MCCD reviews the business for upcoming year

Participants at the annual meeting review the exhibits and posters on display.About 100 people attended the 68th annual dinner meeting of the Marion County Conservation District Saturday at Eastmoor United Metho?dist Church in Marion.

In addition to recognizing the first, second and third place poster contest winners from elementary schools in Marion County, award winners and guest speaker, the MCCD released its 2014 business plan.

The information outlined the following four objectives and goals:

? using the watershed approach to promote information and assistance to enable locally led watershed scale conservation efforts.

Within that objective, the goals are to provide leadership and direction in implementing the conservation provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill and chairing the local work group.

? administering of the Marion County non-point and water resources cost share program.

? reviewing the MCCD budget in view of needs and priorities, and meeting with county commissioners to obtain funds for 2014 operations.

? carrying out active Marion Reservoir and Cottonwood Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) programs.

? administering the local conservation district cost-share program.

? preparing a newsletter and report for the annual meeting.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be responsible for the following programs: Conservation Security Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Grassland Reserve Program and the Conservation Reserve Program.

? providing assistance as requested to the organized watershed districts in the county, which include Middle Creek, Doyle Creek, Lyons Creek, Sand Creek, Turkey Creek and Whitewater River.

? implementing livestock waste systems in the county.

The second objective highlighted was seeking and promoting cooperative efforts to achieve natural resource goals.

The goals include:

? promoting land treatment above active watershed sites.

? working with the Resource Conservation and Development Council to develop its work plan and complete measures in the county.

? supporting the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts and National Association of Conservation Districts by paying dues and attending at meetings and conventions.

? implementing the State Buffer Initiative program.

? arranging for an audit of the district?s financial records by a certified public accountant.

? using Earth Team volunteers to help with conservation education activities.

? promoting conservation programs in Marion County schools.

? constructing a fair booth on current conservation programs and activities.

? disseminating WRAPS information on a regular basis to all stakeholders and the public through media meetings, direct mailings and other avenues.

? participating in other activities, including Enviro Fest for fourth-grade students, regional and state envirothon contests, the poster contest, scholarships for youth camp and Soil Stewardship week.

? recognizing winners of the Grassland, Buffer, Continuation Conservation, Young Conservation Farmer, Wildlife and Conservation Teacher awards. Also recognizing the Kansas Bankers Association?Conservation awards.

? conducting conservation tours.

? cooperating with Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever and other wildlife groups to promote the habitat for targeted species.

The third objective in the 2014 plan stated the need for a market-based approach to facilitate growth of market-based opportunities that encourage the private sector to invest in conservation on private lands.

The goals include:

? working with the local no-till committee to publicize information about carbon sequestration and the carbon credit program.

? serving as a vendor for grass seed and grass drill rental, pipe and tanks as a service to local producers.

? locating a demonstration field for growing switchgrass as biomass.

The plan?s fourth objective stated the need for success and acceptance of current conservation programs and policies, which will be measured by usage of performance goals.

The goal would include working with landowners on abandoned wells and on site wastewater systems.