2023 » 03 March 2023

WACD Operations for March 2023

The information on this page is intended for WACD members and partners. For 2023, information will be reported weekly.

Week 9, February 27-March 3: Board meeting / CD meetings

Week 9, February 27 – March 3

WACD Board meeting

The WACD Board of Directors held a business meeting on Monday, February 27. This meeting was originally scheduled for February 20 but President Mumford chose to delay it because folks who went to the NACD Annual Meeting were still catching up on work that piled up while away. Board meeting documents are available in a Box.com folder.

Conservation district meetings

On Wednesday, Ryan attended the Jefferson County Conservation District board meeting in person. District Manager Joe Holtrop said this in an email to Ryan: “I just wanted to say thank you for coming to our meeting yesterday. Your input was very helpful, more helpful than any input I think we’ve received since, well, actually since I can’t remember when.”

On Thursday, Tom attended the Clark Conservation District board meeting in person. This is a breakfast meeting that starts at 7:15 am. They are pretty strict about getting their work done within two hours, and they kept to that by adjourning at 9:15 am.


With the frantic pace of business at the Legislature, we have gotten a bit off schedule with the Five Things newsletter the past two weeks. Our goal is to publish on Thursday so that people can read the newsletter on Friday and digest that information over the weekend. For the past two weeks, we’ve published on Friday. We are striving to get back on our preferred schedule of publishing on Thursday.


Our website host, Weblinx, upgraded the WACD Hub website to a newer version of PHP PHP is the code that WordPress runs on; WordPress is what we use as a content management system for this website. This change allowed us to fix a few long-standing problems with incompatible plugins on the Hub.

Week 10, March 6-10: District issues / Ryan goes to Washington

Week 10, March 6 – 10

Conservation district issues

WACD Board members and staff are getting calls from conservation districts about concerns with how grants are being administered by the Conservation Commission. Tom will be communicating this to SCC ED Chris Pettit this week.

Ryan goes to Washington

Ryan is heading to Washington, D.C., for his AgForestry course. Tom asked him to stay over a few days and join the NACD Fly-in team from Washington. This means he’ll be away from Washington State for two weeks.

Week 11, March March 13-17: Attorney call / Board meeting prep / Commission meeting

Week 11, March 13 – 17

Ryan was in Washington, D.C. for AgForestry and Tom was holding down the fort in Olympia.

  • Monday, March 13: Tom published Ryan’s weekly Legislative Update.
  • Tuesday, March 14:
    • Tom spoke with an attorney about the Skagit CD request to use some of the nursery land for an office facility. Because the attorney had experience providing advice to port districts, Tom also discussed with him the possibility of WACD retaining the firm to provide counsel to conservation districts.
    • Final planning for the Board’s Monday, March 20 work session was completed. Tom spent quite a bit of time preparing a “briefing memo” to help the board be more prepared for work session discussions.
  • Wednesday, March 15: Tom attended the Pierce CD annual meeting and presented Stu Trefry with the WACD Associate Supervisor of the Year award. He then drove late to Everett.
  • Thursday, March 16: Tom attended the State Conservation Commission meeting in person. Because that meeting extended later than expected, Tom extended his stay in the Hotel Indigo. This allowed him to get the weekly Five Things published on time. Late that evening, he also sent out the Executive Committee agenda and meeting information.
  • Friday, March 17: Tom participated in the Executive Committee call. Ryan was not available. Later that morning, CD managers had a statewide call in which they discussed the Commission’s action taken Thursday. Commission staff canceled the scheduled weekly Legislative Team meeting.
Week 12, March 20-24: District issues / Ryan goes to Washington

