The Colorado Association of Conservation Districts’ 2016 Annual Meeting was held November 14th through 16th, at the Embassy Suites in Loveland. CACD’s theme this year was “Conservation in Colorado – Navigating Our Future”. Meeting speakers this year included: Les Owen, the new CO Department of Ag’s Conservation Services Director; Lee McDaniel, the President of the National Association of Conservation Districts; Jeff Burwell, NACD’s Western Issues Specialist; Clint Evans, CO’s State Conservationist with NRCS; Cindy Lair, Program Manager for the CO State Conservation Board; and Brett Moore, CACD’s Lobbyist.
CACD Long Range Planning – The CACD Board of Directors has been working on some long range planning goals for your state association. A LRP Committee was formed and had been meeting monthly, via teleconference, and will report to the full CACD Board of Directors in August, at their two day face-to-face meeting.
CO Ag Council and CO Ag Water Alliance – CACD, as a member of the Colorado Ag Council, meets this time of year on a quarterly basis, with other member CO Ag related organizations. This is our opportunity to collaborate and discuss relevant issues regarding natural resource conservation and Colorado’s valuable agricultural interests. As a member of Ag Council, CACD has a larger voice on current legislative issues that affect our Districts and their cooperators around the state. These meetings are usually in conjunction with the meeting of the CO Ag Water Alliance. CAWA reviews and addresses any and all of CO’s current water issues and legislation and provides input to the CO Water Conservation Board, among other Colorado water groups.
Local Work Group Meetings – By now, most of our Districts have either have had their Local Work Group meetings, in order to affirm to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) the local on-the-ground conservation needs and priorities in your District and Watershed areas. CACD encourages your District to advertise and market these important input sessions annually, with meeting facilitation assisted by the Conservation Specialists from the Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) for your area.
2016 Camp Rocky – Camp Rocky took place during the week of July 10 - 16, just outside of Divide, CO this year. This CACD sponsored co-ed event is for 14 – 18 year olds, who are interested in learning about natural resource conservation. There are 4 conservation based disciplines—soil and water, forestry, range management, and wildlife. Camp Rocky is one of the most supported of CACD’s programs by the Conservation Districts statewide. Many Districts help to sponsor our future conservation leaders for the entire week at this educational summer camp. Please check out the 2016 Camp Rocky photos, and this year’s camp reports on CACD’s website, at: www.coloradoacd.org under the “Education and Events” tab.
Great Plains Windbreak Initiative -- CACD has been invited to be part of the Planning Committee for this new stakeholder group, to address the decline of windbreaks, shelter/hedge breaks, etc. occurring in the Great Plains Region. The states that have also been included in this initial Planning Committee process were: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. The group will represent all facets of natural resource organizations, including state and federal Forest Service agencies, FSA, NRCS, state and local Conservation Districts, University Extension Offices, along with several private wildlife organizations. We will focus on how to deal with aging windbreak conditions that play an important part in the Great Plains region’s rural conservation practices.
2016 Annual District Dues – A big THANK YOU to those Conservation Districts that have paid your 2016 annual dues to CACD already! This dues income is imperative to CACD’s administrative operations on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month basis. As always, we want to hear from you about what you and your District need. Please feel free to give me a call or email at any time, with any concern or questions that you may have, at: (719) 686-0020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CACD Legislative Committee – CACD’s lobbyist, Brett Moore, along with our Legislative Committee, saw the end of the Colorado 2016 Legislative Session on May 11th. The link for CACD’s Bill Tracking Sheet is available on the CACD website under the “Education and Events” tab (http://www.coloradoacd.org/legislative-and-current-policy.html), for your review of the bills that we supported, were in opposition to, or were monitoring on behalf of our Conservation District membership.
Legislation in Action -- I was up at the Capitol in Denver on June 9th, to be present at the South Platte Water Storage Study bill signing by Governor Hickenlooper. This was House Bill 2016-1256, which Rep. J. Paul Brown championed for during the 2016 Legislative Session. J. Paul has always been a staunch supporter of CACD and Colorado's conservation issues. I travelled to Denver to be there with him and a few of the CO Ag Council members, not to mention Senator Jerry Sonnenberg. CACD takes seriously our commitment to monitor all of the legislative water issues on your behalf, here in Colorado!
Fall 2016 Watershed Meetings – It is that time of the year when Colorado’s Conservation Districts come together as Watershed Associations, to discuss area events, concerns, 2016 Conservation award nominations, and move forward any District level Resolutions that need to be voted on by the Watershed membership. If passed at the Watershed level, they will advance to the state level, and if passed by the CACD membership, they become statewide CACD Policy. These important Policy Resolutions not only give CACD legislative direction at the state Capitol, but they can also advance to the National level, where they could be voted on at the 2017 NACD Annual Meeting, and become national policy as well
CACD’s 2016 Annual Meeting – CACD’s 2016 annual meeting will be at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Loveland, November 14 – 16, 2016. At the request of our membership, the annual meeting will have a shorter format/schedule this year. We hope that this shorten format will improve our Board Supervisor and District Manager attendance. The 2016 Annual Meeting conference flyer is now available on the CACD website, as will be further information on our speakers and a draft agenda in the next few weeks. We have been having 2016 Program Committee teleconferences over the past several months, to discuss the 2016 AM theme, “Conservation in Colorado – Navigating Our Future”, along with the meeting content. If you’d like to get involved with the input for our conference this year, please let me know!
NACD’s 2017 Annual Meeting – The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) will hold their next Annual Meeting, January 28th through February 2nd, 2017, in Denver at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel and Conference Center! As the host state Executive Director, I have been meeting with the NACD Planning Committee in order to focus on Colorado’s input to this national event. Please mark your calendars to attend this annual conference, where representatives from all over the United States come to make national natural resource conservation policy, network, and learn about the current important state and national conservation issues. As soon as I have a draft agenda from NACD, I will send it out to all of the Districts and their Board Supervisors. It will also be posted on the CACD website.
CACD Donations Through AmazonSmile.com – CACD now has a link at AmazonSmile.com for a .5% donation of your eligible Amazon purchases to be sent to CACD as a charitable contribution. In order to browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select CACD as their organization to receive the .5% donation on your purchases to CACD by electronic funds transfer. Anyone can support CACD by choosing us as your AmazonSmile.com non-profit organization of choice, at: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/84-0470063. This link is also available on CACD’s website, on the home page, for your continued use.
As always, I want to encourage you to be relevant to your District’s landowners, who you serve. If you accomplish this task, the success of your District will come – I guarantee it! Thanks always for your continued support!
CACD Executive Director
CO Ag Council at the Capitol – CACD, as a member of the Colorado Ag Council, meets on a quarterly basis, with the other member Ag related organizations. This is our opportunity to collaborate and discuss relevant issues regarding conservation, natural resources, farming and ranching. As a member of Ag Council, CACD has a larger voice on current legislative issues that affect our Districts and their cooperators around the state. The next meeting has been scheduled for June 29th, in conjunction with the next meeting of the CO Ag Water Alliance. CAWA reviews and addresses CO’s current water issues and legislation and provides input to the CO Water Conservation Board.
Local Work Group Meetings – By now, most of our Districts have either had or have scheduled your Local Work Group meetings, in order to affirm the local on-the-ground conservation needs and priorities in your District/Watershed area. CACD encourages your District to advertise and market these important input sessions, with meeting facilitation assisted by the CSCB Conservation Specialist for your area.
2016 Camp Rocky – Camp Rocky is in its 53nd year and registration has already started for camp this summer! CR will be held this year during the week of July 10 - 16, just outside of Divide, CO. This CACD sponsored co-ed event is for 14 – 18 year olds, who are interested in learning about natural resource conservation. There are 4 conservation based disciplines—soil and water, forestry, range management, and wildlife. Camp Rocky is one of the most supported of CACD’s programs by the Conservation Districts statewide. Many Districts help to sponsor our future conservation leaders for the entire week at this educational summer camp. Please check out the latest Camp Rocky news on CACD’s website, along with all of the 2016 forms, at: www.coloradoacd.org , under the “Education and Events” tab.
CACD Long Range Planning – The CACD Board of Directors is working on some long range planning goals for your state association. A LRP Committee has been formed and has been meeting monthly, via teleconference, and will report to the full CACD Board of Directors in August, at their face-to-face meeting.
