Conservation Corner

Welcome to our online newsletter where we will keep you updated on everything the Pierce Conservation District is working on, from our work On the Farm to Water Quality Improvement. The Conservation Corner highlights our most interesting stories, but does not include everything. Find our other stories linked in the sidebar and below. 

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Apr 10


Posted on April 10, 2020 at 12:45 PM by Allan Warren

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Our Climate Resiliency Program has more than doubled our goal of reducing energy consumption on farms and rural business by helping install solar, both in Pierce County and around the state. With support from a USDA’s Renewable Energy Development Assistance grant, we helped get this new array installed at Probably Shouldn’t Distillery and organic farm up in Everson, WA. Learn more about this project and other successful solar installations here.

In 2015, the District finalized an ambitious 5-year strategic plan that has served as a roadmap of strategies and actions, guiding our growth toward achieving lofty conservation goals. This plan was the start of a more strategic approach to our efforts, not the end, and in the years since we’ve fine-tuned the plan through additional prioritization studies and adaptive management.

Planning is only worth the effort if it leads to effective implementation though. Since 2015, this plan has helped guide our efforts, but it has also helped us secure additional resources, allowing us to more than double our number of staff and deliver significantly more technical assistance to the community. With such a great team of passionate and dedicated staff, our impact continues to grow each and every year.

As we enter 2020, the final year of our current plan and the start of a new strategic planning process, we’re proud to look back and realize we’re achieving most of our goals. Delivering on our targets is helping create a healthier, more vibrant community for the people of Pierce County.

By 2021, the District will reduce energy consumption on farms and rural businesses by 1.2 M kWh.
Our Climate Resiliency Program is another new addition since 2015. This goal was aspirational at the time, pointing at something we would like to do if we had the resources. By receiving 4-rounds of a Renewable Energy Development Assistance grants, we secured the resource. Now, not only have we created the program, in only 3-years it has led to annual reductions in energy use of 3,098,293 kWh. That’s the equivalent of taking 310 homes completely off the grid!

By 2021, the number of volunteers across all District programs will increase by 30%.
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Our Environmental Education Program continues to exceed the goals we laid out for it in our last strategic plan, by roughly ten times! Seen here, a fifth grade student learns about fish biology from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist at last year’s Children’s Water Festival. The growth in this program wouldn’t be possible without the gracious support of partner organizations such as the University of Puget Sound, the Port of Tacoma, the City of Tacoma’s Make a Splash grant, and many others.
In 2015, we had just over 1,400 volunteers support our efforts. In 2019, 3,564 volunteers helped us plant trees, reduce food waste, remove invasive weeds, monitor water quality and much, much more. The value of that support would be like receiving a grant for over $330,000! We’ve increased our volunteer numbers by 153%, which makes our time, energy, and dollars go so much farther. We are blessed to work in such a dedicated community and proud to work with you all to make it even better.
By 2021, K-12 youth engagement in the District’s environmental education programs will increase by 30%. In 2015, we engaged 823 students in our Environmental Education program. Last year, we reached 3,279 students, a nearly 300% increase! Each year, we’re building relationships with more schools and more teachers, surpassing our goals to inspire the next generation of conservationists. The quality of our programming continues to improve too, whether in the Envirothon workshop series, the Children’s Water Festival, or the custom curriculums we deliver in the classroom or in the field.  

By 2021, PCD will have a program in place to provide education and outreach, and technical and/ or financial assistance to landowners interested in pursuing green marine shoreline projects in the KGI watershed and will implement one pilot project.
We are excited to say that in June of 2019, we hired our new Shoreline Program Manager, Mary Krauszer. By securing grants from the National Estuary Program and the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, we now have a program in place to provide technical and financial assistance to shoreline landowners, filling a much-needed service gap in Pierce County. You can read more about the new Shore Friendly program in the habitat section of this report.


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