Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

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

Schedule Announced for 2023 Team-Building Workshops

All district staff are invited to participate in the 2023 CliftonStrengths Initiative, which includes an online strengths assessment and a team-building workshop scheduled at a PA State Park. Stay tuned for coming announcements, but in the meantime, please mark your calendars for the workshop date closest to you:

  • Tuesday, February 28 – Hickory Run State Park
  • Thursday, March 2 – French Creek State Park
  • Tuesday, March 7 – Bald Eagle State Park
  • Wednesday, March 8 – Moraine State Park
  • Thursday, March 9 – Keystone State Park
  • Tuesday, March 14 – Lackawanna State Park

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

 

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Five Conservation Districts Receive Chesapeake Bay Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $33.8 million in grant awards to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 104 grants will leverage more than $30 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $64 million.

Awards for Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts:

  • Accelerating Agricultural Pollution Reduction in the Mahantango Watershed
    Grantee: Snyder County Conservation District Grant, $414,000.
    Reduce agricultural runoff in the West and North Branches of Mahantango Creek through farmer outreach, developing agricultural conservation plans, and implementing conservation practices on beef and poultry operations. The project will result in the development of 30 agricultural conservation plans to guide future farm management for improved water quality.
  • Advancing Conservation Practice Implementation Through Planning
    Grantee: Lebanon County Conservation District Grant, $61,200.
    Provide additional technical assistance support to assist with the significant requests for conservation plans within the Little Swatara and Swatara Creek watersheds in Lebanon County. The project will result in the development of more than 50 agricultural conservation plans that will allow the advancement of future implementation of pollutant reduction best management practices on farms in these watersheds.
  • Enhancing Resilience of the Cowanesque Watershed through Collaboration
    Grantee: Potter County Conservation District Grant, $500,000.
    Implement more than 11,000 acres of soil health practices across the headwaters of the Cowanesque River in Potter and Tioga counties, including cover crops, no-till, prescribed grazing, and nutrient management. The project will enhance eastern brook trout populations in a high-priority patch by restoring connectivity to upstream cold-water habitat by replacing an existing stream culvert.
  • Helping Farmers Accomplish Conservation Goals in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed
    Grantee: Union County Conservation District Grant, $500,000.
    Implement agricultural conservation practices on four Turtle Creek watershed farms within the Susquehanna River’s broader West Branch. The project will complete whole farm conservation plans by strategically leveraging federal conservation program funding to fulfill farm-level funding needs.
  • Middle Creek Strategic Watershed Restoration Plan
    Grantee: Schuylkill Conservation District Grant, $50,000.
    Conduct an assessment of the Middle Creek watershed and develop a restoration plan that addresses sources of stormwater, flooding, sediment, and habitat fragmentation to build environmental and community resiliency. The project will rank pollution sources and watershed stressors and identify specific restoration solutions with the highest impact and lowest cost and risk.

Click here to read more. 

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Leadership Development Updates

Employment Law Seminars Announced for 2023

Adam Long of McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC will present a series of seminars on Employment Law for Conservation Districts on February 21 at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Cranberry, February 22 at the Ramada State College, and February 23 at the Country Inn & Suites Lehighton-Jim Thorpe, with a follow-up webinar planned for March.

The presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of practice and policy for lawfully and effectively managing conservation district staff. Topics will include hiring considerations and employment policies such as harassment training and policy, employee absences, leave wage, employee classification, and best management practices for staff communication, confidentiality, conduct, and performance concerns.

All conservation district managers, directors, and associate directors are encouraged to attend. Seminars will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch is provided, and all attendees will receive a bound reference document to supplement the presentation. Visit Building for Tomorrow for more information and to register. 

Apply Now for 2023 Strategic Planning Grants

The State Conservation Commission has allocated funding for grants to reimburse up to $1,500 in expenses related to developing a district strategic plan for the 2022-23 program year. The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent for 2023 is December 23, 2022. Click here for information and program requirements, or contact Leadership Development Coordinator Matt Miller at mmiller@pacd.org.

Submit Your 2022 Entry for the 3rd Annual Conservation District Video Awards

All districts that produced and shared video or animated content this year can submit entries for the 3rd Annual Conservation District Video Awards, scheduled for February 16. Click here for the submission form. All entries must be received by December 31, 2022.

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Cliff Lane Elected to NACD Executive Board

Photo of Cliff Lane is from the McKean County Conservation District website.

Cliff Lane was recently elected as the North East Region Representative to the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) Executive Board. He will take office in early 2023.

“I look forward to representing Pennsylvania and the entire North East in my new role with the national association,” said Lane.

Cliff also serves as the PACD North West Region Director, as well as  Commissioner Director and Secretary/Treasurer for the McKean County Conservation District. He has been a director for McKean County Conservation District since 2004.

Congratulations Cliff!

