WEST POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

District News

As of March 23, 2020, all USDA Service Centers are, at a minimum, open by phone appointment only. USDA will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible.

The West Pottawattamie County Service Center remains open for business, however public access remains limited.  All visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency should call the Service Center at 712-328-2489 for a phone appointment.  

Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on Service Center status and available services.

Director's Hello

Director’s Hello – Susan Kozak, Division Director,

Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Greetings!  As I write this, the fall colors are just starting to emerge and the

temperatures are starting to dip.  Fall always seems like a time to reflect and

assess where I am at for the year and what I still need to accomplish before

the snow flies and all I want to do is hibernate.  This year, with all the

obstacles that have come our way, reflection seems even more important than ever.  It can be easy to focus on the hardships, but I like to find the positives, too.   For me personally, some of those positives have included camping opportunities that I don’t always embrace and lots of outdoor adventures with my husband and dog (or new “coworkers” as I like to call them). 

For the Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality, we have had many accomplishments to note.  Even with telework situations and figuring out new ways to keep our work moving, we have had one of our best years for conservation programs and getting practices on the ground.  Our cost share numbers are the 2nd highest ever and signups for cover crops this fall are record-setting.  It is so encouraging to see that even during a difficult situation, we can make things work and keep our important land and water stewardship ethic moving in the right direction.  We have seen dramatic increases in our implementation of edge of field practices, which include nutrient removal wetlands, bioreactors and saturated buffers.  We have a long way to go in our mission and we welcome everyone to check into ways to get involved – whether that is a large conservation practice on your farm or a small rain garden or pollinator habitat patch.

I want to make sure to thank all our hardworking staff, the District Commissioners, our conservation partners, and all the landowners that reach out to our staff and start a conversation.  Without each of you, we would not have all these positives to reflect upon from the year.  Please be safe and healthy as we look forward to 2021.

A Year of Successes for Iowa’s Soil and Water Conservation Programs

Will Myers, Field Services Bureau Chief – Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Even as we collectively faced many challenges this year, our strong conservation partnerships have continued to provide customer service and maintain business operations, which have resulted in one of the best years ever for state cost share program expenditures. I’ve spent the last several weeks compiling state fiscal year end cost share expenditures for 2020 and the results so far have been great. We have completed and processed a record number of conservation practice claims this year and are just below our highest year yet for total cost share expenditures. Additionally, our Water Quality Initiative statewide program offering has recently wrapped up and we have record number of applications again this year and an increase in cover crop acres signed up in over 60 Districts.

What’s especially noteworthy this year is that while we started strong in 2020 with successful completion of many field and urban based conservation projects, we also finished strong at a time when many of our staff, Commissioners, and partners were unable to meet for in-person meetings or face-to-face. We were able to quickly transition our traditional approach, often finding new and alternative methods to keep things moving in a timely manner. While challenges still remain, and we continue to move forward in our current environment, I think it’s appropriate to recognize our partnership and the collective successes of our programs. 

I would like to personally thank all of our dedicated an innovative Field Staff, District Commissioners, Federal Staff, and our many local partners, as well as our farmers and landowners for making this year a success. I look forward to our continued hard work and successes in the years to come.

Rotating Cattle, Accessible Water Critical for Overcoming Drought on Pastures

With most of the western half of Iowa in an Extreme or Serious Drought, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, many pastures lack the water and forage needed for a successful grazing system. 

Scholarship Winners Announced

The West Pottawattamie SWCD has awarded 2 scholarships for 2020.  While we received many great applications, we would like to congratulate Morghan Herman and Gage Garrison on their selections.

Morghan is a 2020 graduate from Missouri Valley High School

WANT TO HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON IOWA'S LAND AND PEOPLE?

 

BECOME A COMMISSIONER!

HERE'S HOW:

If you're qualified to vote in a Pottawattamie County general election, you're an eligible candidate for election to the West Pottawattamie county soil and water conservation district board.

Each district is governed by five commissioners who are elected at general elections on a nonpartisan basis four four-year terms. Only one commissioner may reside in any single township (Rockford, Boomer, Neola, Minden, Crescent, Hazel Dell, Norwalk, York, Lake, Garner, Hardin, Lewis, Keg Creek and Silver Creek). 

You'll need a nominating petition from the county Auditor or SWCD office. At least 25 eligible voters must sign the petition and you must file it with the Auditor no later than the 69th day before the general election. You must also file an affidavit stating your name, residence and an assurance that you are an eligible candidate. No political party is designated.

