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Finally An Electronic Newsletter. . . . 

This is the first edition of what we hope will be a regular newsletter from the Kittitas County Conservation District. We still intend to do at least one paper newsletter mailed out to all the rural routes and residents of Cle Elum annually, but this electronic newsletter will be our primary method of sharing information with landowners & operators, our partners and the public. If you'd like to be removed from the mailing list please let us know. If you find this information useful, we encourage you to share this with friends and neighbors.
We do have an updated website ( and it includes an events calendar on the homepage that you can check anytime. You're also welcome to call or stop by our office if you are looking for specific assistance or information.

Voluntary Stewardship Program

 Graphic courtesy of Grant County Conservation District

Washington State's Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) was created in 2011 to provide an alternative approach for counties to address Growth Management requirements for agricultural activities.
In Kittitas County, VSP is led by the Kittitas County Conservation District.  We are facilitating a Watershed Group that includes representatives of agriculture, environmental groups and tribes. We are working with them to write a plan for the priority watersheds to:

  • Identify critical resource concerns.
  • Identify agricultural activities in the critical areas.
  • Create a plan for targeted outreach to assist landowners in developing farm plans that address agricultural impacts to critical areas on their property.
  • Identify and maintain economically viable agriculture while protecting and restoring critical areas
Meetings of the Watershed Group are open to the public. We are also available to talk with groups about VSP as requested. Contact Anna at 925-3352 ext. 207 if you are interested in learning more.
Click Here for More Information About VSP
Last Barrier to Fish Passage Removed From Manastash Creek
We have worked for more than 15 years in Manastash Creek with landowners and irrigators to address unscreened irrigation diversions, fish passage barriers and instream flow as part of the Manastash Creek Restoration Project.
Last November, construction finally began to remove the last large fish passage barrier in the creek, the Reed Ditch diversion dam. Irrigation water previously diverted at this location had been moved to a new location, so the structure was no longer needed.
Removal of the structure and restoration of the creek was completed in early December. This spring season will be the first opportunity in decades for summer steelhead to migrate into the upper reaches of Manastash Creek.
A press release was issued that provides much more detail about the significance of this project. Click below to read it. . . 
Click Here for the Press Release
$5 million - 5 Year Proposal Approved 
Last summer, for a third time we applied to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for funding under their Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP offers opportunities for the NRCS, conservation partners and agricultural producers to work together to expand the conservation mission and demonstrate the value of voluntary, private lands conservation.
Our first two proposals to RCPP were unsuccessful. Our proposal this time partnered with the Yakama Nation for project called "Yakima Integrated Plan - Toppenish to Teanaway". A long list of local partners are committed to providing contributions equal to the amount requested from NRCS.
We were excited to be offered 80% of our request, which equates to $7.5 million. More than $5 million of that is intended for Kittitas County projects and producers through 2021.
Stay tuned as we work to sign agreements with NRCS and put together the sign-ups for this funding opportunity.
Click Here to Learn More About RCPP
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Sign-Up Feb 17 
The Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) next deadline to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is February 17, 2017. EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat. Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on their land. Contracts can last up to ten years in duration. Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland are eligible to apply for EQIP.  Contact Brent Dixon at 925-8585 ext. 3 to make an appointment to sign up.
Click here to learn more about EQIP
Kittitas County Leads in Firewise USA Communities
With 21 active Firewise Communities, Kittitas County leads Eastern Washington and is second in Washington state. Here at the District, we provide assistance to communities who are working to either achieve or maintain their status in the program.
The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program has empowered neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk since 2002. Using a five-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging their neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live.
If your community is interested in this program please contact Rose at 509 -925-3352 ext. 202.
Click Here to see Firewise Communities in WA State
Annual Meeting Scheduled For February 23, 2017
The KCCD's Annual Meeting and Dinner is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 PM on Thursday February 23 at the Armory Building at the Kittitas Valley Event Center in Ellensburg. At this meeting, we review accomplishments in 2016 and plans for 2017, as well as presenting Conservation Awards. Please RSVP if you are interested in attending.
Click Here to RSVP
Ted Mildon and Betty Douglas were two of the eight polling officers who assisted with the election
KCCD Board of Supervisors Election
On February 7, 2017 the Board of Supervisors election was conducted for one of the three elected  positions on the Board. Matt Eslinger was elected to fill the position previously held by Ron Gibb. The results remain unofficial until confirmed by the Washington State Conservation Commission in May 2017. Thank you to Ron Gibb for nine years of service to the District. We welcome Matt to the District and look forward to his first three year term. 
Copyright © 2017 Kittitas County Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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