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2017 - 11

CTD Newsletter - November 2017


Building a Technical Quality Assurance Plan

Your input is needed! Washington Conservation Districts need a statewide Technical Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) and the Center for Technical Development (CTD) was asked to coordinate an effort to develop one. As part of that effort to develop an acceptable statewide QAP, the CTD needs your input.

We are hoping that District Technical Staff, District managers, and others will make time to provide input on this important matter. This QAP is being planned to be different from the WSCC “Implementation Monitoring” that the WSCC Regional Managers are currently doing to document the Districts’ Cost shared program.

To gather input in the most efficient manner, the CTD is holding a Webinar at 1:00 pm on Monday November 13, 2017 to explain the need for a QAP for District programs, gather suggestions/ideas on the process we should use to develop a statewide QAP, and to develop some initial thoughts on how Quality Assurance might be implemented.

To Join us for the webinar on Nov 13, 2017 at 1:00 PM PST. Register now at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2624942560605641473 

If you are planning to join the webinar, please let us know by email to lbrewer@scc.wa.gov and/or JWeatherford@thurstoncd.com and we will send you some of the information that we will be discussing.  


New Water Quality Courses in AgLearn

Along with your monthly reminder to log into AgLearn to maintain your active status, we thought we would tell you about a couple new Water Quality web-based course that are now available. These course are also prerequisites for the three NRCS certification levels.

Overview of Water Quality Resource Assessment (000038)

A series of one hour webinars that provide training in water quality processes and pollutants in agricultural settings. It focuses on assessment tools and approaches to address water quality resource concerns in the conservation planning process. 

Phosphorous Management and Concerns (000040)

This course provides a foundation in phosphorous chemistry, the phosphorous cycle and transport pathways, and the effects of excessive phosphorous in the environment. The course covers common assessment approaches and tools for evaluating phosphorous risk to surface and ground water, and common practices to address excess phosphorous at a field level. 

Nitrogen Management and Concerns (000039)

This course provides a foundation in nitrogen chemistry, the nitrogen cycle and transport pathways, and the effects of excessive nitrogen in the environment. The course covers common assessment approaches and tools for evaluating nitrogen risk to surface and ground water, and common practices to address excess nitrogen at a field level.


Fire Recovery Program - WSCC

In the wake of the devastating fires that occurred in the state from 2014-2016 the legislature awarded funding to the Conservation Commission in the amount of $6.8 million to be used to assist landowners with fire recovery needs in the areas affected.  This work was primarily implemented by Conservation Districts who worked very hard to meet with landowners to provide post fire recovery assistance and provide practice recommendations which could be matched up to these available funds.  District were very successful at identifying projects, securing agreements with landowners, managing grant funds, and helping to provide hope to those who experienced losses during these fires.  This program could not have been successful without the hard work and dedication of the many conservation districts that worked with landowners and/or provided key support to implementation of the program.

Districts applied for projects on a project by project basis.  These projects were then reviewed and awarded by a committee made up of Commission members and staff during bi-weekly conference calls.  District staff often participated in the calls to answer any questions committee members may have had and to provide additional information regarding the projects.  By working with the districts, the program was able to meet many needs as provide assistance in several unique situations.

Despite many challenges not the least of which was very wet weather in the spring of 2017, 12 districts participated in the program assisting approximately 105 different landowners.  109 projects were awarded and 189 practices were installed to assist with recovery.  Some highlights (among others) include:

·        441, 465 feet of fencing replaced

·        1,931 acres replanted/reseeded for erosion control

·        34,642 feet of access (e.g. roads, trails) treated for erosion

·        6,755 feet of water conveyance installed (pipeline for irrigation/stock water)

·        440 acres of woody residue treatment

·        1 dam spillway repair

·        Emergency Watershed Protection projects in Okanogan and Chelan Counties

Some examples of how the projects affected landowners:

