Jackie Brown: Conservation district seeks feedback
June 25, 2010
I would like to reintroduce you, Routt County folk, to your conservation district. In the past we may have missed you, but we are seeking your attention now.
There are more than 3,000 conservation districts in the United States and 77 in Colorado. The districts were formed during the Dust Bowl after the Soil Conservation Act passed in 1935 as a response to the lack of soil conservation practices. The Soil Conservation Districts were to act as a liaison between local landowners and the present-day Natural Resource Conservation Service.
In 2003, "soil" was dropped from the district names because of the need to protect and help all natural resources. Today, the Routt County Conservation District's mission statement is "to encourage stewardship of our natural resources, which will ensure the preservation and sustainability of working landscapes, through education, financial and technical assistance." The RCCD would be your first point of contact for participation in the Conservation Stewardship Program as well as EQIP, both of which were benefits of the 2008 Farm Bill.
The RCCD participates in education by giving out the Glenn Werner Memorial Scholarship and the Routt County Conservation District Scholarship to college-bound Routt County students who plan to pursue an agricultural field of study and who demonstrate scholarship, leadership and strength of character. This year, the recipients were Mike Makens and Catharine Koroulis. The RCCD also loans out, free of charge, our River and Riparian Study Trailer, an interactive educational tool that demonstrates, among other things, sediment transfer, flood flows and channeling. This year, we are helping to send a local student to Camp Rocky, a weeklong residential camp for students ages 14 to 19 who enjoy the outdoors and have an interest in natural resources. Students are educated about soil and water conservation and rangeland science, as well as forestry, fish and wildlife, and recreation management so they can serve their community as a leader in resource stewardship.
One of the most important programs that the RCCD hosts is our equipment rental program. We own a Demco Pull Sprayer, a Fimco Pull Sprayer, one Gator sprayer, an Aerway Renovator and a Rock Picker. This equipment can be rented at a daily or weekly rate. We also sell PAM (Anionic Polyacrylamide), a soil flocculent that helps reduce seepage loss and seals irrigation ditches, canals, laterals and some ponds. PAM is applied as a dry broadcast early in the spring.
Once a year, the RCCD receives applications for the Colorado State Forest Service's seedling tree program, which provides farmers, ranchers and rural landowners with 30 species of trees at a nominal cost. The trees and shrubs are grown at the CSU nursery for conservation purposes only. The program encourages landowners with more than 2 acres to plant forests, establish effective windbreaks, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce erosion, and protect homes, cropland and livestock. If you would like to be on our mailing list to receive an application, to be mailed each fall, call our office at 970-879-3225.
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The RCCD is always looking for ideas and feedback from the people we have the potential to serve. If there is something you would like to suggest or be part of, call or stop by and chat with me or any of our board members — Karin Utterback-Norman, Kevin Armstrong, Heather Stirling and Lou DeQuine.
Brown is the district manager for the Routt County Conservation District.