadistricts.org/resources/contacts/ where you will need a password. (We use a simple password to help block robots that skim contact information from web-based content so that bad actors can spam you.)

The password is eight characters long and is formed by the abbreviation (all in capital letters) for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts and the year that WACD was formed. This year, we celebrate the 80th anniversary of WACD’s formation in 1942. If those clues don’t help you figure out the password, just drop a note to Tom or Ryan at to get it!

★ How many people on committees?
During a wrap-up annual plan session with Josh Monaghan, we wondered how many people from our community are actually serving on WACD committees, work groups, and task forces. The answer? 48!

See the list at: https://hub.wadistricts.org/status/all-committees/.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

★ DEI resource page
We have published a page of links to resources about diversity, equity, and inclusion at: https://hub.wadistricts.org/resources/dei/. This page and the information on it help to satisfy the first two action steps in our DEI Action Plan.

The three-year action plan recommended by the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was adopted last year by the WACD Board of Directors. Tasks in Year #1 are:

  1. WACD to compile, and make available to interested conservation districts, a list of resources and best practices for equity, community engagement, and outreach with underrepresented communities.
  2. WACD will develop a central repository where member conservation districts can access resources, tools, and best practices.
  3. WACD to engage with the State Office of Equity and learn what existing support WACD and conservation districts may be able to receive from the State.

Find WACD’s three-year action plan and policy: https://hub.wadistricts.org/wacd/committees/cdei/

★ Ad hoc inclusion team
Tom is working with an informal group he is calling the “Inclusion Team.” Team members are reviewing content for the DEI resources web page and offering suggestions to help make this centralized suite of resources more effective.

Members include (in no particular order):

  • Alex Case-Cohen (Pend Oreille CD)
  • Ashley Smithers (Clark CD)
  • Bill Blake (Skagit CD)
  • Brandy Reed (Whatcom CD)
  • Dana Coggon (Pierce CD)
  • Linda Lyshall (Snohomish CD)
  • Rosa Mendez (King CD)
  • Sarah Moorehead (Thurston CD)

In addition, Tom has invited engagement with NRCS and the Conservation Commission.

CONSERVATION DISTRICT MEETINGS

★ Kitsap CD
Tom attended the Kitsap CD’s meeting. Photos from that visit are in an album viewable at https://photos.app.goo.gl/4kR8tfgjCYGzvfyK7.

AREA ASSOCIATION MEETINGS

★ Area association web pages
The web pages for area association information are available at https://hub.wadistricts.org/annual/2022meetings/areas/. Information there will be updated over the next few weeks. Four of the six host districts have set their dates and locations.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE & BUSINESS MEETING

★ Annual conference web pages
Early in August, we’ll put together the framework of web pages for the WACD annual conference and business meeting. The draft pages are based on the 2021 pages and we’ll get the 2022 versions cleaned up over the next few weeks.

Wenatchee Convention Center
We have a proposed contract in hand but it doesn’t include a planned Monday morning session for new supervisors. We are working on getting this revised.
The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel
Tom signed the contract for the hotel on August 8th. We are guaranteeing a minimum of 50 rooms per night.
Potential speakers for WACD Annual Conference
Potential speakers so far:

  • Addie Candib, American Farmland Trust — AFT is working on the issue of converting farmland to solar farms. Tom asked if Addie would be interested and she said yes.
  • Elaine Oneil, Washington Farm Forestry Association — WFFA would like more contact with conservation districts to leverage the trust-based relationships CDs have with private forestland owners and because of wildfire concerns. Tom asked if Elaine would be interested and she said yes.

We should focus our thinking on some specific issues that are important and timely for our community. The first two that come to mind are (1) loss of farmland and (2) wildfire. It might help build/strengthen partnership if we could pair external guest speakers with knowledgeable folks from our community (conservation district, Commission, NRCS, FSA, Extension).

We invite your suggestions, too. Contact information is at the bottom of this page.

AGREEMENTS

Brynn Brady
On August 1, Tom signed a new contract with Ceiba Consulting Inc. (Brynn Brady). The term is July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Old Lincoln
The old Lincoln’s battery that we thought was dead was just flat. AAA came out and tested it, said the battery is fine. Jump started the Lincoln. Ryan drove it to Bow on August 10th with Tom following in the Honda. The Lincoln is now housed at the PMC.
★ New Honda
The Honda CR-V color was changed to white with an ivory interior so that we could take delivery early in August.

We expected the car to be ready around August 6 but got the call a few days before then that it was in. Ryan and Tom drove to West Hills Honda in Bremerton, and after several hours, drove away with a 2022 Honda CR-V AWD Hybrid in Touring trim.

Tom approved purchasing a 7-year, 100,000-mile extended service contract on the vehicle to cover our exposure to a major repair that falls outside the factory warranty period.

LOCATIONS

Olympia office lease
HVAC system in the building needs some work but it should not disrupt WACD-Oly operations.
Olympia staff
Tom will take some random days off this month and then at least a week in September.
★ Grant awarded for PMC project
John Knox writes that he was awarded a grant from the Washington Native Plant Society earlier in the year. It is to scale up his gravel bed project. He has been working on it for a couple seasons and we have plants for sale out of it for the first time this year. Next year there will be five times as many plants that will be available for fall planting. One of the best parts about this is that the gravel beds are stocked with the previous season’s harvested plants that would otherwise be surplus. This way, we can retain the plants’ value and have them availble for fall planting projects.

From the grant summary: “This project will fund the installation of a Missouri Gravel Bed to facilitate increased production of deciduous trees and shrubs for conservation projects. Missouri Gravel Beds allow for the growing of bareroot plants and extend the transplant window to include fall as well as winter. Public benefit includes better availability, reduction of cost, and an increased success rate when plants are transplanted for restoration projects. A workshop will also be held to educate others on Missouri Gravel Beds.

Project Scope: A 216 sf planting bed producing up to 5,000 plants available for fall planting annually.”

★ Conversation about CD order fulfillment
A district manager complained to Tom that by the time they order plants, some of the species they want are sold out. This was viewed by the manager as being unfair to conservation districts and the suggestion was made to give districts an early, exclusive ordering window. In discussion with WACD Director of Nursery Operations Jim Brown, Tom and Jim decided to prompt conservation districts to order early. That will disrupt nursery operations the least while still giving districts a reasonable opportunity to secure their plants.

Of course, if plants for projects could be grown under contract with the PMC, that reduces WACD’s risk and eliminates the concern about having the right species available for a particular project. While such projects are funded by state operating funds, it will be hard for districts to contract for future plants. If more project work can be funded with capital dollars, that might pave the way for districts to contract for future production.

Plant Materials Center updates
Find published updates on the WACD PMC at: https://hub.wadistricts.org/topics/wacd/pmc/

WACD LINKS

Also:

The Pulse

Updates to the District Directory were covered last month.

Always yours for conservation,

Tom Salzer, Executive Director