Conservation Commission News

What's happening at SCC?

Interested in learning more about conservation in Washington State? Our news announcements connect you with stories about recent conservation work, important updates from our office, and upcoming opportunities for you to get involved.

SCC Director Update - Feb. 2024

The last two months have been a whirlwind and I want to thank all the SCC staff, partners, and affiliated agencies for their support. In this new role, I have found myself continuously impressed with the passion and professionalism both within the agency and its associated stakeholders. I am delighted to be part of this community.

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Public invited to comment on draft WSRRI strategy

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC), and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the release of the draft Washington Shrubsteppe Restoration and Resiliency Initiative (WSRRI) Long-term Strategy.

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Food Policy Forum: RFI for Local Food Entity

The State of Washington is in the process of developing specifications for an assessment of local food policy entities in Washington State and is requesting input from the vendor community.

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WSDA Climate Resilience Survey

WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is pleased to announce the WSDA Climate Resilience Survey. Responses are due by Feb. 23.

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The State Conservation Commission announces leadership changes

During the last commission meeting, SCC elected new chair, vice chair and commissioner

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Governor releases proposed supplemental budget

The budget proposal released today, Dec. 13, adds monies to both basic government services (operating budget) and state and school construction projects as well as grants and loans for local governments (capital budget). The supplemental budget provides moderate increases and occurs half-way through the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium.

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James Thompson named executive director of the State Conservation Commission

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) announces the appointment of James Thompson as its dynamic new executive director, following a meticulous selection process during their November commission meeting. Thompson is set to take the helm of the agency on December 1, 2023.

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DNR appoints a new, temporary commissioner to the state’s conservation board of commissioners

Karen Zirkle appointed to the State Conservation Commission as the newest commissioner representing DNR.

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Next steps in SCC’s executive director search

The Commissioners met on Thursday to evaluate the top applicant qualifications in a special session and outline the next steps in the hiring process.

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SCC Supplier Diversity Forecasted Needs Report

In compliance with Department of Enterprise Services Supplier Diversity Policy DES-090-06 the State Conservation Commission has compiled a Forecasted Needs Report for all non-competitive and competitive purchases for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Information and Process on How to Apply for the Central Elected Commission Member Position

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) has adopted a temporary Interpretive Statement 20-01 describing the process of the district representative to the Commission to accommodate for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) annual meeting being held in a hybrid style with in-person meetings as well as options to participate online.

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Sole source contract announcement with Ross Environmental Consulting

The Washington State Conservation Commission gives notice that SCC intends to enter into a sole source contract with Ross Environmental Consulting DBA Ross Strategic. ‍

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A message from SCC's outgoing interim executive director

Over the last 6 months, I have had the opportunity to return to the Commission and work with many of you. It has been an honor to work with you and you have my sincere appreciation for your support and support of the Commission.

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Sarah Groth appointed as SCC’s new interim executive director

The Washington State Conservation Commissioners voted on Thursday, Sept. 21, to give the agency reins to Sarah Groth as interim executive director. She will start serving in the position starting Friday, Sept. 22.

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Webinar: Soil Carbon Science 101

Join us for this live webinar and Q&A on Friday, October 6th @ 9 a.m. Dani Gelardi of the Washington State Department of Agriculture will provide an overview of soil carbon in agriculture, with an emphasis on our current scientific understanding.

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SCC Hiring for Education and Outreach Manager

‍SCC is seeking an Outreach & Engagement Manager to join our communications team! The person who fills this role will have the exciting and vital job of educating Washingtonians about how the management of streamside land (also known as riparian habitat) impacts salmon recovery efforts. Visit the job listing to learn more and apply.

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State Conservation Commission Seeking Executive Director

SCC is seeking an outstanding leader and manager to be the agency’s next Executive Director. The Executive Director will lead a staff of 29 to carry out the work of SCC as the coordinating state agency for all 45 conservation districts in Washington State. In addition to serving CDs, SCC also administers programs and grants that serve other entities.

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SoilCon Field Day 2023: Hands-on Soil Health Learning and Biochar!

SoilCon Field Day, hosted by the Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI) and WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, took folks into the field for hands-on soil health learning. This year attendees got to see a biochar kiln in action thanks to the Skagit CD and Sustainable Farms and Fields program.

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Message from the Director: Remembering Ron Shultz

It is with great sadness I share with you today the passing of our colleague Ron Shultz. If you would like to sign a card for Ron's family you can find that link inside this post. Ron's celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, 2023, at the Calvary Chapel Church in Olympia.

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Next steps in our search for a new executive director

SCC is excited to announce that we have taken a significant step toward finding our next executive director. After careful consideration and a rigorous selection process, we are delighted to announce that we have chosen a reputable, experienced contractor to assist us.

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Annual Urban & Community Forestry Grant

The U.S. Forest Service for this year's annual Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program is providing up to $500,000 for Urban and Community Forestry investments that address the National Ten Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026).

