Gearing Up for Stewardship Week

NACD and conservation districts across the country are gearing up for the 2016 Stewardship Week taking place April 24-May 1. This year’s theme is We All Need Trees, which comes at a critical time as our nation’s forests have suffered from some of recent history’s most devastating wildfires.  

To help kick-off the week, NACD will be hosting an event on the National Mall in Washington D.C., Tuesday, April 26 from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM ET. The event will showcase NACD’s Stewardship materials, general information about NACD, as well as materials provided by our partners and local conservation districts. All are welcome to stop by and help us celebrate Stewardship Week!  

NACD initiated Soil and Water Stewardship Week in 1955 to promote personal and social responsibility and the duty of all people to learn about and improve natural resources for future generations. Stewardship Week has grown to be one of the world’s largest conservation-related observances. Conservation districts across the U.S. hold conservation and stewardship field days, programs, workshops and other outreach events throughout their communities to educate citizens about the need to care for our shared natural resources.  

Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world.  

More information about Stewardship Week and materials for this year’s theme We All Need Trees, can be found on NACD’s website or by clicking here.  

Let us know your plans for Stewardship Week this year! Share your events with NACD on Facebook or Twitter or email details to

NACD Calls for Support for Senator Barrasso’s Invasive Species Bill

NACD recently submitted a letter to Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell, the Chairman and Ranking Member (respectively) of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, urging support of Senator Barrasso’s bill S.2240, the Federal Lands Invasive Species Control, Prevention and Management Act.  

The proposed bill would facilitate greater collaboration and cooperation between and across agencies and entities and help alleviate undue barriers to the work of fighting invasive species locally, state-wide, regionally and at the national level.  

NACD applauds and supports S. 2240 for its emphasis on the importance of using invasive species funds for on-the-ground control and management; its inclusion of Categorical Exclusions for use in high-risk invasive encroachment scenarios; increased focus on collaboration between the USDA and the Department of Interior with stat, local, and tribal experts; emphasis on the importance of cooperative agreements and MOUs as effective management plans; and target goal of five percent annual reduction in invasive species.  

Click here to read NACD’s full press release.


House Agriculture Appropriations Mark Up

On April 13, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies held a markup of the fiscal year 2017 (FY17) agriculture appropriations bill. While the bill does not meet NACD’s priority requests, some of the bill’s more positive highlights include:  

  • $855.256 million for Conservation Operations 
  • $12 million for Watershed Dam Rehabilitation 
  • $5 million for the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP)

In its present form, the bill does not include watershed operations funding, reduces the Conservation Stewardship Program from 10 million acres to 8 million acres for FY17 and caps the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) at $1.425 billion, $225 million below the authorized level in the 2014 Farm Bill. NACD remains actively opposed to these proposed cuts and has joined with numerous organizations in sending letters to House appropriators. 

The House Committee on Appropriations began work on a full committee markup of the FY17 agriculture appropriations bill earlier today, April 19, but as of press time no substantial changes had been made to the bill’s conservation provisions. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to begin work on its version of the FY17 agriculture bill. 

Soil Health and Cover Crops Outdoor Learning Sessions

The Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (Marion County SWCD)and Indy Urban Acres sponsored a Soil Health and Cover Crops Outdoor Learning Session on on the east side of Indianapolis, Indiana. The county is mostly urban so the learning session focused mainly on bringing together local growers to better understand what cover crops are and how they can help repair urban soils. 

Kevin Allison, the Marion County SWCD Urban Soil Health Specialist and Tyler Gough, manager of Indy Urban Acres and NACD Soil Health Champion, showcased four types of cover crops: oats, cereal rye, clover, and hairy vetch. They discussed the cover crops’ different seeding needs, variable root systems, how they can be eliminated, and their effects on the nitrogen in the fields they cover. For the average urban grower starting their community garden, this was an opportunity to take their plans a step further to not merely provide for their community, but do so in a responsible and conservation-minded way.  

Indy Urban Acres is an 8-acre strip of land alongside Interstate 70 which was partially used to stage construction vehicles for interstate repair in the past, but has since be reclaimed for urban farming with help from the Indianapolis Parks Foundation. To make it productive again, the farm uses raised beds in areas where historic compaction has damaged the soil too heavily for it to be immediately viable. All produce raised is donated to the Gleaners Food Bank to feed Indianapolis’ citizens in need.  

Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board met last Wednesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 14, in Redmond, Oregon. In addition to submitting written comments on the Wild Horse and Burro program (which can be found here), NACD was represented at the meeting by Callie Hendrickson, Executive Director, White River & Douglas Conservation Districts and Keith Norris, Chairman, National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition. The meeting marked the first for the three newly appointed Advisory Board members: Humane Advocacy - Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director, Cloud Foundation; Wildlife Management - Ben Masters, CEO of Fin & Fur Films (starred in the documentary Unbranded); and Livestock Management - Steve Yardley, Vice President of Yardley Cattle Company. The Advisory Board generally meets twice a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary.  

Forestry Notes Q&A: Keith Argow

Keith Argow has been actively involved in national forestry issues for more than 50 years. He received undergraduate degrees from Colorado College and the University of Michigan, and holds a PhD in forestry and political science from N.C. State University. He was a district ranger and research forester for the U.S. Forest Service, and a forestry professor at N.C. State and Virginia Tech prior to becoming the president of the National Woodland Owners Association more than three decades ago. Argow recently shared time with Forestry Notes to talk about emerging forest industry trends and the challenges facing woodland owners in the coming years. Read the interview here.  

District Spotlight: Berks County Conservation District

The Berks County Conservation District, located in Bern Township, Pennsylvania, is focusing a lot of its efforts on youth outreach this year. With student and community involvement, they are hosting poster and rain barrel painting contests for Earth Day. The conservation district has more than 60 tree-themed posters submitted from six schools as well as 18 water conservation rain barrels painted by more than 170 students. Community votes will determine the winners. 

The conservation district is hosting Envirothons for middle and high school students in May and a Conservation Leadership Program at Nolde Forest in June. Through these combined efforts, conservation district will reaching more than a thousand students according to Executive Director Dean Druckenmiller. 

The conservation district is also holding various fundraisers for scholarships. Seven high school seniors who plan to pursue environmental studies in college will be awarded scholarships at the district's annual banquet.  

Click here to read more about Berks County Conservation District’s efforts and programs. 

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