For over sixty years, the Clark Conservation District has been a successful partner working with local residents and groups in promoting natural resource conservation. Conservation districts are non- regulatory, subdivisions of state government, similar to fire districts or school districts. The Clark Conservation District works with property owners to conserve natural resources. Past projects include helping restore stream health with riparian plantings and exclusion fencing, replacing old culverts for better fish passage, and assisting animal owners in managing mud and manure.
Clark Conservation District is self-governed by a Board of Supervisors made up of volunteers who establish priorities, set policy, and direct the expertise of the District staff. The Board of Supervisors work in partnership with groups like Clark County, Clark Public Utilities, and local citizen groups. Board members are volunteers, therefore, they are not paid a salary.
The Clark Conservation District is funded through state and federal grants that requires a dollar-for-dollar match. Clark Conservation District receives minimal funding from local sources. Grants are also acquired to fund specific projects on private lands for conservation practices such as streamside plantings, livestock exclusion fencing, and culvert replacements.
When working with local landowners, Clark Conservation District coordinates both technical and financial assistance, as well as providing the information and education necessary to encourage good stewardship of our environment.
Population growth and the increasing complexity of new environmental regulations, such as the revised Clark County Agricultural Habitat Protection ordinance, have led to a dramatic increase in the need for District services.
Clark Conservation District has the ability to help landowners address these regulations and manage their lands wisely. Although the District has been successful in obtaining funding from grants in the past, available financial resources presently fall short of providing enough resources to meet all the requests for assistance from Clark County residents. Washington State law allows conservation districts to receive funding through property assessments. This is the only stable source of funding available for non-regulatory type districts.
After careful consideration and consultation, the Board of Supervisors of the Clark Conservation District will present a proposal for an assessment to the Clark County Board of Commissioners. Clark Conservation District is confident it will become an even more effective partner, through this funding, in helping local residents and agencies with natural resource conservation.
Conservation District Assistance Delivered
Clark Conservation District offers an important voluntary action-based alternative for solving natural resource concerns. Unlike county and city governments, we are able to work on private lands, directly for the landowner. Clark Conservation District staff work with landowners to develop a resource conservation plan or provide technical assistance. Then, we back up the plan with help putting it into action. In many cases, we are able to arrange funding for the project. In 2005, Clark Conservation District brought in over $300,000 worth of grants to help Clark County residents. This was accomplished with a basic funding grant of approximately $10,000, giving the District a return ratio of $30.00 grant dollars for every $1.00 of basic funding. For every $5.00 investment, it can return $150.00 to our community’s natural resources. By providing a foundation for natural resource programs, this investment will be used as local match to bring as much as $1,000,000 a year in additional grant money to our community.
Clark Conservation District services are unique because:
- We have extensive technical expertise through our partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
- We work directly with private landowners to solve their site-specific concerns.
- District programs are developed in direct response to local needs and are not the mandate of an unseen government.
- The District is not a regulatory or enforcement agency. Our programs are based on educational and technical assistance through voluntary cooperation of landowners.
- We help landowners implement practices on their property by providing technical assistance and cost-share.
- We don’t conduct studies or spend years writing plans. Our time is spent getting projects on the ground.
Click on the Programs tab above for more information on the Districts programs
Assessment Means Minimal Increase for Property Owners
In December the Clark Conservation District will present to the Clark County Board of Commissioners a system of assessments. The Clark County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to establish a special assessment to support our local resources.This assessment will create a fund dedicated to the conservation of Clark County’s natural resources over a ten year period.
A base amount of $5.00 per property parcel will be assessed. For properties over 1 acre in size, an additional $0.10 per acre will be added.
The conservation assessment will be minimal. For example, a 20-acre parcel would be assessed $7.00 per year ($5.00 base amount, plus 20 acres multiplied by $0.10 per acre), a 1 acre parcel would be assessed $5.00 per year.
The District will allocate assessments to fund all aspects of operations, programs, and services. Within program areas, 90% or more of the funding will be used for the planning, design, and construction of conservation measures, or educational activities that lead to the conservation of renewable natural resources.
Assessment funding will make it possible for the District to compete for a larger amount of outside funding. If our previous performance remains constant, $600,000 in basic funding can be expected to leverage another $1.8 million in grant funding from outside sources as the assessment and District matures.
Below is a summary of projected revenues from assessment funding:
$464,648 Unincorporated Clark County
$ 723,818 Estimated Assessment
How You Can Get Involved
All Clark County residents depend on our area’s natural resources. We drink the water, eat the fish, build homes from the timber, grow vegetables and crops in the soil, and enjoy the diversity of wildlife.
The long-term stability of our area’s economy, the value of our property, and the preservation of Clark County’s quality of life depend on the conservation of what now seems plentiful.
There are many opportunities available to get involved in helping steward our county’s natural resources. Contact the Clark Conservation District for more information.
Please take the time to write a letter of support for the Clark Conservation District office. Your written statements of support may make the difference when it comes to increased District assistance in your community.