July 2018

CTD FY18 Year in Review and FY19 Year to Come

Hi CD staff and partners!

Every year the CTD Leadership Team gets together and comes up with our upcoming fiscal year (FY) work plan. This is largely based on feedback from CD staff like you, but also on what the larger needs of the state are. I want to share a couple highlights from FY18 and also give a preview of what is coming up for FY19.

In FY18 we greatly expanded and strengthened our coordination with NRCS on many things including training events. We worked together to initiate a process of joint coordination on advertising and registration of CD staff in NRCS courses, and continue to work on allowance of enough spaces in courses to meet our growing demand. You might have also joined us for joint webinars over the last year with NRCS to assist CD staff in better understanding the new NRCS Planner Designations and how they can work towards achieving them. We hope to continue the convenience and effectiveness of this webinar information delivery system. In the background, we have also been working with NRCS on drawing up guidelines and information for CDs to better interact with NRCS interfaces such as certification, AgLearn, training events, and planning tools. It is our priority to continue to improve this coordination in FY19 and increase training and course availability for CD staff.

You might have also heard of or attended one of the many CTD hosted training events around the state in FY18. We are looking to provide many more in FY19 to meet your needs. We are also starting conversation with the WADE board to see how we can better integrate and enhance the WADE Conference track curriculum for planners so that you can meet the continuing education requirements of the CTD Planner Certifications, complete NRCS planner designation courses, and stay on top of new information and policy all at the same time! We hope to improve your experience and make your time and travel more efficient.

To assist those individuals and Districts that struggle with provision of funds for staff to attend training events, the CTD started a Professional Development Scholarship program in FY18. We provided over $2,500 in support to CD staff on their journey to be better planners in FY18 and will double that amount in FY19 to $5,000 to ensure that those who need it can have their time supported in their effort to be their best.

FY19 also brings the final version of our Conservation Planner Certifications! This has been a long time coming and we are so excited to finally provide these for you. We have certifications open for the following disciplines: Farm, Dairy, and Riparian Planner. Please check our website for updated certification documents and application forms. We hope to see your application in the queue!

As the expertise and desire within CD’s grows to have more science based information and localized research results, the CTD is right there with development of a Science and Effectiveness Monitoring program. We have supported partnerships between CDs and research institutions on demonstration/research projects, and slowly built the Washington Discovery Farms® program to provide infrastructure and consistency for CDs to lead research and monitoring projects. Look for much more in this arena in conjunction with the WSCC in FY19.

Lastly, the CTD supported the time of CD “expert” staff to participate in statewide workgroups and document reviews to ensure that our collective knowledge and expertise can positively influence statewide policy and programs. We will continue this in FY19 and hope to see better statewide policy as a result.

These are some of the highlights of the work of the CTD, but we are doing so much more! To view our work plan and explore our history, go to “Home” on our website. Also, if you have passion for any of our areas of work and want to give us feedback, or better yet, get involved, please don’t hesitate to email us at any time: info@wactd.org.

Thank you for a wonderful FY18, and here’s looking forward to an even more productive FY19!


Nichole Embertson

Center for Technical Development, Chair

Getting to Know You: District Highlight

District Name: Whidbey Island CD

District Size: ~169 square miles

District Population: 80,022 residents (2000 Census data)

Number of Employees: 6 employees – 4.4 FTE

Main Programs:

  • Landowner Assistance Programs, including: farm planning, Firewise, forest planning, local agriculture outreach, and backyard habitat conservation.

  • Outreach & Education Programs, including: Adult & Youth Educational Programming, Native Bare Root Plant Sale, Whidbey Island Growers Association, Whidbey Island Grown, Annual Working Lands Photo Contest, and more.

Key Partners

  • Island County, Island Local Integrating Organization, Local City & Towns, Washington State Conservation Commission, Puget Sound Conservation District Caucus, Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, homeowners' associations, diking districts, school districts, fire districts, local landowners, and more.

Projects/Programs Most Proud of:

  • Ebey’s Prairie Watershed Water Quality Improvement Program

  • Small Forest Landowner Program and Whidbey Island Firewise Program

Fun Facts:

  • Whidbey Island’s central area is located in what is known as the “Rain Shadow” of the Olympic Mountains, which contributes to a wide range of annual precipitation from very little in central Whidbey (18 in./year) where the rain shadow is most prevalent, up to 40 inches in areas where the rain shadow is less prominent.

  • According to a University of Washington study from 2009, 97% of Island County (which includes Whidbey and Camano Islands) private forest land is rated “high risk” for conversion to other uses.

  • Whidbey Island is the largest island in the state of Washington, and fourth longest and largest in the contiguous United States, behind Long Island (NY), Padre Island (TX), and Isle Royale (MI).

