GACD Group Reorganization

Given that the primary partner of GACD and Districts is NRCS, this proposal was offered to reorganize GACD from five groups to four groups, and to align the structure to generally coincide with the current NRCS Areas 1-4. The proposal was approved by the membership body during General Session of the 2019 Annual Meeting

The reduction in groups caused some Districts to move to a new GACD group. These changes are outlined in the chart below.

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2019 Natural Resources Conservation Workshop (NRCW)

2018 GA Conservation District Scholarship winner Rhys Medcalfe.

2018 GA Conservation District Scholarship winner Rhys Medcalfe.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Workshop to be held June 9-13, 2019 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA.

Available to Georgia’s Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. (Students who have previously attended the workshop are not eligible)

Workshop focuses on the value, protection, and conservation of Georgia’s wildlife, forestry, soil, and water resources, including conservation in Georgia’s mining industry. More than $17,000 in college scholarships will be awarded during the workshop. Features field trips, classroom instruction, and recreational activities.

GACD is managing registration for this year's workshop so you may notice it will be slightly different.  Interested students must first complete the online registration located on our website at www.abac.edu/nrcw . GACD's District Program Assistants who represent Georgia's 40 Conservation Districts will reach out and work one on one with the students to get their paperwork properly filled out and submitted back to GACD Management for final review (no paperwork should be sent directly to ABAC). The DPAs will secure the signatures from parents, Conservation District Supervisors, and NRCS representatives.  The GACD management will upload the information to the NRCW headquarters at ABAC where it will be combined with the payments in order to complete the registration process and email confirmations.  (Payments will come directly to the workshop at ABAC.)  We believe this new system will allow for the students to have more contact and assistance at the local level and still involve all of our partners. 

Flyers and brochures to advertise the workshop are available online at our website or through your local District Program Assistant.

Last year, GACD and Georgia Conservation Districts awarded a $6,500 scholarship to Rhys Medcalfe of Richmond County. Thank you to the following Districts who donated towards the 2018 Scholarship: Alapaha, Altamaha, Blue Ridge Mountain, Broad River, Catoosa County, Central Georgia, Coastal, Cobb County, Columbia County, Coosa River, Flint River, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Henry County, Lamar County, Limestone Valley, Lincoln County, Lower Chattahoochee River, McDuffie County, Middle South Georgia, Oconee River, Ocmulgee River, Ogeechee River, Ohoopee River, Piedmont, Pine Mountain, Rockdale County, Satilla River, Stephens County, Towaliga, Upper Chattahoochee River, Walton County, Warren County, and West Georgia.

Early Bird Registration Deadline May 1, 2019.
*Tuition: $175 prior to May 1st, $200 after May 1st

Tuition is usually provided to the students by local Conservation Districts, local businesses, and individuals.

Register online at www.abac.edu/nrcw .

GACD's Alternative Plan Review

GACD has been working the past 12 months to put in place an Alternative Plan Review Program. This Alternative Plan Review Program will allow Conservation Districts (Districts) to offer an alternative technical procedure for completing the District’s responsibility to review erosion and sediment control plans. GACD will begin this program April 1, 2019.

PROCESS

• GACD and Districts execute a Memorandum of Understanding documenting the

procedure for GACD to assist the District in its responsibility to review erosion and

sediment control plans.

• GACD has obtained a group of third party independent qualified erosion control plan

review consultants (Consultants), which may vary from time to time, to provide this plan

review services.

• Consultants selected by GACD must be prequalified with the GSWCC as a Design

Professional and Level II B Certified Plan Reviewer. Currently, GACD has approved eight

design professionals as Consultants for the Alternative Plan Review Program. GACD will

consider requests for additional Consultants at each GACD board meeting. Qualifications

and applications for Consultants is available at GACD.us.

• Consultants are required to review plans within 10 business days.

*If you are interested in becoming a Consultant, please email Executive Director Katie Sponberger at katie@gacd.us .

PRICING

• Consultants will perform these services a fixed fee of $500 ($300 if disturbed area is less

than 5 acres). Consultant’s Plan Review Fee will be a fixed lump sum price and shall

include the initial plan review and two additional reviews.

BENEFITS

The Alternative Plan Review Program will allow ALL Districts across Georgia, in both

urban and rural areas, a means to complete the District’s responsibility to review erosion and

sediment control plans in an effective and timely manner.

COMMENTS?

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email Katie Sponberger (katie@GACD.us) prior to March 15, 2019. GACD will finalize these documents and initiate the Alternative Plan Review Program on April 1, 2019.

Conservation District Day at the Capitol

We had a great morning at our FIRST EVER Conservation District Day at the Capitol! Around 60 Supervisors and staff in attendance met with members of the Legislature to share the story of Conservation Districts and what the Districts need to continue promoting natural resource stewardship.

District Supervisors and GACD Staff with Governor Brian Kemp

District Supervisors and GACD Staff with Governor Brian Kemp

Governor Kemp also declared February 26, 2019 as Conservation District Day in Georgia!

