By Jeff Rebitski, Staff Writer
Riverton-The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) is a nonprofit organization that represents Wyoming’s 34 conservation districts and their 170 elected Board members. Conservation districts are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level. Districts work with landowners, counties, cities, towns and other community organizations to conserve land and water resources on private and public lands in the United States.
The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts provides leadership for the conservation of Wyoming’s soil and water resources, promotes the control of soil erosion, promotes and protects the quality of Wyoming’s waters, reduce siltation of stream channels and reservoirs, promote wise use of Wyoming’s water, and all other natural resources, preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect the tax base and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of this state through a responsible conservation ethic.
The association feels that conservation decisions should be made at the local level with technical and funding assistance from federal, state and local governments and the private sector. As a voice for all conservation districts, WACD supports voluntary, incentive-driven natural resource conservation programs that benefit all citizens.
Activities throughout the conference will include a tour of Boysen Reservoir and the swim beach, with information about the pathogens that endanger our waters, Water quality tours including Ocean Lake and other tributaries around the county.
The meeting being held at The Holiday Inn in Riverton, is an effort to invest in yet another local community through the frank discussions and training of local land and water managers and owners.
During the 1930s, the Dust Bowl made the need to conserve natural resources, particularly soil, very clear. Agencies ranging from Land Grant Universities to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration researched and implemented conservation practices throughout the nation. Eventually, the Soil Conservation Service, now named Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was created under the Soil Conservation Act of 1935, to develop and implement soil erosion control programs. On June 22, 2020 the Navigable Waters Protection Rule became effective which finalized a revised definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
Wyoming’s Conservation Districts must work hand in hand with landowners throughout the state to protect and enhance wildlife habitat. Working with Landowners to access necessary technical and financial resources for habitat improvement is a priority for many conservation Districts. Districts have worked to develop Safe Harbor Agreement for the Wyoming Toad, Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances for Sage Grouse conservation, implementation of habitat enhancement with funding support from the Wildlife & Natural Resource Trust fund, and more.
Conservation districts are often actively involved in assisting livestock grazing permittees and federal agencies with Cooperative Rangeland monitoring. The importance of public land grazing in the state to the viability and health of rangelands, the agriculture industry and the state’s communities is vital. The districts often provide educational opportunities for ranchers to expand their knowledge on rangeland monitoring as well as assisting both ranchers and other agencies with obtaining additional resources to enhance rangeland.
The meeting will be held from June 28 through the 30th and there is more information on the website.