Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts

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Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
Annual Meeting Business Session Minutes
March 8, 2007
 

I. Call to order

Andrew Wargo III, 1st Vice President called to order the regular meeting of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts Executive Board at 10:00am Thursday, March 8, 2007 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock, Arkansas. James Mitchell, President had a scheduling conflict and will arrive later in the meeting.

II. Roll call

Members present

James Mitchell, President
Andrew Wargo III, 1st Vice President
William Rainwater, Past Pres.
Charles Glover, NE Area President
James Widner, NW Area President
David Hillman, EC Area President
Rocky Harrell, Central Area President
Roy Mahler, Secretary/Treasurer
Eddie Stewart, NW Area Vice Pres.
Debbie Moreland, Program Administrator
Alice Weeks, YCW Education Coordinator
Cindy Thornberry, YCW Logistics Coordinator

Guests & Partners

Ruth Cunningham, AACDE President
John Shannon, AFC State Forester
Cynthia Edwards, Senator Blanche Lincoln’s Office
Adrian Baber, ANRC Conservation Chief
Sandra Miller, ComMetrics

III. Approval of minutes from last meeting

Minutes from the December 11, 2006 Executive Board meeting were provided for review. Motion to approve by Rocky Harrell, seconded by James Widner. Motion approved.

IV. Treasurer’s Report

a) Year to Date Report with Year to Date Budget reviewed
b) Financial Accounts reviewed
c) YCW 2007 Budget reviewed

Motion made by David Hillman, seconded by Rocky Harrell to post the reports for audit. Motion passed.

V. Open issues

a) AACD Youth Conservation Workshop – report made by Roy Mahler, Chairman. He asked that the board approve the purchase of an insulated hauling trailer for the purpose of storing and transporting YCW supplies to and from the workshop. He estimated that it would cost approximately $6,000 to purchase the trailer and necessary supplies.

Charles Glover made the motion to approve up to $6,000 for the trailer purchase, seconded by Rocky Harrell. Motion passed.

Roy also asked that he be paid an additional stipend for hauling the trailer with his personal vehicle.

Rocky Harrell made the motion to pay $0.50 per mile when the trailer is being hauled, seconded by James Widner. Motion passed.

The method of payment for the youth counselors was also discussed but determined that it was best dealt with on an individual basis. Alice Weeks conveyed to the board that her three priorities for the workshop are:

  • Safety
  • Education
  • Fun

Debbie Moreland asked the board to consider naming one of the YCW scholarships in honor of Shane Stauffer, 2006 YCW Counselor. The board approved. One of the $500.00 scholarships will be hereafter named the Shane Stauffer Youth Conservation Scholarship.

b) AACD Forestry Clinic – Troy Odom was unable to attend due to illness. The clinic is scheduled for April 19, 2007 at the Little River Demonstration Forest near Millwood Lake. Roy Mahler made the motion to approve $2,500 toward the cost of the clinic, seconded by James Widner. Motion passed. (The $2,500 does not include the cash prizes awarded to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place High Score Individuals – that is an additional $600. The $2,500 covers the costs of caps, t-shirts, plaques and lunch)

c) NACD Summer Legislative Conference – the NACD Board of Directors and the Legislative Conference will be held jointly on July 21 – 24, 2007 in Washington, DC. Discussion was held regarding additional trips to DC with input from Cynthia Edwards. Ms. Edwards invited the board to participate in video conferencing in her office.

d) Carbon Offset Credits – John Shannon discussed the program and would like for the conservation districts to partner on this project with the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The conservation districts would be paid to serve as verifiers. John said that we are looking for two landowners willing to serve as the pilot project. Payments to landowners could be as high as $8 - $10 per acre based on crop, paid in addition to other programs, have a 5 year easement and is available to both row crops and forest lands. The next meeting will be held on March 22, 2007 at the AFC State Office. David Hillman made the motion to provide lunch to the group, seconded by Roy Mahler. Motion passed.

e) District Director Training – The need for a comprehensive district director program was discussed. The program should be:

  • Easily implemented within the district; individually or as a board
  • Available in hardcopy and CD to each district
  • Reinforced at the Area and State Meeting

The training would target 3 sections:

  • District Directors: Roles and Responsibilities & Regulations
  • District Programs and Projects
  • Resources Available to the Districts

The training modules will be developed by Sandra Miller, ComMetrics. The proposed cost estimate is $3,000 with the cost shared by AACD and ANRC. The printing of the manual and CD are separate from that figure. Roy Mahler made the motion to go ahead with the project, additional costs subject to further approval. Seconded by Rocky Harrell. Motion passed.

f) 2007 Annual Meeting – scheduled for December 11 – 12, 2007 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It was suggested that we invite Senator Mark Pryor, Senator Blanche Lincoln and Governor Mike Beebe to participate.

