Two positions on the Barry Conservation District Board of Directors will be up for election at the March 30, 2016 Annual Meeting. Each position is a four-year term, with the candidate elected serving through Spring 2020.
District seats are non-partisan. Eligible candidates are residents of Barry County who are 18 years of age or older and can show proof of residency with one identification card. Additionally, a candidate must complete a nominating petition by obtaining signatures from five Barry County residents age 18 or older. Nominating petitions are now available at the Barry Conservation District Office, 1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105, Hastings (Secretary of State building).
All petitions must be completed and submitted to the District Office by Friday January 29, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.
The Barry Conservation District Board regularly meets on the third Friday of each month at 7:30 a.m. in the Village View Conference Room in Pennock Hospital in Hastings. The next scheduled meeting is Friday, January 15, 2016. All meetings are open to the public.
Annually, the board creates a plan of work, budget and annual report. The Barry Conservation District provides access to the Forest Assistance Program (FAP), Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and Michigan’s Hunting Access Program (HAP) for Barry County residents. The District currently administers Barry County’s Agricultural Promotion Board and programs and holds a seat on the Barry County Solid Waste Oversight Committee. The District also provides monitoring and management of the Thornapple River Watershed, along with regular district business. Major projects in 2015 included the Highbanks Creek Restoration Project, development of the Thornapple River Watershed Management Plan, and the Barry County Outdoor Recreation Youth Day.
What is a Conservation District?
A Conservation District is a local unit of government organized by the people within the District boundaries under provisions of the Soil Conservation District Law, Act 297 of Public Acts of 1937, as amended. As such, it is a locally controlled resource management agency, created by concerned landowners and administered by publicly elected boards of directors. The boundaries of the Barry Conservation District are those of Barry County.
What is the Purpose of the Barry Conservation District?
Over the years, the role of the Barry Conservation District has evolved somewhat. The district now works closely with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to bring cost share programs to county farmers implementing soil, water and habitat conservation practices. Additionally, the district has developed partnerships with the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to provide resource conservation assistance to both farming and non-farm landowners.
By 1999, when the District’s Board of Directors completed a new resource assessment, they recognized that many other resources including forestland, grasslands, wetlands, and certain declining plant and animal species needed attention. By changing their name to the Barry Conservation District (BCD), the Board expressed the increasingly broad conservation challenges created by a developing community. As such, the work of the district now also reflects a broader focus on environmental and natural resource conservation issues.
How is it Operated?
The locally elected five-member board of directors makes all decisions regarding the District’s programs and activities. The directors hire qualified staff to conduct and carry out the programs and activities that they have approved. These programs provide technical help, information and awareness to assist people in the District to properly manage their natural resources. In Michigan, there are 78 Conservation Districts which are generally organized along county boundaries.
How is a Conservation District Funded?
District funding sources currently include county appropriations, federal and state grants, and an annual spring tree sale. Conservation District Directors are responsible for developing these funding sources for the operation of the Conservation District and for public programs focused on solving resource issues.
If you would like more information about the Barry Conservation District and the role of its Board of Directors, please visit the District Office at 1611 S. Hanover, Suite 105 (Secretary of State Building) in Hastings, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (269) 948-8037 x117