MACD News Blog

MAEAP 2500 Verification Celebration

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) celebrated the 2500 verification on October 30, 2014, at Darling Farms in Monroe County. The event was held to celebrated the half way point to achieving the goal of 5,000 verifications within the program.

I was pleased to be present at the event, along with several Conservation District employees and MAEAP technicians, to celebrate this milestone.  And, I made sure to capture the moment with a picture of attending Conservation District staff members with Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director.

MAEAP is an innovative, proactive, and voluntary program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks and Michigan Conservation Districts are the main delivery system, providing program technicians whom assist farmers and landowners work through the three phase process to become verified.  To learn more about MAEAP, visit www.maeap.org

Thank you Conservation Districts for all you do!

MACD Presents Kenny Price with 2014 Director of the Year Award

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Kenny Price, Chairman of the Jackson Conservation District, with the 2014 Director of the Year Award on Tuesday, October 28th. The award, presented during the MACD Annual Convention held in Bellaire, honored Kenny Price for his outstanding support, advocacy and leadership in natural resource conservation at the local level.
 
The Director of the Year is named annually by MACD to recognize the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District director. As local, special purpose units of government, each Conservation District is governed by a locally elected, five-member board of directors. These directors provide leadership and make decisions regarding the District's programs and activities. Michigan's 78 Conservation Districts are local special purpose units of state government which provide resource management services and assistance to help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.
 
"MACD is pleased to honor Kenny Price with the 2014 Director of the Year Award," said Lori Phalen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. "Kenny is an enthusiastic director, dedicated to the mission of Conservation Districts. He is willing to share his knowledge and roll up his sleeves to assist the District, whether it is advocating the benefits of District programs with county officials, or cleaning local rivers. Kenny is a true steward of our environment and an integral part of Michigan's conservation community and we are pleased to honor him with this award."
 


Left to Right: Lori Phalen, Ex. Director MACD; Lori Fitzgibbons, Jackson County Conservation District Manager, Kenny Price, Jackson County CD Board Chair; Kandice Karll, Jackson County CD Watershed Manager, Art Pelon, MACD President and Mike Krcmarik, Jackson County CD CTAI Engineer. 

Kenny Price was elected to the Jackson Conservation District Board in January of 2012 and voted in as Chairman in 2013. With Kenny's dedication to the mission of the Conservation District and his knowledge and willingness to help, wherever and whenever needed, he has been a true asset to the Jackson Conservation District. Kenny has cleaned highways and rivers, volunteered to work at District events, spoke at outreach events, and has consistently attended board, regional and state meetings. Kenny also serves as the President of the Grand River Environmental Action Team and is a member of the Upper Grand River Watershed Alliance.
 
Congratulations Kenny, and thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Jackson County Conservation District!

MACD Honors Mary Fales and the Nature Conservancy with 2014 Friend of Conservation Award

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Mary Fales and The Nature Conservancy with the 2014 Friend of Conservation Award on Tuesday, October 28th. The award, presented during the MACD Annual Convention held in Bellaire, recognizes an individual, business, organization or agency who partners with Conservation Districts to help Michigan citizens conserve their lands and Michigan's natural resources.
 
"MACD is pleased to recognize The Nature Conservancy and Mary Fales, Saginaw Bay Project Director," said Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director. "Through their work, within Saginaw Bay and the Cass River Watershed, they are making a lasting, positive impact on our environment and it is our pleasure to honor them with the 2014 Friend of Conservation Award."
 
MACD annually presents the Friend of Conservation Award to recognize an individual, business, organization, or agency for their outstanding contributions to: 1) improve the understanding of natural resource conservation by the public; 2) participate in resource management practices in cooperation with a Conservation District, state or national conservation program, and 3) further the mission of Michigan Conservation Districts as the local providers of natural resource management services to help our citizens conserve their lands and our State's resources for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.
 
