The Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District will prepare a needs assessment of Douglas County starting this fall. The needs assessment will provide the state Soil and Water Districts Commission with information about soil erosion and water quality concerns in the county. This will assist the commission in allocating cost-share funds to the district next year.
“The needs assessment is a great opportunity for districts to individually tell the commission what soil and water conservation issues they would like to address in their county,” said Bill Foster, program director for the Soil and Water Conservation Program at the Department of Natural Resources in Jefferson City. The Soil and Water Districts Commission is charged with allocating appropriations to districts based upon the district’s needs. In order to do this, the commission is requesting that each district perform a five-year needs assessment of their county.
Starting in July of 2009, the cost-share allocation will be partly distributed based on a needs assessment developed by each district. The needs assessment will be a comprehensive, multi-year report of the cost-share needs in the district based on resource concerns. During this process, the district board will break down the resource needs of the district based on 11 concerns: Sheet and Rill Erosion, Gully Erosion, Grazing Management, Woodland Erosion, Sensitive Areas, Irrigation Management, Animal Waste Management, Nutrient Management, Pest Management, Groundwater Protection, and Streambank Erosion.
In order to determine which concerns are priorities and what level of funding to allocate to each concern, districts will use a variety of methods including the University of Missouri’s website for Missouri County Profiles, landowner surveys, informational meetings and analyzing past cost-share usage.