Conservation district campaign encourages cleaner water

SHERIDAN – The Sheridan County Conservation District finalized cost-share policies at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. The policies will serve as guidelines for developing contracts with landowners who want to do improvement projects — septic system updates or relocations, fencing for livestock or moving feeding areas, diversion replacements, bank stabilization — in order to improve water quality in area waterways.

“We are trying to start an outreach campaign to encourage projects that address our direct bacteria sources such as septic systems and livestock or pastured animals,” district manager Carrie Rogaczewski said, noting that livestock includes cows, horses, llamas, goats, sheep and any other animals that have direct access to streams.

Improvement projects brought to the conservation district are eligible for up to 50 percent cost-share through Clean Water Act Section 319 funds. Where additional funding sources are available, the following cost-share rates will apply:
• Livestock improvements (small or large acreage): Up to 80 percent

• Septic system improvements listed in county regulations: Up to 50 percent

• Septic system improvements with advanced treatment units or new technology: Up to 10 percent

• Diversion replacements, bank stabilization: Up to 90 percent

The conservation district is seeking to increase interest in cost-share water quality improvement projects because it currently has grant funding available and more completed projects mean cleaner water overall.

In other business, the conservation district discussed:
• Tree Program: Tree sales are down this year. The district will accept orders for conservation grade seedling trees through March 31. Trees usually arrive the first week of May.

• 2013 Membership Drive: The drive generated $1,975 in local contributions. Contributions were received from 20 individuals and organizations, four of which were new this year.

• New Website: By Monday, the conservation district will have a new website that will foster better customer service and be more user friendly. The new website address will be sccdwy.org.

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