Government Affairs Update

Days before the end of 2017, President Trump signed another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), authorizing the federal government to continue to be funded at current levels. This CR is set to keep the government open through January 19, avoiding a government shutdown and allowing Congress more time to consider the federal budget for 2018. NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison penned a Congressional update blog, providing an overview of this CR and the legislation Congress is expected to take up with the start of the new year.

With the first week of 2018, it is important to remember a few deadlines that will come to pass shortly. On Friday, January 5, the public comment period ends for both the USFS’ EIS notice on LMPs for Greater Sage-Grouse conservation and the USFWS’ mitigation policies. If your local conservation district or state association would like to submit comments, they can be done here for sage-grouse and here for mitigation polices. NACD’s comments on these policies can be found in our Newsroom.

USDA is also accepting Conservation Innovation Grant applications through February 28, 2018 and will hold a webinar for potential applicants on January 11, 2018. More information will be available in next week’s edition of eResource.

Are you ready for Nashville?

NACD’s Annual Meeting is only weeks away, but there’s still time to make preparations for your visit to Nashville!

If this will be your first time attending an NACD Annual Meeting, you may be eligible for a first-timer scholarship. Thanks to the generous support of Agri Drain, one first-time meeting attendee from each state/territory will be granted a full registration and Appreciation Banquet dinner ticket at no cost.

Interested in applying? Contact your state association to see if a scholarship is still available. Together with the state’s NACD board member, the state association will determine if you qualify and submit your name and email to NACD Director of Membership Kimberly Uldricks.

This Friday, January 5 is the last day to secure your room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. To complete your reservation, click here, or call 1-888-777-6779 and identify yourself with NACD. NACD has also secured an additional room block at the Hyatt Place Nashville/Opryland for $174 per night. Click here to reserve a room or call 615-872-0422. A complimentary shuttle to and from the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center will be available.

Questions about parking and transportation? For details on self-parking, downtown shuttles, or shuttles to and from Nashville International Airport, visit our Annual Meeting website.

2018 RCPP Projects Selected

USDA has selected Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects for 2018 totaling $220 million across 91 selected projects. Conservation districts or the state associations of conservation districts will lead 23 of these projects in 2018 from across all seven of NACD’s regions. Totaling $40.59 million, these projects will assist with water quality, wildfire mitigation, landscape-scale grassland restoration, drought resiliency, establishing wildlife habitat, and combating invasive species.

The conservation district-led projects also address soil health as it pertains to forest health, wildlife habitat, and stormwater management. Through the 2018 projects, districts will install more than 13,000 acres of cover crops. Click here to read the full list of projects and project descriptions; NACD extends our congratulations to all districts who had projects selected!

Did you know that Minnesota’s conservation districts are using new tools to work with their county boards to solicit more support, including additional funding, which will allow more conservation activities to be put on the ground?

The latest edition of Did You Know? was penned by Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Board Conservationist Jason Weinerman, who describes how Minnesota BWSR has provided training to districts to create a conservation district advocacy tool box. Using a three-pronged approach, this tool box helps districts promote their work to county boards in consideration of annual budget requests.

Click here to read more and to learn how you can adapt these practices for your own district.

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