Week 12, March 20 -24

  • Monday, March 20: WACD work session was well attended by board members. Three individuals presented updates on four conservation districts. Good discussion was had on financial concerns. Lobbyist Brynn Brady updated the board. Tom is uncertain whether the briefing memo he produced was viewed as helpful by board members.
  • Tuesday, March 21: Tom facilitated the WACD Sustainable Funding Committee meeting. Also worked on WACD budget.
  • Wednesday, March 22:
    • Tom attended the Washington Conservation Society meeting where Heather McCoy provided excellent information on growing the Society’s membership.
    • Tom facilitated the WACD Livestock Task Force meeting. Many concerns about Ecology’s activities were expressed, so Tom reached out to Sheila Marcoe (ECY) on the issues raised.
    • This is the first of two days of NACD Spring Fly-in. Ryan has booked numerous meetings with the Washington State congressional delegation and/or their staffers.
    • Tom wrote and published Ryan’s weekly Legislative Update.
    • Tom developed much of the Five Things newsletter for publication tomorrow.
  • Thursday, March 23:
    • Tom to meet with Nick Vira (NRCS) about how WACD can assist NRCS. For many years, NRCS provided grants to WACD to help us operate. These dried up and Tom is looking to this source to help find funding to increase WACD capacity.
    • The Spring Fly-in concludes on Thursday and Ryan heads home. I told him to stay away from the office and come back rested on Monday.
    • Five Things published with late-breaking news (positive!) about funding included in the Senate’s proposed Operating budget.
    • The Conservation Commission hosted a productive roundtable conversation with conservation districts.
    • Between meetings, Tom made a local working copy of the Hub website to (a) explore where we can streamline content and (b) as a backup for the live website.
  • Friday, March 24: This will be a light day, although there is likely to be an SCC/WACD Legislative Team meeting to discuss bills and budgets. Monday through Thursday are all long work days.
Week 13, March 27-31: Ryan returns! / Website woes / State budgets / Special meeting

Week 13, March 27-31

Ryan returns

We are happy to have Ryan back in Washington State. While we were able to maintain most of WACD’s work while he was away, his absence was definitely felt. Tom booked more hours than usual, partly because Ryan was helping to move our important issues forward in the other Washington, and partly because some momentous things happened here in state.

Website woes

Tom spent some time over the past weekend to develop a backup website for the Hub. The WACD Hub has become an important communication tool and a central repository of information for our members and partners. It has been going offline more and more often over the past many months, and the frequency of being offline is increasing. On weekends, the Hub commonly goes offline several times, often for an hour or more each time. Downtime used to be limited to the weekend but since last September or so we’ve been seeing the Hub go offline during the work week, most often on Monday but not confined to only Monday. As an as-time-permits project, Tom will explore other hosting possibilities.

State budgets

The House budgets were published on Monday, March 27. We now know what the Senate proposes and what the House proposes. In general, the Senate proposals look more favorable for our community. There are a few items in the House budgets that are missing from the Senate budgets. We will address this in a proposed letter from districts to legislators involved in budget conference discussions.

Special meeting on Wednesday

President Mumford has called a special meeting for noon on Wednesday to take action on the Executive Director’s request for authorization to purchase certificates of deposit using funds from the Banner Bank accounts.

Note about WACD capacity

Note about WACD capacity

With just two of us in the Executive Office, we are limited in how much work we can accomplish. Some needs we aren’t able to move forward very well due to capacity limitations include:

  1. Building partnerships. We should be developing relationships with Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, the Washington Native Plant Society, Washington Farm Forest Association, Society for Range Management, and many others. We should be more directly engaged in the Washington Conservation Society and Washington Association of District Employees.
  2. Developing funding opportunities for WACD. Think of this as “business development.” In the past, we’ve focused on the sale of plants and on grants. We need to devote more time to seeking grant support in order to add capacity to WACD.
  3. Strengthening relationships with member districts. Staff are pulled in many different directions, making it difficult to be present at district meetings. Attending meetings demonstrates respect and provides value to members.
  4. Strengthening relationships with agencies and elected. We can’t depend on having a good contract lobbyist forever, so for resiliency, we should also be developing key relationships and having a presence during some legislative discussions.
  5. Enhancing our resiliency. All employees are temporary. At present, we don’t have backup for Tom and Ryan.