Conservation Districts are unique local units of State Government that utilize state, federal and private sector resources to solve today's conservation problems. They help our citizens to conserve their lands and our environment for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.Created to serve as stewards of natural resources, conservation districts are referred to as 'gateways' in their local communities. They provide links between land managers and a host of conservation service providers that include state, federal and local governments along with conservation organizations.
Michigan Land Base Statistics:
Michigan has 37 million acres of land, with over 60% (22.2 million acres) held by private landowners. 18.6 million acres of the non-industrial private land base is considered forested timberland, equaling 65% of all forest resources in the state.
Michigan Conservation Districts are local units of State Government
Michigan Conservation Districts leverage the state base operations funding ($300,000 for FY10) to bring to Michigan and local communities the following programs:
Michigan Conservation Districts serve as the local entry point for USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service assistance, bringing federal programs and financial assistance to private landowners across Michigan. In 2008 alone, over $33 million was allocated by USDA-NRCS through Michigan Conservation Districts. These funds were provided to farmers and landowners to fund cost-shared projects that directly address resource concerns.
The new 2008 Farm Bill provides an increase in financial assistance funding available to landowners. In order to take full advantage of the increase in funding availability, the state will need to depend upon the full functioning of Michigan Conservation Districts to deliver the programs to landowners.
Background: The USDA-NRCS programs available to landowners directly impact the quality of our natural resources. Funded projects include fencing systems to keep livestock out of waterways; animal waste storage facilities to allow farmers to better manage livestock waste and grassed waterways to reduce sedimentation to surface waters. These cost share programs are a massive federal financial investment into the protection of our resources that directly impact our great lakes through reduced sedimentation and nutrient and chemical loading.
Governor Granholm and the State of Michigan understand the value of the incredible natural resource base in the State. “Michigan is uniquely positioned to advance the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies because of its many assets, including the available natural resource in wind, water, and biomass.”
Over 60% of the landmass in Michigan is held by private landowners, Michigan Conservation Districts as a local unit of State Government are the established local entity that provides the local delivery of programs for MDA, DNR and DEQ , as well as the new Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.
Michigan Conservation Districts as local units of state government are prepared to provide program delivery services to ensure the wise use and long term viability of our privately held natural resource base:
Michigan Great Lakes Plan
The Michigan Great Lakes Plan is the road map for Michigan’s Great Lakes restoration and management efforts. Michigan Conservation Districts are critical to the success of the plan. Current and future natural resource restoration activities that will have a positive impact on the Great Lakes, will take place on working lands. These working lands are privately held and therefore offer a significant challenge on finding ways to address the issues on these lands. Michigan Conservation Districts have a long and successful track record with private landowners and stand prepared to be a key player in the implementation of the Mi. Great Lakes Plan.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
This federal program has $475 Million allocated to restore the Great Lakes. Michigan, entirely within the Great Lakes watershed has the potential to gain significantly from this initiative and Michigan Conservation Districts as the local units of State Government are key to the development and delivery of programs through this initiative.