Working Effectively with American Indians

Note: This is a required training for the NRCS Planner Designation “Certified” level.

Date: August 13 - 17th, 2018

Location: Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation, Kingston, WA

Who: Training is open to federal agencies, Washington Conservation Districts and tribes. Others may be considered if room permits.

Cost: No registration fee. Participants are responsible for food and lodging costs. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Point Hotel, Kingston, WA.

Registration: Click here to register.

Deadline to register is July 30, 2018.

In this week-long course, participants will enjoy learning from local tribal representatives and NRCS employees from across the country who have many years of experience working with tribal nations.

Discover a working knowledge of:

• Traditional tribal ways, the role of tribal elders, and cultural dos and don’ts;

• The history of American Indian Tribes, treaties between tribes and the US government, executive order, laws, acts, policy, and tribal land status;

• What is federal trust responsibility, consultation, and protocols when working with federally recognized tribes as a government representative;

• What it means to work nation to nation and/or government to government with sovereign nations, how to build partnerships with tribes, and an understanding of tribal law and tribal governments;

• How to identify and navigate around obstacles/barriers to working with tribes by using tools such as the Nine Steps of Conservation Planning, the guiding principles of federal employees’ roles and responsibilities, the Indigenous Stewardship Guide, and agency general manual.

Space is limited. For more information, contact Robin Slate at robin.slate@wa.usda.gov or Mark Craven at ldhalloween@yahoo.com.

Visit the Washington NRCS website to view the draft agenda.

Please click here to view the event flyer.

ASWM-NRCS Wetland Training Webinar Series

NRCS has entered into an agreement with the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) to develop a nine-part wetland training webinar series designed to provide participants with a general level of knowledge about wetlands and wetland restoration options and considerations.

This webinar series has been developed to providing training for Level 1and 2 NRCS Conservation Planners in field offices about key wetland concepts and restoration considerations as they work with clients on issues that involve wetlands. Additional targeted audiences include state and tribal wetland program staff, district staff, others working with NRCS Planners, staff from other agencies working on these issues (e.g. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management), and NRCS non-planners who would benefit from this knowledge/skill-building. Participants do not require prior knowledge of or training on wetlands.

Participants will come away from trainings with key knowledge, the ability to be more conversant about wetland issues, knowing what questions to ask when looking at restoration opportunities, and knowing when to contact or bring in an expert. This webinar series ties in with the NRCS nine-step planning process, focusing on Phase I collection and analysis steps: identify problems, determine objectives, inventory resources and analyze resource data.

For those of you who have wetland backgrounds, much of this will be good review/refresh information, for those that do not have wetland backgrounds but work on or interact with the wetland easement programs, these sessions will provide useful technical information.

Webinars in the Training Series

Webinar 1: Introduction to Wetlands - June 22, 2018

Webinar 2: Wetlands in a Watershed/at the Landscape Scale - August 15, 2018

Webinar 3: Wetland Ecology for Planners: How a Wetland Should Function

Webinar 4: Wetland Ecology for Planners: Examples of Variation Across the United States

Webinar 5: Dealing with Reality: How to Work with Wetlands in Altered Landscapes

Webinar 6: Identifying Resource Concerns and Determining Landowner Objectives

Webinar 7: How to Talk about Wetlands with Landowners

Webinar 8: What are Wetland Restoration Choices? Matching Objectives to Programs and Getting Additional Help

Webinar 9: Dealing with Challenging Weather Patterns in Restoration Planning

Featured Photo

Whidbey Island CD staff alongside staff of the WA DNR working with the Sierra Country Club community during their May 5, 2018 Community Wildfire Preparedness Day event. Sierra Country Club was recently recognized by the National Fire Protection Association as Whidbey Island’s – and Island County’s – first nationally recognized Firewise USA® site.

AgLearn Log-In Reminder

This is a friendly reminder to all of those with AgLearn accounts to remember to log in to your account at least once a month to maintain access. If you are updating to Windows 10, take note that there have been some issues with AgLearn and Windows 10 that requires more frequent log-ins -- every 20 days -- to keep your account active. Regular logins are the best way to avoid issues with your AgLearn account!

WADE Presentations Available Online

Over 200 Conservation District employees gathered for the Washington Association of District Employees (WADE) conference this June. If you weren’t able to attend, you may have missed out on the yard games, pool time, and silent auction, but you don’t need to miss out on the valuable information that was presented. Click HERE for copies of presentations from all 8 tracks. The WADE Board is already planning ahead for next year, and working to incorporate feedback for more technical presentations. This may even be an opportunity for a partnership with the Center for Technical Development. Stay tuned, and save the date now for the second week in June of 2019.

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