Conservation Districts Announce Natural Resources Assessment Survey and Meetings

Maine Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), in cooperation with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), are conducting a Natural Resources Assessment (NRA) across the state and need the help of Maine’s citizens! The goal is to determine natural resource priorities so that Districts and NRCS can assist landowners, professionals, and municipalities with best management practices that protect and improve land and water resources.

To gather this information, Districts are distributing a statewide survey (available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JQ5GPL5) and holding local meetings to document natural resource conservation concerns and to build on the data collected in the first assessment, completed in 2011. The priorities articulated in the survey and meetings will inform state and local natural resource programs and funding opportunities in the coming five year cycle.

According to Dale Finseth, Executive Director of Kennebec SWCD, “The Natural Resources Assessment process is a great opportunity for people who may or may not own land, and may or may not be associated with a conservation organization to express their conservation priorities by completing a survey or participating in a free-wheeling discussion at a locally held meeting. The results of this process stand to have a broad reach starting with your local conservation district on up to the state level. The Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, DEP, and state legislators are already anxious to see the survey results.”

Joe Dembeck, Executive Director of Somerset County SWCD, coordinated the development of the 2016 NRA survey to help guide the assessment process. Dembeck said, “This year’s survey will be distributed by all 16 conservation districts and will address statewide conservation concerns as well as give us the chance to drill down to local issues and priorities. We are asking that all citizens make their voices heard by participating in the assessment, whether by completing a survey or attending a local meeting.”

To encourage participation, some conservation districts will enter everyone who completes a survey – or attends a meeting – into a drawing for an exciting prize. Districts encourage farmers, woodland owners, resource professionals, and members of the general public to take advantage of this opportunity to make your voice heard. The survey may be accessed online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JQ5GPL5, or you may contact your local conservation district for a paper copy at maineconservationdistricts.com/district-locations.

Preliminary survey results will be available at local, county level meetings that will be scheduled throughout the month of March. Join friends and neighbors at a local meeting for a lively discussion about protecting Maine’s natural resources and complete a survey to be eligible for a prize.

For more information about the Natural Resources Assessment, to access the online survey, to contact your local conservation district, or to find out when your county meeting will be held, please visit the Maine Association of Conservation Districts website at maineconservationdistricts.com.

USDA-NRCS and Maine Association of Conservation Districts are equal opportunity providers and employers.

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