- Category: Conservation Districts
- Published: Thursday, 01 August 2013 14:58
- Written by Anne Johnson
- Hits: 15773
Here's your chance to help protect and improve Utah’s land, water, and watersheds in your local community. The Utah Conservation Commission is now taking nominations for three of the five elected board member positions on each of the 38 local Conservation Districts (CD) across the state. These boards provide citizens the opportunity for local direction of federal and state natural resource conservation programs as they impact private lands. They also impact conservation activities on public lands. For 70 years conservation districts have helped install conservation practices that have protected and improved Utah’s basic natural resources.
Conservation districts are unique limited purpose local government entities and political subdivision of the state with authority from Utah laws. They are governed by a board of five citizens elected by their peers in a special election conducted by mail. Board members serve a four-year term of office.
Leonard M. Blackham, Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, is chair of the Utah Conservation Commission that directs conservation district board member elections. Commissioner Blackham said, “Voters have the opportunity to nominate and elect individuals who will direct the programs and activities of Utah's 38 conservation districts. We can’t get more grassroots than that.”
Conservation district board member candidates are nominated locally, either by a nominating committee or by public petition. The committee consists of the chairs of the county commission/council, USDA Farm Service Agency county committee, the CD, and the county agricultural extension agent. A petition can be submitted by six or more registered voters living within the CD boundaries. Nominations by petition are due at the Conservation Commission office at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food by early January of a CD election year. Ballots will be mailed the latter part of January. The next election year is 2014.
To satisfy the legal requirements a candidate must be at least 18 years of age and be a resident of the conservation district in which he or she will serve. Three of the five CD Board members must be operators of private agricultural land. Each candidate is provided a summary of duties and must sign a Commitment to Serve Form confirming their willingness to serve, if elected. It would be beneficial if a candidate understands land management systems and conservation treatment techniques. Even better, it would be helpful if the candidate understands the makeup and duties of the CD and supports the mission and goals of state and national natural resources conservation partnerships.