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Washington Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (WATCAC)

NRCS WATCAC Header

Initiated in 2011, the Washington Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (WATCAC) provides a forum for twenty-nine (29) Native American Tribes in Washington to address natural resource issues on Tribal lands. The WATCAC provides a tribal voice to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on conservation issues that are important to Washington tribes at the state and national levels.

Tribal Conservation Advisory Councils were first authorized in the 1995 Farm Bill as advisory bodies to USDA agencies including NRCS on Tribal issues.

WATCAC Meetings

The WATCAC holds meetings on the second Tuesday of each month via video teleconference or teleconference. Twice a year, the group meets face-to-face, alternating between the east and west sides of the state. The meetings are open to all tribes, however, those tribes who have passed resolutions to participate in the WATCAC have voting privileges. Each tribe appoints two representatives who provide council and technical voices to NRCS.

Basis for Tribal Conservation Advisory Councils

NRCS’s mission is to help people help the land. To carry out this mission effectively with Tribes at the state and local levels, NRCS will–

(1)  Provide quality service through financial, educational, and technical assistance
(2)  Assist the Tribes in building Tribal capacity in natural resources conservation.
(3)  Coordinate with Tribes so they have the opportunity to provide input on NRCS policy.
(4)  Work cooperatively with Tribes to achieve program compliance.
(5)  Advocate natural resource stewardship, while working within Tribal religion, standards, values, and culture.
(6)  Provide services to all clientele equitably.
(7)  Support practical, voluntary solutions to natural resource problems.
(8)  Deliver the best available resource technology.
(9)  Promote strong partnerships and teamwork.
(10)  Deliver programs in cooperation with other Federal, Tribal, State, and local entities.
(11)  Provide a quality work environment for its diverse work force.
(12)  Cooperate with Indian Tribes, conservation districts, resource conservation development councils, and State conservation agencies to deliver services.

Additionally, NRCS will work with Tribes and provide assistance, upon request, to help them establish a Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (TCAC) or tribal conservation district. Tribes may designate a TCAC to provide input on NRCS programs and the conservation needs of the Tribes and Tribal producers.

At the local level, TCACs can–

  • Provide leadership on conservation needs, programs, and priorities to NRCS Tribal Liaison.
  • Maintain communications with the NRCS Tribal liaison.
  • Engage NRCS in resource assessments.
  • Develop conservation plans and priorities for implementation.

At the State Level, TCACs can–

  • Maintain communications with the State Conservationist.
  • Communicate conservation needs, plans, and priorities to the State Conservationist.
  • Engage the State Conservationist in developing annual budgets for natural resource conservation.
  • Advise regional level conservation advisory councils of natural resource programs and budget needs.

At the Regional Level, TCACs can–

  • Maintain communications with the Regional Conservationists
  • Communicate with State- and national-level Tribal conservation advisory councils regarding conservation programs, legislative needs, and budgets.