Nominated by the Sanilac and Tuscola Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has provided resources to educate agricultural producers and landowners on conservation programs and practices that enhance water quality in the Saginaw Bay and the Cass River Watershed.  Their efforts have allowed Conservation Districts to focus technicians' time promoting and implementing Farm Bill and conservation programs in the Cass River Watershed. Over a two year period TNC has provided public promotion of conservation practices through cover crop plots, workshops, presentations and informational mailings to landowners and agricultural producers within Sanilac and Tuscola counties.  Funding provided by the TNC has been a major contributor to 10 wetland restorations that have been started and or completed, over 30 conservation plans, and over 15 NRCS conservation contracts. These contracts have led to the use of conservation practices such as: cover crops, reduced tillage, filter strips and grassed waterways on several thousand acres across the two counties.  Additionally, several livestock facilities have had Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans written and are implementing practices on their farms to reduce the risk of manure and other waste from contaminating surface and ground water.  The Nature Conservancy has been an excellent partner with both the Sanilac and Tuscola Conservation Districts and has helped bring conservation to many landowners and agricultural producers in both counties. 
 


Left to Right: Joe Kautz, Sanilac County Conservation District Manager; Randal Dell, TNC Ag Strategy Manager; Art Pelon, MACD President and Lori Phalen, MACD Executive Director.

To learn more about the work of the Sanilac County Conservation District, visit: www.sanilaccd.org, to learn more about the Tuscola Conservation District visit: www.tuscolacd.com.  For more information about the work of The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, visit: www.nature.org.

Muskegon Conservation District plays integral role in removing White Lake as an Area of Concern

Friday, October 31, 2014

For more than two decades the community surrounding White Lake has been working to deal with an industrial legacy that placed the lake on a bi-national list of "toxic hotspots" known as Areas of Concern (AOC). Yesterday White Lake, one of forty-three AOCs throughout the Great Lakes, was officially removed as an AOC by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; an achievement that truly highlights the importance of partnerships as an essential element of many local natural resource projects. Thus, it is not surprising that one of the partners in this effort was a Conservation District. 
  
In the early years of the White Lake Area of Concern community leaders and local advocates formed the White Lake Public Advisory Council and it was this organization that began the work to address and document many of the problems that plagued White Lake. It was during these initial years that the Muskegon Conservation District first got involved providing administrative support, outreach, and education. While activities progressed and projects evolved the Conservation District started a more active role in writing grants, initiating surveys, and facilitating contract work with other local and state partners to determine the scope of the restoration work which was necessary to remove White Lake as an Area of Concern. As the White Lake Public Advisory Council and community leaders moved toward action and implementation, the role of the Muskegon Conservation District shifted again; this time providing technical guidance, developing restoration plans, and documenting progress made on individual impairments. 

With the White Lake Public Advisory Council making continuous progress toward removal of White Lake as an Area of Concern, it became apparent that a significant portion of the degraded habitat had yet to be addressed. Once again the Conservation District stepped forward and in 2010 wrote and received 2.1 million dollars from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. These funds allowed the Conservation District and community to implement a comprehensive fish and wildlife habitat restoration project which put AOC removal in reach.  

Jeff Auch, Executive Director of the Muskegon Conservation District, is ardent to note: "Although we played a key role in White Lake's recovery it was the local community, municipal leaders, and individuals that deserve the credit. The District simply did what Conservation Districts do so well - filling a niche in natural resource management. Sometimes this is taking a leadership role, implementing projects, or providing technical guidance; while other times it is the behind the scenes work of writing grants and reports, doing outreach, and developing designs."

The White Lake community and the Great Lakes Region have much to celebrate with this accomplishment, most notably the recognition that partners make all the difference in the protection and restoration of natural resources. Congratulations to White Lake and to the Muskegon Conservation District on this significant achievement! 


About Michigan Conservation Districts
Michigan's 78 Conservation Districts are the local providers of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.

As local, special purpose units of government, each Conservation District is governed by a locally elected, five-member board of directors. The guiding philosophy of Michigan Conservation Districts is that local people should make decisions on conservation issues at the local level, with technical assistance provided by government.

For more information about Michigan Conservation Districts and to connect to your local Conservation District, visit the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) website www.macd.org, or contact MACD at 517-324-5274.