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.
The 2020 Conservation District of the Year awardees for each region are:
- Grant County Conservation District (North Central Region) was recognized for exceptional leadership through its numerous activities that benefit citizens, landowners, and natural resources. Activities of note include the District’s work with the Moses Lake Watershed Council, the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) in Grant and Adams Counties, well monitoring, and involvement in the various working groups and forums related to Odessa Aquifer groundwater issues. Grant County Conservation District also strengthened their partnership with the City of Moses Lake, working with them to rejoin the District’s service area and coordinate solutions for algae blooms in Moses Lake.
- Thurston Conservation District (Southwest Region) was recognized for developing a wide range of programs and services to meet the needs of their vibrant and diverse communities, as well as the landscapes they serve. Their programming ranges from traditional farm planning, financial assistance, technical service provision under the VSP, habitat restoration, and much more. As the pandemic disrupted traditional markets for farmers and food systems, they created new tools, such as a virtual farmers market, to directly and safely connect consumers with locally grown food.
- Lincoln County Conservation District (Northeast Region) was recognized for their dedication to providing service throughout reach efforts and conservation projects that address several resource needs. The District has a high attention to detail, and continues to be a respected resource for the residents and landowners of Lincoln County. They are highly valued by the many agencies, organizations, and entities that partner with them.
- Skagit Conservation District (Northwest Region) was recognized for their reputation as a trusted, inclusive, and collaborative partner with expert staff that has helped to expand both the impact they have on the ground, and the resources they garner in service of their mission. The District has been a leader in implementing the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and they increased their capacity to put state funding from the Conservation Commission on the ground to assist local growers and producers. They have helped educators provide remote learning in the midst of the pandemic, and they have successfully adapted important technical programs to a remote format.
- Asotin County Conservation District (Southeast Region) was recognized for their outstanding work with landowners in the development and implementation of conservation projects. They exhibited thoughtful and timely management of their operations when the pandemic hit, quickly adopting safety protocols and interim policies to keep working and provide their service to the community. They serve their community in a diversity of ways, from fostering a closer partnership with the county weed board, to providing free disease testing for domestic sheep and goats to protect wild Bighorn Sheep populations.
- Benton Conservation District (South Central Region) was recognized for building and delivering successful programs and partnerships. The District helped lead the Heritage Garden Program with neighboring conservation districts and local chapters of the Washington Native Plant Society. When COVID-19 restrictions took effect in the spring, they quickly responded to provide virtual education and guidance for the Salmon in the Classroom program. They continue to be a trusted leader of fish restoration and aquatic weed management projects in Benton County, and they ensure business is conducted with transparency and accountability.
The State Conservation Commission is pleased to recognize these conservation districts for their continued dedication and outstanding work over the past year.
Conservation districts are non-regulatory, community-based hubs of natural resource expertise and funding. They engage people with voluntary actions that keep our air, water, soil, and habitats healthy for all. Each of Washington’s 39 counties is represented by at least one conservation district.
Learn more about this years’ Conservation Districts of the Year: