PROTECTING DRINKING WATER SOURCES THROUGH AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION
Are you interested in getting more agricultural conservation on the ground to help protect sources of drinking water? An important natural ally is the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, U.S. Department of Agriculture) State Conservationist’s or District Conservationist’s office. Another key set of allies is conservation districts – important partners at the local level, who also have helpful contacts at the state level. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) recently joined the Source Water Collaborative, committing to link its members to information about the value of their work in protecting sources of drinking water.
This toolkit, developed as a result of extensive collaboration between members of the Source Water Collaborative, NACD and the NRCS, offers a step-by-step approach. The resources inside are useful for anyone working in source water protection: from those who already know their State Conservationist or District Conservationist (NRCS) or Executive Director/Board Member or Conservation District Manager (NACD), but may be looking for new ideas, to those aiming to build a successful relationship. Each insightful tip is based on advice we received from NRCS and NACD, and from state and regional source water coordinators who recently fostered effective partnerships.
Note that many successful projects rely on participation from local conservation districts and the office of the NRCS State Conservationist. Both can bring key partners, especially producers and private landowners, to the table for project planning or implementation. And both often have access to technical and financial resources, as well as credibility with local and state leaders. Where you start can depend on your own network of connections or on a personal introduction you are able to get through one of your contacts. Either path of this toolkit can help you access a useful network of state and local participants. Depending on current priorities, you may find that some are more receptive to further discussions about source water protection needs, and will contribute to the success of your source water protection project.
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How to Work with
Conservation Districts How to Work with
NRCS State Conservationists