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Eight Conservation Districts Receive Funding for CREP Education Projects

Pennsylvania’s conservation districts were awarded over $16,500 to implement educational and outreach activities that support and extend the work of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Projects include field days, workshops, and one-on-one visits.

Counties awarded funding include:

Adams – $3,000
Clarion – $2,600
Jefferson – $1,400
Potter – $1,400
Snyder – $3,000
Tioga – $2,050
Union – $1,500
Washington – $1,880

Click here to read the entire press release. 

Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

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Register for the Virtual 2023 PACD Winter Meeting Today!

The Virtual 2023 PACD Winter Meeting will take place as a series of video conferences in January. Committees will meet between January 6 and 20, followed by PACD Executive Council on January 26.

Registration is open to all conservation district directors, associate directors, staff, partner agency staff, and invited guests. Registration for each meeting is free and required. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with information to participate using Zoom or by phone. Meeting materials will be distributed prior to the meeting.

Please email the listed contact to request a registration link:

Registration for PACD Executive Council:

PACD Executive Council Video Conference
January 26, 2023 | 10 a.m.–Noon
Email mburns@pacd.org for a link to register

Registration for PACD Committees:

PACD Conservation Committee Video Conference
January 6, 2023 | 10–11 a.m.
Email mburns@pacd.org for a link to register

PACD District Employees Committee Video Conference
January 11, 2023 | 11 a.m.–Noon
Contact hmiller@pacd.org for a link to register

PACD Education & Outreach Committee Video Conference
January 12, 2023 | 10–11 a.m.
Contact swehinger@pacd.org for a link to register.

PACD Legislative Committee Video Conference
January 17, 2023 | 10–11 a.m.
Email mburns@pacd.org for a link to register

PACD Ways & Means Committee Video Conference
January 19, 2023 | 10–11 a.m.
Contact abrown@pacd.org for a link to register.

PACD Operations Committee Video Conference
January 20, 2023 | 10–11 a.m.
Contact mburns@pacd.org to request a registration link.

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Submit Your Entries for the 2022 Conservation District Video Awards

It’s that time of year again – time to submit your videos for the 3rd Annual Conservation District Video Awards! Who will win the coveted CONDIVA trophy this year? We’ll have to wait until February to find out, but in the meantime, all districts that have produced and shared video or animated content this year are encouraged to submit their entries by December 31, 2022. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Building Blocks of Trust webinar on November 16. Links to the presentation recording, a Building Blocks of Trust summary, and a full report with case studies are posted at Building for Tomorrow

Reminder: The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent for the 2023 Strategic Planning Grants Program is December 23, 2022. Visit Building for Tomorrow for more information, or contact Matt Miller, Leadership Development Coordinator mmiller@pacd.org

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Deadline Approaching for CREP Mini-grant Applications

PACD is accepting mini-grant applications for up to $3,000 to implement educational and outreach activities that support and extend the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) work. Projects should focus on CREP enrollment, re-enrollment, and/or CREP maintenance.

Applications are due November 18, 2022.

Project examples:

-Walkabouts/field days
-Farmer and landowner workshops
-Riparian buffer workshops
-Workshop series with several topics
-Develop educational materials like brochures, flyers, fact sheets, or even billboards
-Hire interns to provide CREP outreach

The guidelines and application for the new grant round are posted here. Questions should be directed to Holly Miller at hmiller@pacd.org.

Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

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Volunteers Needed for Conservation District Booth at the 2023 PA Farm Show

Staff from Indiana County Conservation District work the conservation district booth at the 2022 PA Farm Show on January 13, 2022. Photo taken by Diane Young.

PACD will again partner with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to host a Conservation District booth at the 2023 PA Farm Show.

Conservation districts are encouraged to set up a display for a day and educate folks from all over the state. It’s an opportunity to highlight your district, your county, and what’s going on in your area. If your district has an exhibit that travels easily and you would like to spend a few hours enjoying the Farm Show, then this opportunity is for you.

The show runs from Saturday, January 7, to Saturday, January 14. We need volunteers to staff the booth (one or two volunteers per shift). The morning shift is 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The afternoon shift is 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Please let us know if you would like to fill one or more of these shifts as soon as possible. Contact Brenda Shambaugh at bshambaugh@pacd.org by November 28 with your contact information and the shifts you’d like to fill.

 

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Lehigh County Conservation District Holds Stormwater Workshop

Workshop photo provided by Lehigh County Conservation District.

On October 20, 2022, the Lehigh County Conservation District and its partners carried out a Sustainable Backyard Workshop at the Lehigh County Water Authority. The workshop educated 26 homeowners on the importance of reducing stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution through the use of best management practices. Attendees learned about different types of nonpoint source pollution around their homes. They were given recommendations on best management practices they can install and maintain at home to minimize the impacts of stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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