2013-11-28 / Local & State

Conservation Corner

Creating The Future We Want for Our Community
By Seleen Shives

DISTRICT MANAGER, FULTON

COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT

For 68 years, the Fulton County Conservation District (District) has been working behind-the-scenes to conserve the soil, water and related natural resources of Fulton County. The District is the second-oldest in the commonwealth, formed on December 8, 1945, by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. While proud of the District’s past achievements, we look ahead to 2014 and beyond, eager to build a new history of past successes.

For the past several months, the board of directors and staff of the District have been updating and expanding our strategic plan to guide our ability to create the future we want for our community. We began the process with the following question: What do we want Fulton County to look like in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? And with that, we began to establish the mission and direction of our organization for the next few years.

Our vision

Our vision is our destination – where we are going. The vision of the Fulton County Conservation District is an environmentally and economically secure Fulton County where people want to live, work and play. Like many of you, the directors and staff of the District live in Fulton County and are interested in preserving the quality of life and culture that we enjoy in this rural setting.

Our mission

Our mission speaks to the heart of what we do – how we get to where we are going. The mission of the Fulton County Conservation District is to conserve, protect and restore our environmental health. Our mission will turn our vision into practice, and create the future we want for our community.

Strategic priorities

The following strategic priorities represent specific, measurable outcomes – what we want to achieve. Over the next three years, the Fulton County Conservation District will:

1. Reduce impaired streams by 30 percent. Several streams in Fulton County have been designated impaired by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). These streams are primarily impaired by excessive sediment and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). Restoring the quality of these impaired streams is at the core of our mission. Clean water is important for all living things, from the top of the watershed here in Fulton County, to the bottom of the watershed in the Chesapeake Bay.

2. Increase the volume of materials recycled by 10 percent. Conservation District staff have been instrumental in developing and expanding the county’s recycling program. The program is a winwin for consumers, the local community and the environment. Recycling conserves natural resources, while reducing pollution and energy consumption. The District hopes to increase program participation and offer additional recycling opportunities to our residents.

3. Assist 50 farmers in achieving baseline compliance with state environmental regulations. According to state regulations, all farms, regardless of size, are required to have a written Erosion & Sediment Control (E&S) Plan and Manure Management Plan. These plans help farmers conserve and improve soils and best utilize manure, to increase profitability and minimize sediment and nutrient pollution in our local streams and groundwater. Over the past two years, District staff have conducted 200 farmsite visits in Fulton County in an effort to increase awareness of these requirements within the agricultural community. Assisting farmers in developing these plans will help them meet the baseline compliance requirements and ultimately, will result in cleaner water for all.

4. Increase the promotion and marketing of the District by 25 percent. Too often, the good work that Conservation District staff is doing in our community is unknown to the general population. Increased promotion of our activities will inform residents about what we are doing and, more importantly, why it is valuable. This will enable us to educate the public and gain support for our mission: to conserve, protect and restore the environmental health of our community.

Ultimately, our strategic plan focuses on reaching our highest potential and securing our position as a valuable asset to our community. We all have a vested interest in the future of Fulton County. The board of directors and staff of the Fulton County Conservation District are excited and energized to move forward in executing our plan to create a better Fulton County for generations to come. For more information about who we are and what we do, please visit our Web site, fultoncountyconservationdistrict.org, and our Facebook page.

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