“We are thankful for the help and assistance of the Conservation District. Immediately after the Hart fire, we were educated how to be good land stewards by attending the "after the fire" meetings where the Conservation District presented information. That is when we decided to log a portion of our property, to seed with grass and to plant tree seedlings. The Conservation District assisted us with grants to afford grass seed and tree plugs and to place drainage structures and rock to provide erosion control on a steep trail accessing the Spokane river. The District also helped with procuring an appropriate grass seed mix, coordinating and processing the three grant applications, overseeing the approved completion of the work and processing the reimbursement paperwork.  Much of our success is owed to Valerie Vissia as our grant administrator and to Gary Ausman, the engineer for the trail improvements. “ Sara Marks and Duane Zimmerman, Lincoln County 

“Our work with [Stevens County] Conservation District was instrumental in getting the ranch repaired and on a solid environmental footing for the future. Working with the district was like working with neighbors, which they were. They facilitated all the necessary requirements to get our project done and showed how incentive-based conservation services can be successful.”  Jonathan Birnbaum, owner of Black Horse Canyon Ranch, Stevens County

“You were the most helpful of all the agencies we contacted.  Excellent work!” – Jerry and Dina Brannon, Okanogan County describing the work of the Okanogan CD 

“I appreciate all the effort made by the people at the Okanogan Conservation District office. They were very instrumental in the educational process concerning the rehabilitation of my property after the Okanagan Complex Fire of 2015. They kept me abreast of all the resources available to me and were more than happy to explain the details to me. Their advice and guidance helped me determine which was the best plan of action to take for my property. They are a great resource. Thanks again.” - James Melo, Okanogan County


District Highlight: Getting to Know You

District Name: Pomeroy Conservation District

District Size: 713 sq. miles (456,000 acres) with 539 sq. miles (345,000 acres) of private ownership

District Population: 2,214

Number of Employees: 3 full time (District Mgr, CREP Coordinator, Area Engineer covering 9 districts), 1 part time clerical

Main Programs: CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program), Lead in Garfield County VSP Workgroup, Livestock Water Quality Improvements, Direct Seed Program, Ecology Flow and Enhancement

Key Partners: Garfield County Commissioners, City of Pomeroy, US Forest Service, Washington State Conservation Commission, USDA (NRCS and FSA), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology, Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, Recreation and Conservation Office, Nez Perce Tribe, our neighboring districts, local ranchers and farmers.  

Project/Program Most Proud of:  Since 1950, the Pomeroy Conservation District has worked with local farmers and ranchers to reduce soil erosion and improve the water quality and instream habitat for endangered Snake River Steelhead.  At one time, Garfield County had more miles of gradient and level terraces than anywhere in the US.  Since that time, we have moved from collecting the runoff with terraces and instead have been assisting farmers to convert from conventional tillage to Direct Seed.  This greatly increases infiltration, reduces runoff and soil erosion and at the same time improves soil health. Over the last couple years, the district has been working with Ecological Research, Inc. studying the effects of placing BDA (Beaver Dam Analogs) and PALS (Post Assisted Log Structures) in Pataha and Alpowa Creeks to increase summer base flows.  


Fun Fact

Did you know...
The Pomeroy Conservation District which encompasses all of Garfield County, is the only district in the state that has only one incorporated town.  

Featured Program: Clallam Conservation District - Conservation Around the House

The Clallam Conservation District has a great program called Financial Assistance for Septic System Repair. Up to 75% of the cost of reparining or replacing failing onsite septic system may be paid for through a program called OSS Cost-Share Program. Failing onsite systems impacting surface waters in the Clallam Marine Recovery Area are the highest priority. All referalls for assistance must be made to the conservation district by the Clallam County Environmental Health. If you are interested in this program and would like to learn more please visit the CCD here. 


Featured Program


The first place awared winner from the 4th Annual CD Photo Contest (sponsored by the SCC Communications, Partnership Building and Outreach Committee) is: "Good Morning" by Zorah Oppenheimer, Clark Conservation District!


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