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Bid opportunity for nurseries to supply riparian native plants to SCC for restoration projects

SCC is conducting a competitive solicitation to award contracts to purchase riparian native plants through the Riparian Plant Propagation Program (RPPP). The deadline for submitting bids is July 14, 2023. Interested bidders are welcome to join a pre-bid video conference on June 15 at 11:30 a.m.

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USDA Previews Emergency Relief Assistance for Agricultural Producers Who Incurred Losses Due to 2022 Natural Disaster Events

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced plans to roll out $3.7 billion in Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) assistance to crop and livestock producers who sustained losses due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar year 2022. USDA is sharing early information to allow producers time to gather documents in advance of program delivery. Through distribution of remaining funds, USDA is also concluding the 2021 ELRP program by sending payments in the amount of 20% of the initial ELRP payment to all existing recipients.

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Conservation district elections official results

At its May 18, 2023, meeting, the Washington State Conservation Commission certified and announced the winners of all 45 conservation district elections. Get the results here!

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Notice of bid opportunity: SCC executive director recruiter search

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) is issuing a competitive solicitation pursuant to RCW 39.26. SCC intends to conduct a competitive procurement to award a contract to a bidder qualified to conduct a thorough and competitive search for an executive director.

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OFP requests information from vendors for conservation easement affordability analysis

The Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) is in the process of developing specifications for services to provide an affordability analysis for conservation easements and is requesting input from the vendor community.

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Sole source contract announcement

The Washington State Conservation Commission, in compliance with the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services Policy#POL-DES-140-00-00A and Procedure #PRO-DES-140-00A Sole Source Contract Approval Procedure, gives notice that the WSCC intends to enter into a sole source contract with Enkon Information Systems Inc.

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New member joins the Washington State Conservation Commission

Brook Beeler, Eastern Region Director for the state Department of Ecology, will join the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) as an appointed member on April 1, 2023. Commissioner Beeler will represent the Department of Ecology on the Commission, replacing former Commissioner David Giglio, whose term concluded at the end of March.

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House and Senate release proposed 2023-2025 budgets

Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) staff have prepared a summary of budget proposals from the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office as they support SCC and conservation district or CD's work. The Senate and the House released their budget proposals within the last week. The Governor released his proposal in December. Get the table.

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Kirk Robinson returns to lead SCC again

The Washington State Conservation Commissioners voted on Friday, March 24, to give the agency reins to Kirk Robinson for a third time as interim executive director. He will resume the position starting Monday, March 27. Robinson comes to the agency with a wealth of knowledge and experience. He will serve in this position until a new executive director is appointed.

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We have liftoff! Sustainable Farms and Fields Program has launched

Sustainable Farms and Fields Program Manager, Karen Hills, wrote an article about SFF that was featured in the March Washington Soil Health Initiative Newsletter, describing the launch of the program and funded projects for the first funding cycle. You can find the article here. ‍

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Statement from the Washington conservation commissioners to the conservation community

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SCC announces agency director’s termination

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) announces that Chris Pettit has been asked to leave his position as the SCC executive director effective immediately.

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USDA seeking applications to expand conservation assistance to underserved producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications for projects that will improve outreach to underserved producers and underserved communities about conservation programs and services and opportunities for students to pursue careers in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.

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Conservation Month marketing materials available!

We are excited to announce our Conservation Month marketing materials! The media toolkit is live at www.scc.wa.gov/vote.Here is what you can expect to find in the toolkit...

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New for Nurseries! Request for Information to Support Native Riparian Plant Propagation

SCC is issuing a Request for Information to gather relevant information needed for SCC to issue an initial limited-scope Request for Proposals, with an end date of June 30, 2023.

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Food System Support grants awarded to 11 conservation districts

SCC in partnership with the Washington State Food Policy Forum, has awarded $55,000 in grants to 11 conservation districts statewide to strengthen our food system.

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WSRRI accepts proposals for fire recovery resources for private, tribal, and public landowners

Following historic fires in 2020 that burned 600,000 acres of shrubsteppe habitat in Washington, the Washington State Legislature made new funding available to benefit wildlife by restoring shrubsteppe habitat, implementing actions to help at-risk species, and supporting working lands in eastern Washington.

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Commission takes position on HB 1215, the incentives for salmon habitat bill

At their January regular business meeting last Thursday, the Conservation Commission reviewed the legislation and heard from the Governor’s policy staff on the bill. During the discussion, the commissioners reviewed various options on whether to support the bill.

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Governor’s proposed budget invests $100 million in salmon

Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed 2023-25 operating and capital budgets include a significant increase in funding for the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC).

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Kearney appointed as SCC’s newest commissioner

On Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, Cherie Kearney was appointed to the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) to serve as the second governor-appointed commissioner on the 10-member board. Commissioner Kearney will replace former Commissioner Sarah Speath, who stepped down from the commission earlier this fall.

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Food System Support Grant availability for conservation districts

SCC announces a limited grant opportunity for funding to support food system activities at conservation districts. Up to $5,000 will be available to each successful grant applicant. The deadline for application submittals is Wednesday, January 18, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. Funding must be used for activities that will result in products in hand or activities completed by June 30, 2023.

