When the United States passed the Clean Water Act 50 years ago, Soil and Water Conservation Districts were already working to provide outreach, education, and technical assistance to farmers, producers, foresters, and landowners. That priority continues through the efforts of Maine’s 16 Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Here are two examples of Maine SWCD’s recognized for their work to improve and preserve clean water:
Angie Wotton, Executive Director of Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, was named one of Maine’s “100 Clean Water Champions” by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Angie’s leadership and focus on providing education and technical assistance through programs, workshops, outreach, and innovative projects exemplifies her dedication and service to conservation.
The National Association of Conservation Districts recognized Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District for their work on watershed improvements on the Androscoggin River, whose dramatically impaired water quality was the original inspiration for Maine’s Ed Muskie to champion the Clean Water Act 50 years ago.
Under the leadership of Michele Windsor, Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District District Manager, projects including installing best management practices addressing ditch and culvert erosion, shoreline filter / buffer planting, and gravel road improvements have significantly reduced phosphorus and sediment impacts to the watersheds. With the aid of partners, volunteers, and staff, the work continues to improve water quality for the Androscoggin River and associated watersheds.
Maine’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts have leadership opportunities!
Maine’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are non-regulatory subdivisions of State Government, governed by locally-elected volunteer Boards of Supervisors. There are sixteen SWCDs in Maine which generally correspond to county boundaries (see the map at the State of Maine website) . SWCDs establish priorities for conservation efforts with emphasis is on issues that are identified locally, as well as state-wide.
The volunteer board, which is responsible for guiding the District’s business affairs and operations, comprises three elected and two appointed supervisors, who each serve overlapping three-year terms. In addition, the SWCD Board welcomes Associate Supervisors, members appointed by the Board, who may have an interest in the general activities of the District or a specific area of interest or expertise to share.
Supervisors are local residents with careers or interest in farming, forestry, wildlife, urban ecology, conservation enthusiasts and supporters with an interest in aiding their communities.
Anyone interested in 1) running for the office of supervisor, or 2) voting in the election must be a registered voter within the boundaries of the local service area. Candidates need have only an interest in conservation and a willingness, at a minimum, to participate in a monthly board meeting at the District office. To run for an elected position, a candidate must submit a nomination paper signed by 25 county residents.