Each year, the Washington State Conservation Commission recognizes one district from each of Washington’s six area associations of conservation districts. This year, the Conservation Commission recognized the conservation districts described below.

SW Area District of the Year: Pacific Conservation District

Pacific CD is being recognized for building and delivering successful programs and partnerships. The district has provided excellent leadership in partnership with Pacific County and others in the development and delivery of the Dynamic Revetment project to reduce erosion at Washaway Beach. This unique project continues to receive national and international attention.

NW Area District of the Year: Snohomish Conservation District

Snohomish CD not only excels in the more traditional fields of farm planning, agricultural conservation, forest stewardship, youth education, and habitat restoration, but has forged new paths in agricultural resiliency, farmland protection, agroforestry, urban stormwater, and a range of food systems work. In addition, the staff and Board members at Snohomish CD – including very notably the Chair and the Executive Director – generously share their time and talent with the larger community of conservation partners and fellow conservation districts. In the Snohomish CD tradition, this work often takes the form of building bridges between seemingly disparate interests to create a positive way forward.

North Central Area District of the Year: Okanogan Conservation District

The Okanogan CD continues to excel in its delivery of conservation services. Even during this difficult year, the District found ways to operate safely while still providing high-quality and timely service to landowners and cooperators. The District always seeks to engage the community to ensure that District programs are relevant to meet the needs of the natural resources and constituents. The District holds a high standard when it comes to transparency and accountability. The Board and staff make up a strong team that is ready to tackle any challenge. In addition, Okanogan CD has continually demonstrated its value as a partner – to other conservation districts, agencies, organizations, and groups. One specific example this year was the assistance provided to the Conservation Commission in delivering the “World of Wildfire: Post-Wildfire Risk Mitigation and Assessment Training” as part of the Commission’s Hazard Mitigation Grant. For a number of years, the District has provided assistance to other districts and partners regarding wildfire recovery activities. Okanogan CD jumped in and developed, from scratch, this multi-day and first-of-its-kind virtual training on many aspects of post-wildfire work. This training allowed almost 40 participants to be trained, utilizing the experiences that the District and others have gained.

NE Area District of the Year: Spokane Conservation District

The Spokane Conservation District continuously demonstrates a commitment to excellence and leadership on matters related to natural resource conservation. Even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, the district has been able to continue to expand conservation services, programs, and projects with landowners and cooperators. Through water quality projects such as your work in Hagman Creek and other parts of the county, your delivery of agricultural conservation assistance through the Greater Spokane RCPP, Commodity Buffer, and other programs, the district continues to provide innovative solutions to resource problems in a way that is accessible to landowners. Outreach and educational efforts have also been expanded. Just one example of note is the “Rocks to Roots” podcast that is reaching many people in the community and beyond. The district has responded to the increased need for services related to forestry and wildfire preparedness. And certainly worthy of mention is that the district’s “Conservation Campus Revitalization and Redevelopment Project” is becoming reality with the opening of the new building and ongoing plans for the site. The district holds a high standard of accountability and transparency in district operations and has shown how to place a high value on community engagement to continue to raise the district’s profile and value in the community.

SE Area District of the Year: Columbia Conservation District

The Columbia Conservation District is being recognized for:

  • Outstanding work with landowners in the development and implementation of conservation projects throughout your District, including the innovative soil health improvement trials pertaining to pH and nutrient availability.
  • Outstanding accountability for public funds and transparent district operations, including maintaining a good standing under the Conservation Accountability and Performance Program and a clean audit from the State Auditor’s Office.
  • Continuing to develop and complete large and complex conservation projects in your District during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Working to increase the reach of the District through the development of a new website and newsletter publication.

South Central Area District of the Year: Kittitas County Conservation District

the Kittitas County CD is a long-trusted leader and partner in their community. The district coordinates and facilitates approaches to natural resource concerns through leading watershed-scale planning and implementing on-the-ground solutions. The district successfully conducted its 2020 election and increased voter turnout with innovative outreach solutions. The district makes decisions thoughtfully and with transparency, ensuring public trust.