Maine Soil & Water Conservation Districts join northeast counterparts to seek greater federal attention to region
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Burlington, VT -- The Maine Association of Conservation Districts has joined with Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout the Northeast in a specific action plan to better meet Northeast conservation challenges.

Maine Association President Steve Hobart and Executive Director Bill Bell returned from the August 1-4 Northeast Regional Meeting of Conservation Districts in Burlington with an agreement to bring on a staff person for the region. In addition, this Northeast meeting ratified an interim Strategic Plan for conservation.

The Northeast representatives agreed that water quality (including prevention of soil erosion) ranks as the highest conservation priority in the region. Among other conservation priorities, a representative from the District of Columbia sought a high priority for urban conservation, and Maine would have liked to see higher priority for forestry conservation. In order to maintain cohesion among the group, the Northeastern delegates agreed to focus on water quality.

The group agreed that the Northeast Districts should pay much more attention to getting adequate funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's budget, which is even more important to many districts than the USDA budget.

Hobart, who with his family operates a deer and buffalo farm in Blanchard, was part of a small group which worked on a job description for the future Northeast staff person. Hobart stated that "the Northeast has a huge portion of the votes in Congress; our states need a coordinator so that we can work together to obtain better financial support for our conservation programs."

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