VI. Partnership Reports

a) Arkansas Forestry Commission - John Shannon, State Forester, reported that George Rheinhardt will be moving to NRCS in April. AFC has several appropriation bills currently moving through the Legislature, and is hopeful that they will receive new funding to purchase badly needed equipment.

b) Arkansas Association of RC&D Councils - Rocky Harrell, President, reported that the Noah II project is being implemented in four locations in the state. Several unexpected obstacles regarding net metering, liability, etc. have slowed the progress but each item is being addressed. He reported that the President’s Budget had zeroed out the RC&D program nationwide. The NARC&D went to DC to push for funding and they have been told to expect level funding for the next year. He also reported that a Bioenergy Conference is planned for later in the summer which will be a partnership with several groups including AACD.

c) Arkansas Association of Conservation District Employees - Ruth Cunningham, President, reported that their board will be meeting to determine training opportunities and needs. They are continuing with the newsletter and their new cookbook “Simply Sweets”. They are requesting support for the Executive Board & Committee retreat to be held in April. Rocky Harrell made the motion for AACD to pay for the evening meal during the retreat, seconded by Roy Mahler. Motion passed.

d) Arkansas Natural Resources Commission - Adrian Baber, ANRC Conservation Chief, reported that they are working on several bills at the Capitol. His staff is busy with the districts and training continues to be a major need.

VII. New business

Damascus Bobwhite Quail Habitat Restoration Project – a media event will be held in the Rotunda at the Capitol. AACD will have the same agreement with this partnership that it has had with AWHEP. AACD to receive 3% of the initial funds and retains all interest earned on funds invested. This partnership is unique in that it includes private industry; Southwestern Energy Exploration Company who will provide 25% of the cost-share making 100% funding available to landowners in Faulkner, Van Buren and Conway Counties. All are involved in the current oil and gas drilling. Charles Glover made the motion to move forward with this agreement, seconded by Andrew Wargo III. Motion passed.

Area Meetings – The Area Presidents were asked to notify the Program Administrator as soon as dates and locations are established. They were also asked to provide one hour for district director training and district employee training which will run concurrently. It is recommended no more than one area meeting per week due to the time constraints for the partners.

Arkansas Grazing Lands Coalition – The AGLC is partnering with AARC&D and the Arkansas Farm Bureau to implement a forage audit. Debbie Moreland, AACD PA; Travis Justice, AFB and Ron Morrow, NRCS will meet on April 3rd to firm up the procedure and participants. AACD is being asked to provide $1,000 toward the costs of the audit. Rocky Harrell made the motion to contribute these funds, seconded by David Hillman. Motion passed.

Wal*Mart Agricultural Sustainability Program – a meeting will be held on April 17, 2007 in Fayetteville to continue this process. Debbie Moreland expressed some concern that the conservation community’s message was getting diluted with other “environmental” issues. She will work with Dr. Mark Malcolm, U of A at Fayetteville to address this issue with the Wal*Mart committee.

Arkansas Watershed Coalition – Debbie Moreland reported that she has been working with Tony Ramick, ANRC to secure a 319 grant to hire two part-time coordinators to assist districts statewide in their watershed efforts. In order to secure the grant AACD will need to make the 43% match required. It is recommended that AACD dedicate $25,000/year for two years toward this effort. Roy Mahler made the motion to accept the recommendation, seconded by Rocky Harrell. Motion passed.

Statewide Wildlife Action Plan – Sandra Miller, ComMetrics, reported on the progress of this effort. It will be a valuable tool for districts, landowners, hunters and conservationists in addressing wildlife, its habitat and conservation programs available. AACD has been asked to assist this effort by providing lunch during the meeting. David Hillman made the motion for AACD to provide lunch to the group, seconded by Roy Mahler. Motion passed.

Bioenergy Activities – Rocky Harrell recommended that we partner with AARC&D and Rural Development to hold a statewide energy conference later in the year. More information will be provided as these plans evolve.

2007 Legislation – Several bills have been filed which we will be watching.

  • SB970 is to allow conservation districts to enter into a MOU with ADEQ and the Health Department to perform inspections. Randy Young will work with the sponsor of this bill to make some necessary changes.
  • HB1012 – Recognizes the 70th Anniversary of the creation of Conservation Districts. It has been signed by the Governor and will be the theme of our 2007 Annual Meeting.
  • HB2339 – Involves ANRC and additional bond issues to make loans necessary to address a myriad of water needs throughout the states.

VIII. Adjournment

Andrew Wargo III adjourned the meeting at 2:30pm.

Minutes submitted by: Debbie Moreland, Acting Secretary
Minutes subject to approval

 


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The Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
4004 McCain Blvd, Ste. 201-B
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116
Telephone (501) 904-5575