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Chris Pettit re-appointed to Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

Chris Pettit, executive director of the SCC, has been re-appointed to serve on the FRRCC; a panel that provides the EPA with advice on issues important to agriculture and rural communities.

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2022 District of the Year Awards

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2022 District of the Year Awards!

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Sustainable Farms and Fields Program funding available for voluntary, climate-smart projects 

The Washington State Conservation Commission's (SCC) new climate-friendly program, the Sustainable Farms and Fields (SFF) program, is open for applications from public entities. SFF is accepting applications from entities that will help farmers and ranchers participate in activities that sequester carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.

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How to Apply for the Western Elected Commission Member Position

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) has adopted a temporary Interpretive Statement 20-01 describing the process of the district representative to the Commission to accommodate for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) annual meeting being held in a hybrid style with in-person meetings with options to participate online.

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Seeking CD feedback on proposed Salmon Recovery Funding Guidelines, comments due by July 1

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) is seeking comments from conservation districts on proposed Salmon Recovery Funding Guidelines. This funding was received from the Washington State Legislature for the fiscal years 2021-23.

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Food system grants awarded to 10 Conservation Districts

Funding from the State Conservation Commission will support food security and food systems across the state. The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC), in partnership with the Washington State Food Policy Forum, has awarded $48,500 in grants to 10 conservation districts statewide to strengthen our food system, especially in underserved and under-resourced communities.

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New grant program for Whatcom County farmers and ranchers impacted by floods

The Washington State Legislature has appropriated $300,000 to The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) and Whatcom Conservation District (Whatcom CD) through grants to help with the economic recovery of Whatcom County farmers and ranchers who experienced property damage or economic loss due to the November 2021 floods.

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COVID-19 Response: Conservation Commission main office is open — appointments recommended

The Washington State Conservation Commission main office is open to visitors. We encourage you to please make an appointment in advance. Our staff has busy work schedules, and many continue to telework. Appointments help us ensure the appropriate team member is available when you stop by.

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Chris Pettit named executive director of Conservation Commission

During the Jan. 2022 business meeting, Chris Pettit was announced as the new executive director for the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC). Pettit is skilled in environmental policy and law, water resources, land use, government relations, and public administration, among many other issues relevant to the agency’s work in Washington.

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Conservation Commission welcomes new chair and vice chair

At their meeting on December 2, the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) Board of Commissioners appointed Daryl Williams as their new chair and Larry Cochran as vice chair.

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Conservation district photo contest captures spectrum of Washington natural resources, farmland

The SCC is pleased to announce winners and finalists of the 2021 Conservation District Photo Contest!

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Conservation News

Washington’s Voluntary Stewardship Program passes major milestone in protecting critical areas and farmland

All counties in Washington’s Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) are successfully using incentive-based and farm-friendly strategies to comply with state growth management requirements, according to a first-round of evaluations. This milestone is the culmination of a negotiated effort begun over 14 years ago to resolve disputes over protection of critical areas and agricultural activities.

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Conservation News

Conservation Commission announces “conservation district of the year” awards

Six conservation districts - one from each region of the state - have been recognized with awards from the Conservation Commission for their exemplary work and dedication over the past year.

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WSCC Enters Contract With WACD

The State Conservation Commission intends to enter into a contract with the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD).

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SCC Awards Sole Source Contract to Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd.

The Washington State Conservation Commission intends to award a sole source contract to Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd. DBA Ross Strategic for facilitation of and support for the Washington State Food Policy Forum.

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Conservation News

2020 Annual Report celebrates commitment to conservation

Our state's 45 conservation districts have unique strengths that make them particularly adept in times of change or crisis. We're proud to highlight these strengths and their commitment to conservation in our 2020 Annual Report.

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Conservation districts awarded grants to support Washington’s food system

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) has awarded $50,000 in Food System Support Grants to 11 conservation districts in the state.

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Washington State conservationist elected president of national organization

On February 10, Michael Crowder of south central Washington was sworn in as president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts.

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Conservation News

State Conservation Commission recognizes Conservation Districts of the Year with annual awards

Each year, the Washington State Conservation Commission recognizes conservation districts’ outstanding effort and accomplishments by presenting annual awards. There are 45 conservation districts within 6 regions of Washington State. Within each region, one district is recognized with a Conservation District of the Year Award.

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Centennial farm in Cowiche Valley preserved, securing heritage and natural resource value

Located just outside the communities of Tieton and Cowiche, one of Washington’s Centennial Farms will be protected forever from development.

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State Conservation Commission makes changes to improve conservation district election clarity, accountability

At their September 17 meeting, members of the Washington State Conservation Commission unanimously voted to make several changes to state regulations for conservation district elections. Changes are designed to improve accountability and make things more clear for candidates and voters.

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Conservation News

Celebrating 80 years of conservation

Read about featured accomplishments from our 80th year and highlights from each of Washington's 45 conservation districts in our 2019 Annual Report.

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