February 2018

CTD Newsletter: February 2018

2018 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Training - April 26-30, 2018 (new dates!)

Course Description: This course contains all of the necessary information, contents and steps required to develop a CNMP for a livestock or poultry operation. The course will also cover state specific roles, rules and permits associated with animal feeding operations. Course participants will learn how to prepare CNMPs that meet current NRCS policy and CAP 102 guidelines.

Click Here for more information, including required prerequisites and course completion requirements.

Interested in attending? Please fill out the CNMP Registration Form.

2018 CTD Database Updates

The Center for Technical Development needs your help! It’s the time of year that we update the CTD’s database of the 200+ technical staff members from all the conservation districts in the state. The goal of this database is to assist with mentoring opportunities, training events, and more.

You may have recently received a call from someone helping populate this database – if so, thank you for your time. If you haven’t, you can expect to receive a phone call in the coming weeks. These calls typically take a few minutes and focus on your specialties as a technical professional in your district. Your help keeping the information in the database is greatly appreciated.

If you have questions about this database and its use, contact Robin Buckingham at (360) 745-3588 ext. 134 or by email at rbuckingham@thurstoncd.com.

Thanks and happy New Year!

Advanced GIS Training For Conservation Districts

Instructor: Andrew Phay, Whatcom CD

Course Description: In this two day class we will go over more advanced subjects in GIS, continuing on what we learned in the basic class last year. Some of the subjects will be Spatial Analytics (working with rasters), Modeling, 3D Analytics, external database connections, Soil Data Viewer, Geocoding, Scripting, ArcGIS Online, and an introduction to ArcGIS Pro. You will get to get your mouse pointer dirty with some hands on exercises, so a laptop with ArcMap on it will be needed for the class.

Prerequisite: Must have understanding of using ArcMap to work with Features and Geodatabases.

3 course locations offered:

March 20-21 Wenatchee

April 17-18 Spokane CD

April 25-26 Peirce CD

Stay tuned for more details and registration information!

Save the Date - Soil Health and Sustainability Courses

This is a required course for those seeking NRCS Apprentice Conservation Planner certification, and space will be limited. Stay tuned for more details and registration information coming soon!


This training is designed to provide field level conservationists and resource soil scientists with an overall understanding of soil health and sustainability principles to guide them with recommendations for land management. The training can be tailored by landuse or specialty emphasis area using modules for cropland, pasture, range, eastern forests, sod and nursery crops, organic specialty crops, and/or salinity and sodicity. Upon completion of this course participants will be able to evaluate soil health, have an understanding of soil quality/soil health indicators and their relationship to onsite/offsite effects of management; communicate soil health concerns to employees, partners and land managers through conservation technical assistance and planning that complies with national policy; and apply soil health and sustainability principles and conservation technology holistically to supply safe, healthy and abundant food and fiber and sustain ecosystem functions on agricultural lands.


Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

1. Define or describe soil health terms and basic concepts to develop an understanding of the soil ecosystem, soil biology, and soil functions;

2. Discuss soil chemical, physical, and biological properties and the soil functions they affect;

3. Evaluate and compare management practices for limiting physical and chemical disturbance;

4. Apply agroecology technologies that build or degrade soil function

5. Be knowledgeable of soil features that indicate good soil health using field observations;

6. Use farmer input (goals) and background data to initiate inventory and assessment of soil resources;

7. Analyze collected data to identify soil health problems and priorities for improvements;

8. Understand how improving soil health improves productivity and profitability;

9. Understand the costs of poor soil health on air and water quality; and

10. Use soil health demonstrations to promote conservation.


Background knowledge of soils


Course is 3 days. Two locations are being offered:

July 10-12, Location TBD (Probably North Central WA)

July 24-26, Location TBD (Western WA)

Interested in attending one of these courses? Please fill out THIS FORM.

Required AgLearn Course - Deadline to Complete is Friday, February 16, 2018

For those CD employees who have an AgLearn account:

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance requires all USDA employees, contractors, partners, and volunteers with existing AgLearn accounts to complete annual security awareness training. The training is required by law and is an essential part of keeping the information systems secure.

FY 2018 Information Security Awareness (ISA) training in AgLearn is due by February 16, 2018.

Click Here for more information on the FY 2018 ISA course.

For help logging into AgLearn, please contact the Client Technology Services Service Desk at eAuthHelpDesk@ftc.usda.gov or call (800) 457-3642.

Take Care of Those Online Courses This Winter!

We all should have some classes that we need to take to earn a Conservation Planning Certification or for our continuing education. This is usually a good time of the year to complete one or two of those courses, before the Spring work begins. And don’t forget that required AgLearn mandatory Information Security Awareness training, due this month.

If you don’t already have some AgLearn courses on your “to do” list, take a look at this list which has some great classes/courses. These are not only great courses that all conservation planners should have taken or should take, but are required for the new NRCS Apprentice Conservation Planner certification. Most of these course will be required for any Conservation Planner type designation, and they look good on your resume as well!

As professional conservationists we should strive to stay current with our knowledge and improve our skills in providing the best resource management recommendations to the landowners that we have the privilege to assist each day. Continued learning is a part of our culture; be it through online classes, our annual WADE conference in June, attending in-person classes, or reading professional journals.

Be on the lookout in upcoming CTD newsletters for workshops and trainings that will be available this year - and as always you can visit the CTD website for the latest training opportunities.

Featured Program


Snohomish CD

Seven farms took part in the Photovoice Project hosted by the Snohomish Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy. Through a series of four workshops, participants responded to two questions - "Why is agriculture important to our community?" and "What are the major challenges facing agriculture?" - through photos and discussion.

Farmers each selected three of their photos, including captions, that are now part of the exhibition. By sharing their story and thoughts with decision makers through this exhibit, these farmers hope to address some of the pressing issues facing agriculture in their county.

Featured Photo

salmon jaw

"Salmon jaw" by C. Hirsch

Reader Response: How To Grow As A Conservationist

We love to hear feedback from you! Here is a recent comment from one of our readers:

"I just read your article about how to grow as a conservationist in the [January] CTD newsletter. Nice list. One thing missing that I tell my staff is to treat every visit with a landowner as a learning opportunity. We have the luxury of touring around the county visiting with and learning from everyone else's experiences. And if you treat these encounters as opportunities to learn, the landowners tend to be much more open and accepting."

Thanks, Joe, for catching this most important one!