Thank you to all the District Supervisors and our partners at USDA-NRCS and Georgia Farm Bureau for attending. A special thank you to our DPAs for coming and helping to represent their districts!

We would also like to thank the following members of the Georgia Legislature for all they do for our great state and for stopping by to address our group: Senator Tyler Harper, Senator Brian Strickland, Senator Frank Ginn, Representative Matt Dubnik, Representative Clay Pirkle, Representative Matt Hatchett, Representative Karen Mathiak, and Representative Don Hogan.

GACD Board Members, District Supervisors and USDA- NRCS State Conservationist with Governor Brian Kemp holding our proclamation for Conservation District Day in Georgia.

GACD Board Members, District Supervisors and USDA- NRCS State Conservationist with Governor Brian Kemp holding our proclamation for Conservation District Day in Georgia.

URGENT LEGISLATIVE CALL TO ACTION

GACD has an URGENT Legislative call to action! We need all hands on deck to help defeat HB 422! It is imperative you contact your State Representative and Senator today, tomorrow and this week to let them know this is NOT good for conservation in Georgia. 

Please visit www.legis.state.ga.us to retrieve the phone numbers and emails of your senator or representative. If you don't know who that is please visit https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do .

Remember it is your grassroots effort that helps make this happen. Every Supervisor's phone call and/or email will make a huge impact in getting this bill defeated.

HB 422

Summary of Concerns

February 26, 2019

Georgia Conservation District Supervisors representing all 159 counties have several significant concerns with HB 422 including unintended consequences. 

Specific concerns with HB 422 are:

  • HB 422 appears to be an effort to deal with delays associated with state review and approval of ESC plans.

  • Delays associated with state approval of ESC plans relate to the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commissionnot local Conservation Districts (which would be bypassed if HB 422 is approved as currently drafted).

  • GACD is comprised of the 40 local Conservation Districts throughout the state and has been working to implement a solution for the delays associated with ESC plan approvals.

  • HB 422 as proposed appears to dilute the state’s commitment to protecting water resources, which is one of the primary issues included in the current “water wars” lawsuit involving Georgia, Alabama and Florida (unintended consequence).

  • HB 422 as proposed could potentially remove local Conservation Districts providing local governments with unbiased technical assistance related to ESC issues including problem/complaint resolutions, leaving only the state EPD to do so (unintended consequence).

  • The GACD solution corrects delays associated with ESC plan approvals without negative unintended consequences.

The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) has been working the past 12 months to put in place an Alternative District Plan Review Program to provide an alternative technical procedure for completing the District’s responsibility to review erosion and sediment control (ESC)  plans. GACD will begin this program April 1, 2019. The Alternative District Plan Review Program will allow all Districts across Georgia, in both urban and rural areas, a means to complete the District’s plan review responsibility in an effective and timely manner.

GACD now accepting submissions for Poster and Photo Contest

The annual GACD Poster Contest provides students from kindergarten through 12th grade the chance to have their art displayed as part of a national conservation outreach initiative. Each year, the winning posters reflect the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) annual Stewardship theme and highlight the work of Conservation Districts to protect and enhance natural resources.

2019 Stewardship theme

2019 Stewardship theme

The GACD Photo Contest is open to all amateur photographers who reside in Georgia. Contestants are allowed to enter as many as five photos each year that each fit into one of the following four categories:

Conservation Practices, Close-up Conservation, Conservation in Action, Agriculture and Conservation Across Georgia. One winner will be selected for each category and age division (adults are ages 19 and older).

Both contests start at the local District level; winners advance to the state competition, and then to the national level, where winners receive recognition and a cash prize at the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) Annual Meeting.  All state winners will receive recognition and a cash prize at GACD’s Annual Meeting.  State level winning photos will be on display at the State USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Athens, GA and used in future publications.

Posters and photos are due by May 31, 2019.

If you are interested in participating, visit www.gacd.us/education or contact your local Conservation District.

Forsyth, GA Farmer receives National Award

James Vaughn was named the 2019 “Friend of Conservation” by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) at their Annual Meeting Appreciation Banquet on February 5. This award “recognizes an individual, business or agency for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources.” Mr. James Vaughn, owner and operator of Vaughn Farms, LP, was nominated for this esteemed honor by the Towaliga Conservation District and the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts.

Based out of Forsyth, Georgia, Vaughn Farms is a family-owned and operated large scale cattle and forestry operation recognized for decades of farm conservation practices and sustainable development in Monroe County. The Vaughn family's decades-long partnership with the Towaliga Conservation District and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has led to preserving the family farm for decades to come and continues to highlight the benefits of the Farm Bill on the local level to farmers and producers throughout the state of Georgia.

Mr. Vaughn gives a great deal of credit for his farm preservation and his knowledge of conservation to USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Carmen Westerfield out of the USDA Service Center in Barnesville, GA. Mrs. Westerfield has worked with Vaughn Farms for decades to design and implement longstanding conservation practices on his farm.

