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National Association of Conservation Districts' Northeast Regional Meeting

 

STCs and Chief

State Conservationists and Conservation District leaders from twelve states in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast meet annually to discuss and share information about current issues in conservation.  The states represented at this year’s meeting held August 24th through 26th in Newport, RI were: Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 
 

NRCS Chief Jason Weller also attended the meeting and highlighted success stories from around the region, including the Pork Hill Organic Farm in Ossipee, NH.  Chief Weller discussed the four major priorities for NRCS moving forward:

  1. Broadening outreach to customers and partners

  2. Strengthening agency resiliency through technology; i.e., the Conservation Delivery Streamlining Initiative, Mobile Planner, and Client Gateway

  3. Enhancing and expanding scientific and technological capabilities

  4. Investing in innovative and cost-effective solutions.

Attending the conference from New Hampshire were:  NRCS State Conservationist, Rick Ellsmore, NHACD President, Linda Brownson, NHACD Executive Director, Roger Noonan, and Conservation District Managers Amanda Costello, Lionel Chute, and Vicky Stafford.  Roger Noonan was elected Vice President of the Northeast Association, the first time in many years a representative from New Hampshire has served in a northeast region NACD leadership position. 

The meeting included three tours:

  • The Northern Tour:  visited three hidden Green Giants – treasures that are part of the backbone landscape which filters water for Narraganset Bay and over 60% of Rhode Island’s drinking water including: 

    Snake Den Farm - A 150 acre historic working farm currently state owned and managed by Northern RI Conservation District. It is in its infancy stages for bringing it back into crop production and developing as training grounds for farmers learning conservation techniques.

    North Scituate Village - stormwater and education projects aimed at protecting the Scituate Reservoir.

    Joslin Farm - This property was acquired by Providence Water for drinking water protection and is the site of a major NRCS WHIP project. It has one of the most beautiful views in RI and is where the battle of invasives is being won and land is being reclaimed for wildlife. 

  • The Southern Tour: toured Southern Rhode Island with a stop at Perry Raso’s Matunuck Oyster Farm where he discussed aquaculture and fisheries on a global and local scale. The participants waded into the seven acre shellfish farm in Potter’s Pond. The tour then visited Perry’s land farm where he grows vegetables and herbs for use in his restaurant. 

  • The Eastern Tour: visited Roger Williams University’s oyster hatchery and learned about oyster restoration in Narragansett Bay. The group then toured Newport Vineyards. 

The conference’s informational sessions included: 

  • Conservation Education Programs from Around the Nation and Territories,

  • Improving Public Access: Developing Trails Mapping, Signs, Parking, the Right Management Plan, and Creative Stewardship Funding,

  • Board Training and Employee/Board Relations,

  • Science and Communication in Stormwater Management,

  • Benefits of Oyster Restoration: Habitat, Water quality, Food, and the Local Economy,

  • The Scientific Basis for Soil Health,

  • Pollinators, and

  • The Small-Scale Forestry Project – Conserving Forestland in Northern RI.