By Beth Mason

Did you know that in 2014, NACD received an NRCS grant to develop a comprehensive outreach plan for soil health? In the past two years, NACD has grown its Soil Health Champions Network to include over 150 landowners and land managers from 37 states. (Read more about the agreement that helped establish the Network here on NACD’s blog.)

Soil Health Champions are early adopters of soil conservation practices like cover crops, intensive rotational grazing, no-till, strip till, and diverse crop rotation. NACD’s champs use these management tools to improve the quality and productivity of their own soils, and promote the benefits of adopting these practices through regular community outreach. (Interested in learning more about how you or someone you know can get involved in the Network? Click here!)

Did you know that any individual, state, agency, or district can write a “Did You Know” article? The last Tuesday of each month, “Did You Know” is featured on NACD’s blog and in eResource. If you have comments or questions on this month’s, or suggestions for future editions, contact NACD Southeast Representative Phylis Vandevere.

Conservation districts to lead record 25 RCPP projects in 2017

Over $46 million in federal funds will be awarded to 25 district-led conservation projects through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in 2017, setting a program record for conservation district leadership. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) congratulates both the districts selected to lead these 25 projects and those that will play crucial support roles as partners on other RCPP projects in the new year.

“Conservation districts are natural RCPP partners,” said NACD President Lee McDaniel. “Districts are professional innovators, experienced collaborators, and natural resource experts that have been working with landowners to put conservation on the ground since the days of the Dust Bowl.”

Check out NACD’s press release on the RCPP funding announcement for snapshots of four 2017 RCPP projects led by conservation districts.

Mark your calendars: NACD's January U&C Webinar

The first NACD Urban and Community Conservation webinar of the new year will address “Locally Led Outreach in Urban and Community Areas” on January 19, 2017 from noon to 1:00pm Eastern.

Urban and rural districts gather public input to design programs and services through countywide assessments, networking, and collaboration with NGOs, coalitions, and advisory committees. New York SWCD of New York, Clay County SWCD of North Carolina, Jefferson CD of Colorado, Ciudad SWCD of New Mexico, and Thurston CD of Washington will give short presentations on their outreach methods.

These popular webinars, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but be sure to register by emailing NACD Senior Advisor Debra Bogar at with your name, title, district or business name, and state.

Administration releases final CCAA rule and Policy

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (the Services) published in the Federal Register several ESA related final actions. USFWS finalized its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP) and a rule revising the regulations for Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs). The Services also released a joint CCAA policy revision.

NACD is currently reviewing the finalized actions and will release a more detailed statement upon completion of the review. In October, while the CMP was under public review, NACD submitted comments which can be found here.

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