Thursday, February 27, 2014

Free Toolkit Offers Step-by-Step Guide for Partnering with Conservation Districts

The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) recently announced a new online toolkit to facilitate partnerships to protect drinking water sources through agriculture conservation practices, stormwater and forest management. The Groundwater Foundation is a member of the Collaborative.
The toolkit offers effective steps source water protection professionals working at the local or state level can take to build partnerships with conservation district staff. The toolkit is designed for a variety of audiences – from those who have never worked with their conservation district, to those who have attempted but without success, to those who would like to enhance their current efforts.
Vetted by the SWC’s National Association of Conservation District, the toolkit offers key information to help understand what conservation districts do, how they are structured, their funding sources and partners; easy connection to the right contacts in your area; preparation tips and suggested meeting approaches to be more successful in collaborating with the conservation district; success stories from peers who worked with conservation districts to protect drinking water; tips for getting involved in the state technical committee meeting; and useful information for a variety of audiences – from those who have never worked with their conservation district, to those who have attempted, but have not had success.
“The nature of the challenge we collectively face, in seeking to protect sources of drinking water, is that none of us can do it alone. We must work collaboratively with an array of partners,” said Jim Taft, SWC Steering Committee Co-Chair and ASDWA Executive Director. “One of our most valued partners, in this endeavor, is the National Association of Conservation Districts. Through their extensive reach and breadth at the state and county levels, NACD members make tangible, positive impacts  on water resources generally, and on sources of drinking water, in particular. This online tool is designed to make it easy and convenient to understand where, when and how to interact with our NACD partners in collaborative efforts designed to protect drinking water sources.”

Kate Keppen, Watershed Coordinator for the Berks County, Pennsylvania Conservation District says, “The Berks County Conservation District believes that working together with other stakeholders that have similar goals is one of the ideal ways to protect drinking water resources. Working together is proven to better achieve common goals and be more efficient in both time and money. Thus, by working with the Schuylkill Action Network, which connects multi-leveled government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private businesses, I feel that our Conservation District has been able to more effectively achieve our mission to protect soil and water resources for future generations. The SWC’s online tool makes it easier to identify those other organizations that may have similar goals.”

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