Annual meeting for DCCD in Rangely

Attendees of the Douglas Creek Conservation District’s annual meeting on Saturday, Dec. 7 enjoyed a turkey dinner, an agenda full of district updates, and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association President-Elect Janie Van Winkle as the keynote speaker. Roxie Fromang Photo
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RANGELY | Thirty-seven people attended a productive, business-driven, annual meeting of the Douglas Creek Conservation District (DCCD) in Rangely on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Executive Director Callie Hendrickson noted the district has focused on four main topics over recent years: rangeland health, wildlife, water, and the land and the natural resource plan and policies.

The districts have remained active in rangeland health issues by continuing with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) restoration and monitoring agreement, being actively engaged in excess “wild” horse issues, working with volunteer landowners on Coordinated Resource Management Plans (CRMP) and providing sales and rentals to assist landowners in grazing distribution and weed control.

The district continues to administer the White River Algae Study and has began the process of determining if there is local support for developing a water plan as suggested in the Colorado Water Plan. County citizens were encouraged to attend public input meetings early next year regarding the development of a water plan.

The Land and Natural Resources Plan and Policies is utilized often to provide input to federal land management agencies during their planning processes. Staff attends weekly BLM National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) meetings to engage in the planning efforts focusing on rangeland issues, grazing permits, excess horses, vegetation treatments, etc.

Colorado State Conservation Board’s (CSCB) West Slope Conservation Specialist, Alyssa Clarida, recognized and presented all five board supervisors with a wool vest in recognition for their completion of the CSCB Board Member Certification. Through the extensive training, supervisors learned about history of the districts, the role of a supervisor, and how districts can best serve their landowners.

Katie Toyne’s sixth grade science class participated in the DCCD’s poster contest. This year’s theme was “Life in the Soil – Dig Deeper.” The contest educates youth about conservation and how they can make an impact in the conservation of our natural resources. Local winners Halle Harris (first), Kaelyn Geer (second) and Aren Robertson (third) received money prizes for their work. Pictures of the posters can be found on the district’s website (whiterivercd.com).

Several landowners within the DCCD contributed a generous $6,570 for 2019. The board thanked the contributors and noted that those contributions make a big difference in the district’s ability to serve the landowners.

Special recognition was given to Wade Cox for volunteering 26 years of dedicated service and support of conservation.

The board updated the 1983 bylaws during a formal business meeting and by a vote of the attendees, the updates were reviewed and approved. The current financials and budget were reviewed and discussed.

Scott Robertson explained that the board has been looking at options to ensure they can remain active and engaged in natural resource issues on the landowner’s behalf. The RBC contributed $10,000 for 2019 and WRCD pays 90% of DCCD expenses. While the contributions from these entities are helpful, they are not a secure source of funding. After thorough discussion, the board has decided to go to a vote of the landowners for a mill levy increase. Current mill levy is .037, the goal is to go to .5 mills, which is the maximum by state statute for conservation districts. Robertson explained how the increase would positively impact individual landowners and the negative effects they may experience if the DCCD does not find a secure source of funding.

A local working group session was held to give landowners opportunity to provide advice to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on: ranking resource concerns to address specific land uses/fund pools; recommend allocation percentages to each land use/fund pool; provide input on program direction; gather input from an advisory standpoint; make screening tool recommendations; and provide suggestions on public outreach efforts.

Attendees provided input to the district regarding their resource priorities during the next three years. Attendees suggested the district continue to use and implement the Land and Natural Resource Plan and Policy for federal land management planning. The specific resource priorities included rangeland health, water and wildlife.

The meeting wrapped up with a presentation on “Multiple Use: Bikes and Burgers” by keynote speaker, Janie VanWinkle, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association President Elect.

The Douglas Creek Conservation District Board of Supervisors — Bill Hume, Terry Smalec, Scott Robertson, Ron Reich and Rosaly Coombs — gave special thanks to Terry Smalec, Pinyon Tree Liquors, Rangely NAPA, and Rangely True Value for their door prize donations; Nichols’ Store and Hume Distributing for donating turkey for the meal, Giovanni’s Italian Grill for providing a great turkey dinner and Rangely District Hospital for providing meeting space.

If you would like more information, please visit our website at www.whiterivercd.com, contact Tristan Nielsen at 970-878-9838 or email at whiterivercd@gmail.com.

Article Provided by the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts

Special to the Herald Times