District Funding for 2016 – Last year, CACD was able to secure an increase to the Conservation Districts’ 2015 Direct Assistance funding in the amount of $92,053.00. This came about from a CACD membership driven request and we continue to work at making sure that this increase remains in place for the 2016 fiscal year.
2016 CO Envirothon – CO Envirothon is our statewide natural resource competition for high school students, and is open to all CO high schools, 4-H Programs, and FFA Groups. The 2016 event is being held on April 26 and 27th, at the Douglas County Events Center in Castle Rock, CO. This year, CACD has partnered with the Rio Grande Watershed Education Initiative to put the contest on next month. As of this writing, we have 17 teams that have sent in a verbal commitment to participate, from all parts of the state! As a District/Watershed, please contact your local high schools, FFA and 4-H Chapters to get them involved in this fun annual event. For the team requirements and the 2016 forms, please check out the COE website at: www.coloenvirothon.com
CACD and NRCS – We continue to work on our partnership with NRCS, which includes quarterly meetings between CACD, CSCB, and NRCS at the area level. I attend NRCS’s Leadership Team meetings and the NRCS State Technical meetings on a quarterly basis.
In December 2015, I attended several important meetings --
And, so far in January 2016 --
As you can see, CACD keeps very busy keeping a finger on the natural resource conservation “pulse” here in our state of Colorado. Please know that I am here to help assist you, your Conservation District, and our conservation partners whenever possible. We will be successful if we continue to work as a team!
CACD Executive Director
This past November, CACD held its 71st Annual Meeting at the Park Hyatt Resort in Beaver Creek, CO. The event this year started off on Monday evening with a fantastic membership reception sponsored by Bob Warner, Warner Ranch, that included a variety of heavy appetizers and two complimentary drinks for its attendees.
Our meeting theme this year was: “Conservation through Partnerships – Strategies for Success”. That concept was started off on Tuesday morning, despite the wintry weather, with a special keynote address to the CACD General Assembly from Don Brown, CO’s new Commissioner of Agriculture. The other speakers that morning included: Gary Moyer, CACD’s current President; Clint Evans, CO’s State Conservationist; Brent VanDyke, NACD’s First Vice President; and Brett Moore, CACD Lobbyist. Tuesday’s networking luncheon included an introduction to and a brief address by Jeff Burwell, who is the new NACD Western Issues Specialist.
Tuesday afternoon was filled by the Resource Committee meetings and the 2015 Resolution hearings. This year, there were a total of twenty-one By-Law or Policy resolutions that were reviewed, with twelve passing out of Committee and then sent on to be voted on by CACD’s General Membership.
Another busy month, as we wrap up the Fall 2015 Watershed meetings around the state! This is one my favorite parts of my job as your Executive Director—travelling to these typically bi-annual Watershed meetings. These fall meetings are especially important because it is usually when each Watershed votes on their Conservationists of the Year, in the categories of Farmer, Rancher, and Small Acreage, and also when the formal Resolution process begins. New resolutions are brought to the Watershed level, coming up from a Conservation District, to be voted on by the Watershed membership. Resolutions that are passed by the Watershed are then moved on to one of the five CACD Resource Committees, to be review before being sent on to the general membership, for voting during the annual business meeting in November.
CACD’s 2015 Annual Meeting is only six weeks away! As most of you know, we hold a statewide meeting in November of each year as an educational and networking event for our Conservation Districts, their landowners, and our partners in natural resource conservation. Our 2015 theme is “Partnerships through Partnerships – Strategies for Success”, and the conference will be held over on the western slope this year, at the beautiful Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort.
CO Ag Council/CO Ag Water Alliance – CACD was present at the summer meeting of the Colorado Ag Council held on the morning of June 30th at the CO Department of Ag building in Broomfield. Immediately following, the CO Ag Water Alliance (CAWA) met for their summer meeting also. These two entities have a unique and close relationship and present a strong united front in the agricultural and water sectors for our state. I really enjoy attending these meetings and feel that CACD benefits in this relationship with the other strong Ag partners within Colorado.
