(Above): On top of Bell Mountain in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo taken by Irenee Payne.
BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
The Blue Ridge Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District, including Fannin, Rabun, Towns and Union Counties, is a legal subdivision of State Government. Since October 19, 1951 the District has provided an organization which can legally make the most effective use of technical assistance, funds appropriated and contributions made for the conservation of our natural resources.
The District board continues its leadership role in conservation education. As always, the District's most important educational activity is sponsoring students to the Natural Resources Conservation Workshop. The Board solicits sponsors for students and provided bus transportation to and from the Workshop. The Board also feels it is important that lawmakers be shown Conservation Practices and that a discussion of conservation issues be held. Conservation Tours and discussions with federal and state lawmakers are held to further advance the goals of the District and conservation. Many programs are held in local schools and at colleges. Several programs are given at civic, social and church functions. An area of education of great importance to the District is of self education.
From left to right:
Les Neely (Rabun County)
Damon Davenport (Fannin County)
George Daves (Union County)
Dr. John Kay (Towns County)
Micky Cummings- Union County
Virginia Palmer- Towns County
Dick Godfrey- Rabun County
Vacant- Fannin County
Grayson Payne, District Program Assistant
Grayson Payne grew up in Blairsville, GA on his family’s beef cattle farm. Grayson was actively involved in the outdoors as well as 4-H and FFA. After high school, he attended Young Harris College where he got his bachelor’s degree in Biology. Working with GACD allows Grayson to unite his love of farming, and desire to engage in hands-on community education in the service of wise stewardship of Georgia’s natural resources.
featured district projects
Outreach and Education
Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District works closely with neighboring districts to promote outreach and education throughout Northeast Georgia. Our district educates students on freshwater invertebrates and their ecosystems. Blue Ridge Mountain DPA Grayson Payne teaches students on finding and identifying organisms in streams as indicators of water quality (see below).
Other District Projects and Events
The District Supervisors work in coordination with local, state and federal agencies, and other organizations to educate the public at field days and tours. These not only educate in new methodologies, but create a greater awareness of our environment.
Sponsored tours and demonstrations in conservation, and conservation practices including EQIP and other NRCS programs, and 319 Water Quality Projects.
Promote conservation farming in an effort to reduce erosion on cropland within the District.
Assisted in the implementation of the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Certification Program and encourage county commissioners to enforce their ordinances.
Continue to encourage watershed sponsors to perform O&M inspections and carry out needed maintenance on all completed flood control structures.
Urged landowners to join in a partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
Inform cooperators of assistance available through NRCS and GA Forestry Commission.
Promote improvement of water quality by working with counties to stabilize road banks, standardizing proper seeding procedures, and working with major utilities to notify of violations of good conservation practices on their rights-of-way.
Distributed educational material, Soil & Water Stewardship material throughout the District.
Work with curriculum directors and teachers to see that beneficial material is incorporated in the schools for a good Conservation Program.
Produced news articles through NRCS field office and GSWCC Regional Office.
District works with community clubs, other government agencies, organizations, churches, schools, etc., to promote the sound conservation of our natural resources.
The Supervisors support Regional Competition for the Georgia Envirothon.
Students were sponsored to the Natural Resources Conservation Workshop by the District at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Promoted and sponsored E&SC programs to encourage local communities to enforce their ordinances. Held workshops to educate in the E&S rules and regulations.
Sponsored a Conservation Tour in July featuring the diversity of agriculture in Union County.
The Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District meets the third Friday of every month at 10:00 a.m. at Pat Haralson Memorial Civic Center, 165 Wellborn St., Blairsville, GA 30512. For previous meeting minutes and documents, please click below.
contact BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
Grayson Payne, District Program Assistant