NACD Tours Caribbean Territories

This week, leaders and staff from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) are in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands meeting with conservation districts and government officials to learn more about their resource concerns as well as how the islands are recovering from Hurricane Maria.

On Monday, NACD President Brent Van Dyke, Southeast Region Executive Board Member Jim Harreld, Director of Projects and Partnerships Rich Duesterhaus, Southeast Region Representative Phylis Vandevere and Director of Communications Stephanie Addison along with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Caribbean Area Director Edwin Almodovar visited with conservation district representatives and partners to learn more about some of the specific projects underway in the area. The team also had the opportunity to meet with the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores Ortega and representatives from Governor Ricardo Rossello's office to further discuss the island's ongoing conservation efforts and how they are recovering after Hurricane Maria.

To learn more about Monday's meetings with districts and partners, click here to read Brent's blog recap of the day.

Today, the team traveled to Hucar, Salinas, where members from the East and Southeast Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) gave presentations on the unique work their districts are doing to help address the issue of farmers being unable to sow their land due to the lack of water. The team also toured two different Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program sites (pictured) the Caribe SWCD is leading. Through a contractor, the folks from Caribe have helped clear out debris and brush to enable water to flow through culverts downstream to stop the flooding occurring in the area.

While they still have a long way to go, the island is hard at work addressing the damage. Stay tuned for more updates on our Flickr page, on social media using the hashtag #ConservationInTheCaribbean and on our blog, including today's update from Jim Harreld discussing the significance of Puerto Rico's membership and how important it is for the territories to take advantage of their seat at the table.

NACD Government Affairs Update

On Wednesday, June 20, the Senate voted to block the Administration’s $15 billion recissions proposal. The proposal could have cut millions from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, including $157 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The House of Representatives passed their version of the farm bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) on Thursday, June 21. Click here to read NACD’s statement applauding the passage of the farm bill.

On the evening of June 25, the Senate voted to proceed with the Senate’s farm bill, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Senators are currently preparing amendments to the bill and have already begun floor debate. If the Senate farm bill passes, the two chambers of Congress will meet in conference to reconcile the differences between the two farm bills over the next few months before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.

Recognize Leaders in Conservation

Do you have an outstanding conservation leader in your community? Take this opportunity to show your appreciation for their work and dedication by sending in a nomination for one of the many national conservation awards NACD offers. Deadlines for submissions are quickly approaching.

  • The Pollinator Partnership and NACD are seeking nominations for the 2018 Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award recognizing a farmer or rancher who is making a difference for pollinators in the way they manage their operations. Please visit the Pollinator Partnership website for the nomination form, and submit your nominations by next Friday, July 6.
  • The NACD Friend of Conservation Award recognizes an individual, business, organization or agency outside the association for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources. The award recipient will be honored at the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in February. Click here to learn more and submit your nomination. Nominations are due Aug. 31.
  • The NACD Distinguished Service Award honors an individual within the association, conservation district or state association that has made significant contributions to the conservation and proper management of our nation’s natural resources. The award recipient will be recognized at the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to learn more and submit your nomination. Nominations are due Aug. 31.
  • The Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award is presented to an up-and-coming leader who demonstrates excellence in promoting and leading voluntary conservation on private lands. Nominations should be submitted in coordination with the state conservationist and state partner leaders and are due Nov. 27. For more information, please visit the NACD website.

  • Through the Hugh Hammond Bennett Excellence in Conservation Award, the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP) recognizes individuals at the local, state and national level for extraordinary achievements in and contributions to the soil and water conservation movement in the United States. This award will be presented at the 2019 NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in February. For more information on the process and criteria for nominations, please visit the NACD website.

Time is running out to register for summer meeting

The 2018 NACD Conservation Forum and Tour and Southeast Region Meeting is quickly approaching, and there’s only a few weeks left to complete your registration and hotel reservations. All arrangements must be made by Friday, July 13.

Make sure that your registration includes a ticket to the Hall of Fame luncheon on Monday, Aug. 6. The Hall of Fame luncheon is a staple of the Southeast Region Meeting and features the NACD Southeast Conservation Hall of Fame awards program. The annual awards program recognizes individuals from the nine-state, two-territory region who have made significant contributions to soil and water conservation to help ensure proper management of our nation’s natural resources. One individual from each state or territory is inducted each year. If your registration doesn’t cover a ticket, you can purchase additional luncheon tickets, or purchase ticket for guests. Click here to learn more and to review the registration form.

Call for urban and community conservation webinar presentations

Since 2012, the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group (RPG) has partnered with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in offering monthly urban and community conservation webinars. These webinars cover a variety of topics with districts and businesses sharing their projects, programs and resources and are held 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET on the third Thursday of each month. View a full list of past webinars, as well as links to presentation PDFs and archived webinar recordings on NACD’s website.

The RPG is now seeking your input for the series beginning in October 2018. Help us design webinars that help you! Please take a moment to:

  1. Offer to give a presentation, and/or

  2. Tell us the urban and community conservation topics/issues and/or speakers you would like to have covered.

Send a brief paragraph describing the programs, projects or speakers you would like to see showcased to Deb Bogar by June 30.

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