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DISTRICT OPERATIONS
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SCD Vision: To help protect, conserve and enhance natural resources

SCD Mission: To promote the sustainable use of natural resources within Spokane County

SCD Function: To take available technical, financial and education resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them so they meet the needs of the local landowner for conservation of soil, water, trees, and other natural resources.

Funding
The SCD is funded through several sources. Although SCD is a legal subdivision of state government, we are not a state agency and do not receive an ongoing operating budget from the state’s General Fund. Like the other 46 conservation districts in the state we receive some basic operating funds from the Washington State Conservation Commission. We also receive a land-based special assessment on all property within Spokane County, excluding Deer Park (explained below), that provides a substantial portion of our budget. The remainder of our revenue comes from technical assistance agreements with other agencies, grants from state agencies like the Department of Ecology, as well as a number of other sources.

Revenue Summary Pie Chart

Special Assessment


You may have noticed on your property tax bill a classification titled Soil Conservation Assessment; it is actually a special assessment to help fund a number of activities of the Spokane Conservation District (SCD). The purpose of the assessment was to provide funding for conservation districts to carry out the work of assisting landowners with natural resource conservation.
The assessment in Spokane County is applied on a per-parcel or per-acre basis, depending on the size and the land use classification of the parcel. The assessment is strictly land based and is not tied to the valuation of the parcel. After holding two public hearings in 1990, the SCD asked the Spokane County Board of Commissioners to implement the assessment on behalf of the District. The Board of Commissioners also held public hearings and voted unanimously to impose the assessment on behalf of the SCD beginning in 1991.
The land use classifications and rates are:
  • Improved (production agriculture): 10¢ per acre
  • Unimproved (forest & range land): 5¢ per acre
  • Platted parcels 20 acres in size or less: $5 per annum
The special assessment has provided SCD with the opportunity to secure more than $10 million in project-specific grants for water quality as well as a variety of other natural resource issues using the assessment revenue as a match for the grants. It has also allowed us to secure $25 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Ecology to loan to producers at low-interest rates for the purchase of no-till and direct seeding agricultural equipment. This type of equipment prevents soil erosion, reduces the number of passes over each field from five to one, thereby saving fuel, time and money. That program has conservatively prevented more than seven million tons of topsoil from eroding into our area streams, lakes, and rivers.

Expense Pie Chart

The majority of SCD expenses are the salaries and benefits of the staff providing the services to the community. The DOE payment, as shown in the graphic above, is a loan repayment to the Department of Ecology for funds used to administer our Direct Seed Loan Program, which provides low-interest loans to eligible producers to help with the purchase of direct seed and no-tillage agricultural equipment.

Donations
SCD is allowed to accept public donations, pursuant to RCW 90.08.220 regarding the corporate status and powers of conservation districts, which reads:

“Districts have the power to obtain options upon and to acquire in any manner, except by condemnation, by purchase, exchange, gift, bequest, devise or otherwise any property, real or personal, or rights or interests therein; to  maintain, administer and improve any properties acquired, to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying out the purposes and provisions.”
We have set up specific conservation funds for public donations, including a Watershed Protection Fund and a Legacy Tree Fund. If you would like more information on how to donate to the SCD and help us continue our natural resource conservation program, please click here or contact Jim Armstrong, Special Projects & Communications Manager.

Your
Conservation District

The SCD firmly believes that conservation should be led by local citizens and we work with the public in a variety of ways to help inform and educate people about who we are and what we do.
  • In 2010, the SCD created a long-range plan to set our goals and priorities for 2011-2015. Public comments were solicited and incorporated as appropriate. The long-range plan is a fluid document that will be reviewed on an annual basis, both in January and again halfway through year, to help ensure we are meeting the ever-changing conservation needs of the area, and changes will be made to the plan as needed. You may view our 2011-2015 Long Range Plan here, and contact our office if you have any questions or comments.
  • According to the Washington Conservation District Law (RCW 89.08), SCD holds an Annual Meeting every year that is free and open to the public. The purpose of the Annual Meeting is to present to the public our work and projects that were done in the previous year and let them know what programs and services we have available. Most of our annual meetings are held in the spring, but occasionally we hold one in the fall. All meetings are posted both on our web site and in our office, and invitations are sent to our mailing lists and to agency partners.
  • At least twice a year SCD publishes its newsletter In Touch with Conservation. The newsletter is available to view electronically and hard copies are distributed at public events and mailed as requested. Click here for our newsletters page.
  • Throughout the year SCD participates in several public events to answer questions and provide conservation tips and information. Look for our booth at workshops, festivals, and events like: Ag Expo, the Spokane County Interstate Fair, the Southeast County Fair, the Spokane Youth Environmental Conference, the Water Festival, Farm Fair and various Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations. Check our conservation calendar for current information about our upcoming events. Is there an event that you would like to see us at? Let us know!

 

Copyright 2011 Spokane Conservation District
509.535.7274 :: info@sccd.org