Additional District Funding for 2015 – Direct Assistance funding for 2015 will increase in the amount of $92,053.00. On July 1st and 2nd, the Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) met to decide how to distribute those funds and most Districts will potentially see a bump in their DA allocation for 2015, depending upon performance. This increase to Conservation District funding was a 2014 CACD membership driven request, and is an example of what CACD’s annual membership dues dollars are used for legislatively.
2015 Camp Rocky – Camp Rocky was held on July 5th through 11th and was another great week for high school students interested in natural resource conservation! Although the camp week was a bit wet due to rain--a good time was had by all!! CACD, along with collaboration and funding help from some of its Districts and our great conservation partners, brings this educational youth camp together each year for high school students, ages 14 – 18 years. Our camp offers four natural resource conservation based disciplines: Soil and Water Conservation, Forest Management, Rangeland Science, and Fish and Wildlife Management. A big THANK YOU to all of the Conservation Districts who helped support our 2015 Camp Rocky program this year! Also, we could not put this youth camp program on without the help of NRCS and the CO Department of Agriculture volunteer instructors. Next years’ camp is scheduled for July 10th through the 16th, 2016.
Additional District Funding for 2015 – It’s official! CACD was successful at lobbying for an increase to the Conservation Districts’ Direct Assistance funding for 2015, in the amount of $92,053.00. These additional dollars could potentially increase each Districts DA annual allocations up to $1200. On July 1st and 2nd, the Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) will meet to decide how to distribute those funds. Most likely, most Districts will see a bump in their DA allocation for 2015, depending upon performance. This increase to Conservation District funding was a 2014 CACD membership driven request, and is an example of what CACD’s annual dues membership dollars are used for. The 2015 Legislative Session came to a close on May 6.
2015 CO Envirothon – The 2015 CO Envirothon competition took place May 14 and 15, in Alamosa, and was a huge success. CO Envirothon is CACD’s statewide natural resource competition for high school students, 4-H and FFA groups. Sargent High School’s five member team took home the first place honors and trophy, and will travel to Springfield, Missouri at the end of July to compete in the national NCF Envirothon contest. The second and third place teams were from Castle View High School in Douglas County. A big thank you to the Districts and Watersheds that contributed funds to help assure the success of CACD’s 2015 CO Envirothon program—particularly the Center and Rio Grande CDs. For more information about this year’s event and CO Envirothon 2016, please visit the COE website at: www.coloenvirothon.com .
Summer 2015 Watershed Meetings – Several of the Watersheds that hold a summer meeting have already met. I attended the Rio Grande Watershed meeting on May 26th, and will travel to the Upper South Platte Watershed on June 16, in Louisville, CO. These Watershed meetings are important to be attended by at least one or two members of each District within the watershed boundaries, so that the District has the chance to share their particular concerns with the entire Watershed representation. Please work at making your Watershed meeting an important part of your District business.
Monte Vista’s Sargent High School FFA team took first place honors at the 2015 Colorado Envirothon Competition held on May 14 and 15, in Alamosa. The second and third place teams were both from Castle View High School in Douglas County.
High school teams came from just about all areas of the state to compete in the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts’ annual natural resource-based contest. There were eighteen teams registered for the two day 2015 CO Envirothon event, but several had to cancel during the week due to unforeseen circumstances. The schools that made the trip to the San Luis Valley for this event were from Castle Rock, Craig, Fort Garland, Greeley, Kremmling, Monte Vista, San Luis, and Alamosa, CO.
Sargent High School’s team members were Wyatt Clark, Syree Gunnels, Jessica Kern, Kenon Miner, and Cassidy Plane. Mr. Jim Relyea acted as the school’s team sponsor. All students were tested in a total of five areas of natural resource issues, including: aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and soils. Teams also had to make an oral presentation on solving a current natural resource problem, with this year’s topic being “Urban Forestry”. Team work and critical thinking are the basis for a successful outcome at this fun and educational contest. CACD would like to thank all of this year’s participants and their school sponsors. The date and location of the 2016 CO Envirothon event will be announced in the coming months.
More information about the Colorado Envirothon program can be obtained from the website at www.coloenvirothon.com , or by calling CACD at: (719) 686-0020