If elected, you will take an oath of office and begin your four-year term on the first day in January following the election (that is not a Sunday or a holiday).

 

Help Direct Local Programs

 

As a commissioner, you'll help guide SWCD programs in the county, and will have the opportunity to influence state and national conservation programs.

Your involvement will include establishing conservation priorities, resolving soil loss complaints, establishing acceptable soil loss limits, publishing an annual report, approving soil conservation plans, and assisting in the management of district funds and personnel.

You will be reimbursed for expenses, and be protected from personal liability. Among other things, you'll be expected to take part in regular monthly meetings, become knowledgeable of the soil and water conservation laws and program, develop and carry out soil and water resource conservation plans, and help direct financial incentives programs with assistance of office staff.

A commissioner is a volunteer conservation promoter in the community, who helps direct activities such as field days, educational meetings and materials, contests, awards programs, and publicity. Again, with the assistance of office staff.

The Conservation Partnership

Soil and Water Conservation districts work closely with a number of local, state & federal agencies, as well as with local groups and organizations.

·        Iowa Dept. of Agriculture & Land Stewardship- Division of Soil Conservation

·        Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)​

The Division helps districts administer state and local programs, including financial incentive programs, and assigns state technical and secretarial people to districts. 

Work With Other Agencies And Groups

Districts work closely with other entities including:

·        State Soil Conservation Committee

·        Conservation Districts of Iowa

·        Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources

·        USDA Farm Services Agency

·        USDA Rural Development

·        Iowa Cooperative Extension Service

·        Pottawattamie County Conservation Board

·        Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors

District commissioners may also call on service organizations, businesses, agricultural organizations, media, environmental organizations, schools, and other local individuals and groups to promote soil and water conservation and natural resource protection.

Help Administer Conservation Programs

The SWCD's are legal subdivision of state government. Commissioners are responsible for carrying out state laws and programs within district boundaries. These include:

·        Sediment control law

·        Conservation cost-sharing

·        Conservation revolving loan funds

·        Water quality protection projects

·        Resources enhancement and protection

Federal Programs

·        Conservation Reserve Program

·        Environmental Quality Incentives Program

·        Wetlands Reserve Program

·        Conservation Planning

Districts serve as local sponsors for watershed projects, resource conservation and development areas, and soil surveys as well.

By Law, Conservation Districts Can...

Iowa law grants authority to Conservation Districts to carry out activities that will help get conservation on the ground.  According to the law, Conservation Districts can...

·        Conduct surveys, investigation and research about soil erosion, sediment damages, floodwater, and development preventative control measures

·        Conduct demonstration projects

·        Cooperate or enter into agreements with, and furnish financial or other aid to government or other agencies, or any owner or occupant of land within the district to carry out erosion control and watershed protection.

·        Obtain options and acquire property, rights, or interests by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant or otherwise. May maintain, administer, and improve properties acquired.  May receive income from such properties and expend income to carry out conservation activities. 

·        May accept donations, gifts and contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise from the United States or any of its agencies, and from the State or any of its agencies to carry on district operations.

·        Encourage local school districts to provide instruction about soil conservation as part of course work relating natural resources conservation and environmental awareness.

·        Develop comprehensive plans to conserve natural resources including controlling and preventing soil erosion.

·        Help administer cost share for conservation practices in the county.

The major criteria for being a successful commissioner is an interest in the natural resources and people of Iowa.

Equal Opportunity For All

Districts offer services without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, political beliefs or marital status. To help broaden interest in district programs, and to bring different perspectives to district boards, districts encourage everyone to consider serving as a SWCD commissioner.

Pheasants Forever

 

In 1982, a group of pheasant hunters saw the connection between

upland habitat loss and declining pheasant populations. An organization

dedicated to wildlife habitat conservation was needed, and Pheasants

Forever was formed. Pheasants Forever’s mission work quickly garnered it a reputation as “The Habitat Organization,” a tagline the nonprofit

conservation group uses proudly to this day.

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

How do we achieve this mission across more than 45 U.S. states and parts of Canada? Through the dedicated efforts of our:

  • 149,000 members

  • Diverse staff – including more than 150 wildlife biologists

  • Local chapters – more than 700

  • Many non-governmental, governmental, nonprofit and corporate partners

The sum of these parts has made Pheasants Forever the recognizable leader in wildlife habitat projects accomplished and the leading advocate for wildlife habitat conservation.

Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist
Quarterly Report
January- March 2020

Information provided by pheasantsforever.org