MACD News Blog

Carl Druskovich Receives 2016 Friend of Conservation Award

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

EAST LANSING - The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) honored Carl Druskovich, Treasurer of the Van Buren Conservation District (VBCD), with the 2016 Director of the Year Award on Tuesday, October 25th at the MACD Convention and Annual Meeting held in Bellaire, MI.

The Director of the Year is named annually by the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts to recognize the outstanding contributions of a Conservation District director; one who has provided strong leadership, advocacy and promotion of conservation practices within the community. 

"Carl is an amazing director, going above and beyond to support the Van Buren Conservation District, its staff and programs." said Lori Phalen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. "Carl is a true leader, conservation steward and an integral part of Michigan's conservation community and we are pleased to honor him with the 2016 Director of the Year Award."

Mr. Druskovich has passion for the VBCD and its programs and offers a great deal of support to the District.  He brings along additional volunteers to events and offers up his farm to host educational workshops where others learn about the conservation programs and obtain a first-hand look at specialized equipment, no-till practices, cover cropped fields, irrigation scheduling and more.  Carl is a strong conservation advocate, promoting conservation practices, implementing those practices on his own farm and supporting the mission of the Van Buren Conservation District. 

The Van Buren Conservation District is a special purpose unit of government, governed by a locally elected five-member board of directors who provide leadership to the District's activities and programs. The VBCD promotes the conservation of natural resources through partnerships, by providing public education, demonstrations and technical assistance while working together for future generations. Learn more about the VBCD by visiting vanburencd.org.

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts is a 501(c)3 organization that represents the interests of Michigan Conservation Districts and works to strengthen Districts through leadership, information and representation at the state level. Michigan's 77 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.  For more information about Michigan Conservation Districts and to connect to your local Conservation District, visit www.macd.org, or contact MACD at 517-324-5274.



Left to Right: Art Pelon, MACD President; Kyle Mead, Eleanor Serocki, Matt Meersman, Kim Sinclair, Carl Druskovich, AJ Brucks, Lori Phalen MACD Ex. Director, Colleen Forestieri, and Erin Fuller all from the Van Buren Conservation District.

Carl Druskovich, Treasurer of Van Buren Conservation District and MACD 2016 Director of the Year.

Farmer-Led Conservation to Get a Boost in Western Lake Erie Basin

Friday, October 28, 2016

EAST LANSING - October 28, 2016.  Farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin will get a boost through the Farmers taking Action to Protect Water Quality in Western Lake Erie Basin grant project, recently funded by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.  


The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) has received $480,000 over three years to increase farmer adoption of conservation practices to protect water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin and strengthen farmer leadership to encourage neighbor action.  MACD will be working with the River Raisin Watershed Council, the Lenawee Conservation District and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) as project partners.

“This project targets the development of outreach tools, the expansion of Farmer-Led Conservation groups; and will also provide funds for farmers to distribute to improve water quality within the River Raisin Watershed,” said Lori Phalen MACD Executive Director, “we are pleased to be working with such outstanding partners to foster continued farmer-led progress within the watershed.”

“River Raisin Watershed Council is excited to continue a program that has brought attention to our efforts to partner with the local conservation district and the agricultural community through local Farmer-Led Conservation Groups and help tell their story of successes and conservation practices that reduce their impact on soil and nutrient losses in the Western Lake Erie Basin.  This truly is a grassroots effort to educate and implement meaningful agricultural practices throughout the River Raisin Watershed” states Stephen May Executive Director.

The Western Lake Erie Basin encompasses nearly 6 million acres of land (drained by the Maumee, Portage and Ottawa Rivers), as well as the open waters of Maumee Bay- the region’s gateway to Lake Erie and one of the most biologically diverse, productive and economically important areas of the Great Lakes system. 

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts is a 501(c)3 organization that represents the interests of Michigan Conservation Districts and works to strengthen Districts through leadership, information and representation at the state level.  Michigan’s 77 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.

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation’s mission is to nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit, consistent with sustainable business models, and support initiatives to restore the Great Lakes Ecosystem.  The Foundation is committed to the standards and approaches of sustainability, organizational effectiveness, collaboration and leadership in support of its mission.   

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Van Buren Conservation District Recognized

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Van Buren Conservation District recognized for dedicated work with local farmers

Bellaire, MI - At the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Annual Convention, the Van Buren Conservation District was honored with the MAEAP Grant Host of the Year award from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Award was given for the continued support for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and the programs push to help Michigan farmers become, and continue to be, better stewards of the land. Van Buren Conservation District staff attended the conference and accepted the honorable award in front of representatives from other Conservation District, as well as representatives from various state and federal agencies. "We are pleased to have received this award. We have a great team here at the Van Buren Conservation District. Our staff is very knowledgeable and hardworking but the real recognition should go to the farmers across Michigan that are working hard not only for the production of crops but the effort that is being made to change their operation and practices to help keep our environment clean and safe." says AJ Brucks, Executive Director.

The goal of the MAEAP Program is to offer free, confidential, and non-regulatory farm assessments that assist farmers in complying with state and federal laws and Michigan Right to Farm guidelines. The assessments evaluate practices on the farm such as fertilizer, fuel and pesticide storage and practices that take place in the field such as pesticide and fertilizer application, irrigation utilization and overall recordkeeping.

Practices found with the potential to cause adverse environmental impacts are logged in as a "to-do list" for the producer and MAEAP technicians to complete. When a potential impact is reduced it is known as a "Risk Reduction".  Risk Reductions can be the closing of an unused well, pouring a concrete pad for the transfer of fuels, or erecting a building designed specifically for fertilizer and pesticide storage.

Once a farm has completed their "to-do list" and reduced their impacts on environmental concerns, meaning they are doing the best they can to keep water quality, soil quality and overall health of their farm to the best standard possible, they can then become MAEAP Verified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A MAEAP Verification is recognition from the State that all practices, procedures and operations done on the farm are environmentally sound according to Michigan' s Generally Accepted Agricultural Practices (GAAMPS). Producers obtaining this Verification may choose to post a sign at their farm site to let friends, neighbors, and customers know that environmental stewardship is important to the farm owners and operators.  "MAEAP verification on the farm takes time and hard work; our farmers are making good conscious decisions about their practices to help protect our community," states Kyle Mead, Van Buren Conservation District's MAEAP technician. "You may recognized the blue, green and white sign that reads MAEAP Verified throughout Van Buren County and across Michigan".

The Van Buren Conservation District has been a partner and grant host for MAEAP since the program began in 2000. Van Buren Conservation District is one the top Districts in the state, ranked in the top five Counties for MAEAP Farm Verifications, they also holds many educational field days for farmers, recycling events for homeowners, river cleanups, plant and tree sales.

For more information about MAEAP or the Van Buren Conservation District visit www.vanburencd.org or call 269-657-4030 ext. 5.

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.