The Towaliga Conservation District has proudly served Butts, Fayette, Monroe, Pike, Spalding and Upson Counties since 1944, providing technical assistance, conservation education and community outreach to conserve the area’s natural resources for future generations. More information can be found at www.gacd.us/towaliga .

James Vaughn, NACD’s 2019 Friend of Conservation with Brent Van Dyke, NACD President.

James Vaughn, NACD’s 2019 Friend of Conservation with Brent Van Dyke, NACD President.

Left to Right: GACD’s NACD Representative Danny Hogan, Beth and James Vaughn, NACD Past President John Redding & Levon Redding, GACD President Woody Snell

Left to Right: GACD’s NACD Representative Danny Hogan, Beth and James Vaughn, NACD Past President John Redding & Levon Redding, GACD President Woody Snell

District Supervisors Honored for Years of Service

We are lucky to have a number of individuals willing to make long-term commitments as District Supervisors on the boards of their local Conservation Districts. Supervisors who attended GACD’s Annual Meeting were recognized and presented service pins at the luncheon held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

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 Group 1:

Dell MacGregor, Dekalb County Conservation District, 20 years

Davis Nelson, Coosa River Conservation District, 20 years

Woody Snell, Cobb County Conservation District, 20 years

Paul Nealey, Limestone Valley Conservation District, 40 years

Group 2:

Kenneth Beasley, Upper Chattahoochee River Conservation District, 10 years

Dewey Johnson, Oconee River Conservation District, 10 years

George Lyons, Upper Chattahoochee River Conservation District, 10 years

Group 3:

Andy Bush, Lamar County Conservation District, 10 years

Christina Carrell, Walton County Conservation District, 10 years

Lynn Parker, Lamar County Conservation District, 10 years

Dan Bennett, Walton County Conservation District, 20 years

Tommy Presley, Towaliga Conservation District, 20 years

Group 5:

Jerry Holcomb, Coastal Georgia Conservation District, 10 years

Lynn Johnson, Ohoopee River Conservation District, 10 years

Bob Monroe, Coastal Georgia Conservation District, 10 years

Tabatha Wooten, Altamaha Conservation District, 10 years

GACD President, Woody Snell, Inducted into Hall of Fame

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is proud to announce the induction of Woody Snell into the Hall of Fame. This prestigious recognition highlights District Supervisors who have dedicated many years of service to natural resource conservation.  Snell was recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

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Woody Snell received his Master of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Clemson University. He has been actively involved in real estate development for over 25 years and serves as the President of Lynwood Development Group, a real estate development and investment company that specializes in environmentally sustainable and pedestrian friendly communities. Snell has managed the successful completion of more than 70 communities consisting of over 3,000 acres and about 10,000 lots. Most recently Woody was the master developer of West Village which was recognized as The Development of Excellence by both the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC).

 Woody currently serves as GACD’s President and has been instrumental in advancing and growing the organization. He has been a District Supervisor with the Cobb County Conservation District for 20 years. In addition, He is the past Chairman of the Council for Quality Growth and active member Cobb County Development Standards Board.

 Georgia’s 40 Conservation Districts are organized under state law to carry out the State’s conservation programs. The Districts provide information and education to implement practices that decrease soil erosion and protect water resources. Conservation districts are local people solving local problems. Board meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources by providing organization, leadership and a unified strategic direction to the Conservation Districts of the State.

Water Conservation Advocate Inducted into GACD Hall of Fame

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is proud to announce the induction of Fox McCarthy into the Hall of Fame. This prestigious recognition highlights District Supervisors who have dedicated many years of service to natural resource conservation.  McCarthy was recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

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Fox McCarthy earned a B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Georgia in 1989.  He has been a District Supervisor for the Rockdale County Conservation District for 24 years, and currently serves as Chair. Throughout his career he has worked closely with UGA Extension, the Water Authority of Cobb County-Marietta, and was a founding member of the Georgia Water Wise Council (GWCC). The GWCC is a non-profit partnership of government, education, business and private citizen entities with the purpose of promoting water conservation and water quality programs. In 2004 to commemorate Fox’s 10 years of service with the GWCC the Council established the Fox McCarthy Water Wise Award.  This award recognizes an outstanding project or program implemented by a water provider or a water user in Georgia.

In addition, Fox served on the Education Committee of the Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association, the Water Conservation Division of the American Water Works Association, the National Water Conservation Committee, the Georgia Green Industry Association, Water Environment Federation and the Water Supply Task Force of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

He has served as Co-Chair of the Rockdale County Water and Sewage Authority and helped to draft the County Tree Ordinance.  He has also worked as a volunteer with the Rockdale County Extension Service. 

Fox McCarthy has been a beacon for water conservation in Georgia, and many of his concepts were included in the Metro North Georgia Water Conservation plans, and the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010.     

Georgia’s 40 Conservation Districts are organized under state law to carry out the State’s conservation programs. The Districts provide information and education to implement practices that decrease soil erosion and protect water resources. Conservation districts are local people solving local problems. Board meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources by providing organization, leadership and a unified strategic direction to the Conservation Districts of the State.