Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

We support Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts who work for clean water and healthy soil every day.

Legislators Urged to Increase Funding for Conservation Districts

The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) is disappointed that the Governor’s proposed state budget does not include an increase for conservation districts.  This additional conservation district funding is needed to continue our operations and ever-growing responsibilities. We urge legislators to include a $500,000 increase for the Conservation District Fund in both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Protection. 

“The conservation districts play an important role in protecting the Commonwealth’s resources. By including an increase in the state budget for conservation districts, the legislators would be investing in continuing the conservation district mission of clean water and healthy soil for all Pennsylvanians,” said PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh.

Conservation districts continue to review permits, provide assistance to farmers, assist municipalities in preparing to fix low volume roads and dirt and gravel roads throughout the state, and help control mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus and Zika Virus.  

For more information about the work of the state’s 66 conservation districts, visit www.pacd.org. You can also follow PACD on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PAConservation.

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Shambaugh, Dryzal, and Thompson Testify Before House

(Left to right): John Dryzal, Brenda Shambaugh, and Chris Thompson testify before the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on January 24, 2022.

Representatives from PACD testified before the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on January 24, 2022. The testimony favored House Bill 1901, which would help ensure clean water for all Pennsylvanians.

PACD endorses HB 1901 because it would start several programs. First, this would put much-needed Best Management Practices (BMPs) on the ground. These BMPs would reduce the amount of pollution getting into Pennsylvania’s ground and surface water.

Brenda Shambaugh, Executive Director of the PA Association of Conservation Districts, testified in favor of the legislation. PACD represents the state’s 66 conservation districts. Also, John Dryzal, Cambria County Conservation District Manager, and Christopher Thompson, Lancaster County Conservation District Managing Director, spoke in favor of HB 1901.

“Clean water is vital to all Pennsylvanians. HB 1901 provides a way to use federal dollars in various programs. We hope that this bill passes. In addition, we ask legislators to consider future funding to continue controlling pollution,” said Shambaugh.

HB 1901 would provide additional resources to conservation districts. With this support, conservation districts will better address clean water issues. This includes helping farmers to reduce pollution. 

The entirety of the testimony is available here: https://tinyurl.com/HB1901

 

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Westmoreland Hosts Annual Partner and Legislator Breakfast

District directors and state and county elected officials and their representatives talk at the breakfast. Photo provided by Westmoreland Conservation District.

On December 8, the Westmoreland Conservation District hosted its annual partner breakfast to thank and acknowledge the people and organizations who helped us complete conservation projects this year. Nearly 60 people attended the event at the District’s office, which is an 1880s-era barn that was decorated for the holiday season. Among the guests were three county commissioners and eight state legislators or their staff members. 

The partner breakfast allowed District staff and board members to discuss with our elected leaders how valuable conservation districts are to county residents. We also requested an increase in the transfer to the conservation district fund in the PA DEP and PA Department of Agriculture lines by 20% in the state budget. As a result, Senator Kim Ward’s office will arrange a meeting next year in Harrisburg to talk with PACD and representatives of various districts about the details of their budget needs.

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Conservationists Testify on Invasive Species in the Commonwealth

Screenshots of Brian Pilarcik and Jody Groshek providing testimony.

On August 24, 2021, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania held a virtual public hearing on the negative impact of invasive species in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s conservation districts provided testimony at the hearing. Conservation district representatives outlined the importance of developing and funding a statewide invasive species program.

Brian Pilarcik is the Watershed Specialist for the Crawford County Conservation District. Pilarcik spoke about the aquatic invasive species, hydrilla, in the Pymatuning Reservoir. Pilarcik’s testimony is available here: https://tinyurl.com/BPilarcik.

The second conservation district speaker was Jody Groshek, the Communications and Outreach Director at McKean County Conservation District. She spoke about the importance of developing a coordinated statewide effort to address the threat of invasive species to Pennsylvania’s economy.

Groshek’s full testimony is available here: https://tinyurl.com/Groshek.

Pennsylvania’s conservation districts support cooperative invasive species work, which will benefit all Pennsylvanians.

Click here to read the press release. 

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Indiana and Clearfield County Conservation Districts Join Agriculture Summit

Photo provided by Indiana County Conservation District.

On August 9, 2021, Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson held an Agriculture Summit at Mount Aloysius College. Indiana County Conservation District Manager Doug Beri Jr. and Agricultural Specialist Marisa Matlin exhibited with Clearfield County Conservation District staff.

Panelists including Congressman John Joyce, PA Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and PA Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert discussed various issues and legislation impacting Pennsylvania farmers.

A video of the event is available here

 

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Public Hearing on Invasive Species

On August 24, 2021, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania will hold a public hearing on the negative impact of invasive species in PA. The webinar will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The meeting is virtual, but you must register to attend. This is a Senate Committee Meeting

This hearing is crucial to show the PA General Assembly the importance of developing and funding a statewide invasive species program.

Click here to register. 

Two conservation district staff will testify during the session.

Panel 1

Secretary Redding, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Secretary Dunn, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Executive Director Shaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Panel 2

Jayson Harper, Professor of Agricultural Economics, The Pennsylvania State University

Tom Kase, Resource Manager, Kane Hardwood

Dean Spencer, Owner, Shanesville Fruit Farm

Brian Pilarcik, Watershed Specialist, Crawford County Conservation District

Panel 3

Sara Grove, Professor of Political Science, Shippensburg University

Sarah Whitney, Director, Pennsylvania Sea Grant

Jody Groshek, Communications & Outreach Director, McKean County Conservation District

Josh Thiel, Invasive Species Section Chief, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Closing Remarks: Secretary Redding

 

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Potter County Conservation District Holds In-Person Municipal Breakfast

Photo of the municipal breakfast provided by PCCD.

The Potter County Conservation District (PCCD) held a Dirt, Gravel, and Low Volume Roads (DGLVR) Municipal Breakfast. The event took place on May 18, 2021, at the Coudersport Firehall and Senior Center. In all, 22 representatives from 11 townships were in attendance.

Speakers included Jacob Tomlinson of Trout Unlimited and David Morrison and Eric Nevel of the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies. PCCD DGLVR Technician Andrew Mickey and the local Quality Assurance Board presented program updates and preliminary project movement.

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Conservation District Week Wraps Up

Screenshot of Senator Gene Yaw (left) and Senator Elder Vogel Jr. (right) commenting on Conservation District Week.

On April 21, 2021, Senator Gene Yaw and Senator Elder Vogel Jr. offered remarks in support of Senate Resolution 50, recognizing Conservation District Week in Pennsylvania. Click the above links to view the videos.

Thank you to conservation districts that reached out to their legislators and the public last week to share the great work you do! 

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Conservation District Week Resources Available

Recognized by both the Pennsylvania State House and Senate, April 18-24, 2021, will be “Conservation District Week.” During this week, district offices will hold conference calls and virtual meetings with legislators.

Conservation district resources are available here.

Resources include:

Please take advantage of these resources PACD created for conservation districts to use.

Pennsylvania’s conservation districts thank Governor Tom Wolf and members of the PA House and Senate for supporting the districts through the state budget.

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