NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, will be held Feb. 2-6, 2019 at the Marriott Rivercenter. During the week in Texas, meeting-goers will have the opportunity to attend nine diverse tours and events exploring the vast natural resources of the Lone Star State.

Tour-goers will learn about Texas’ unique natural resource challenges and conservation practices. Visit The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment with the National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA) to explore the intricate waterways of San Marcos Springs on glass-bottomed boats (pictured) and learn about the region’s biodiversity.

Join the NACD Auxiliary to tour Texas' Natural Bridge Caverns, formed over thousands of years by single drops of water. At the end of the week, the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) will host the “Protecting the Alamo City from Flooding” event, where meeting-goers will learn how the San Antonio River Authority manages the San Antonio River, protecting the city's infrastructure, population and wildlife while improving water quality and quantity.

Learn more about all nine events and tours on the 2019 Annual Meeting Tours webpage and view the draft meeting agenda.


On Oct. 1-3, NACD President Brent Van Dyke (pictured), President-elect Tim Palmer, CEO Jeremy Peters and Director of Projects and Partnerships Rich Duesterhaus joined other conservation partner leaders from across the country in Syracuse, N.Y., for the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) Annual Meeting.

Van Dyke, Palmer and Peters provided NASCA members an update on NACD’s work on behalf of the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, highlighting the current and future importance of the national conservation partnership and locally-led conservation delivery.

Other presenters included NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan, National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA) President Tim Riley, National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (NARC&DC) President William Hodge, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball and Field to Market President Rod Snyder. NASCA also hosted a tour focused on “Conservation in the Finger Lakes.” Photos and presentations from the annual meeting will be posted on conservationconference.com.


The National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) Leadership Team met last Thursday in Syracuse, N.Y., following NASCA's Annual Meeting. President Brent Van Dyke and President-elect Tim Palmer participated in the NCPP meeting, along with leaders from NCDEA, NASCA, NRCS and NARC&DC. NACD CEO Jeremy Peters and Director of Projects and Partnerships Rich Duesterhaus also attended and contributed to discussions on locally-led conservation.

The group discussed planning for the second year of a Hugh Hammond Bennett Prize for Excellence, along with a new award for a conservation planner of the year. Information on submitting award nominations will be distributed nationally.

The meeting included an update on the planned NRCS reorganization effective Oct. 28, as well as the transition to the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) on Oct. 14. The conservation delivery partners received a briefing on an upcoming conservation application ranking tool (CART), built from work on the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) over the last three years. NACD and NRCS will include more information on this new tool during the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, as well as during the next few months as it is developed and refined.

During the meeting, the leadership team reviewed findings from the NCPP listening sessions held this past year. A final session is scheduled for October in Casper, Wyo. NCPP will prepare and release a detailed partnership update to all state partners, as well as a summary report of responses to the listening sessions held over the course of the past year.


In 2017, the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) located in Southern California received funding through NACD’s Urban Agriculture Conservation (UAC) Initiative. Through this grant, IERCD developed a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, designed specifically for lower income communities to ensure residents have access to affordable, local produce.

In August of 2017, the IERCD hired a CSA coordinator who improved and expanded the program. The Huerta del Valle Community Garden grows and sources all of the produce for the CSA, which has enabled the program to feed 60 families. CSA members receive fresh boxes each week that include seasonal produce, such as kale, sweet potatoes, onions, apples and pomegranates. Nutritional information and recipe cards are included to introduce healthy new recipes and encourage members to prepare meals using seasonal vegetables.

The IERCD organized several successful workshops through UAC grant funds. Each of these events had roughly 60 attendees, and workshop topics included cooking with herbs, nutritional cooking, food preservation, and mushroom cultivation for community members. Other workshops were organized by the coordinator to advertise the resources and support available through NRCS. The University of California Riverside’s Plant Pathology Department and the San Bernardino County Master Gardeners hosted workshops on irrigation water management and pest management. These workshops resulted in new connections with area farmers and additional contracts and technical assistance provided by NRCS.

The IERCD and its farmers and residents have benefited greatly from the UAC Grant and look forward to continuing work on this project.

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