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September 27, 2012
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Eagle County Conservation District wants volunteers

Do you know who the Eagle County Conservation District is? The Eagle County Conservation District (ECCD) or Soil and Water District as we are also called, helps landowners with their land ownership questions, concerns and projects. We also help property owners garner funds to help them complete their terra firma goals.

The conservation district is run by an all volunteer board of local land stewards. The district's goal and mission statement is: Promoting the preservation and restoration of the natural resources of the district through education, cooperation and initiation of practices that fulfill these goals.

The ECCD works directly with Natural Resource Conservation Service, a federal agency. The ECCD helps direct the flow of cash into various agricultural projects within the district. Without the conservation district the NRCS cannot filter money into Eagle County. The two entities pour more than $1 million into the Eagle County district alone. The dollars, in the form of cost-share grants; is handed back to land owners wishing to undertake projects that help the agricultural value of their land.

Agricultural value is not translated into dollars necessarily; it is more a question of whether having an improved section of land is more valuable with or without an enrichment project. Projects such as having an irrigation ditch piped (so as to avoid waste, evaporation and flooding) is of better value to everyone in Colorado including the rancher, farmer, land owner and downstream water user. Or for another example; by eradicating noxious weeds the value of a particular pasture is now inherently better to everyone in the community, with the removal of the invasive species.

More than 14 local ranchers are currently seeking cost share money to improve their land or property they work on or own. One can receive matching grant funds for fencing, irrigation, manure containment facilities and much more - as long as there is value.

Still don't get the ECCD? Think of seedling trees and pesticide sales. These two collaborative efforts are some of the successful programs that a person with acreage in this county might take advantage of. You probably get a flyer in the mail every year asking you to buy baby trees. The ECCD allows you to buy trees (such as blue spruce) for only about a dollar a seedling. Or you may receive money back for spraying your weeds and removing your thistle, knapweed, hounds tongue, and more

Another awesome gift from the Eagle County Conservation District to the community is the availability of two scholastic scholarships offered to local students. Students did you know that we give away money for education?

Serving on the district board is a volunteer position. We welcome residents' help and we are currently looking for board members and volunteers. The next meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. at Eagle County Road and Bridge; Bldg. A in Gypsum. If you own or operate property within the district you can serve on the board. You must own two acres or more. If interested call past President and current secretary Katie Langdon for more information at 970-390-1983

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The VailDaily Updated Sep 27, 2012 12:08PM Published Sep 27, 2012 12:05PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.