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Meet your Boundary Soil Conservation District’s board members

April 27, 2022
The crew at Boundary Soil Conservation District, (l-r) District manager Cassie Olson, supervisor Tim Dillin, supervisor Leon Stanley, chairman Tom Daniel, supervisor Spike Maas, associate Dave Wattenbarger, supervisor Ken Irons and associate Erik Olson.

A conservation district is a non-regulatory entity that protects and cares for Idaho’s natural resources by assisting landowners to implement voluntary conservation measures on privately held lands. A conservation district’s work seldom makes newspaper headlines, but over the last 70 years, their efforts have increased the productivity of Idaho agriculture and helped conserve and protect natural resources.

Idaho is made up of 50 individual soil and water conservation districts. They are the primary entities that protect and care for Idaho’s soil, water and other natural resources on privately held lands. They are separate legal entities and subdivisions of state government led by locally elected boards of five or seven supervisors who serve on a volunteer basis.

It is the goal of the Boundary Soil Conservation District elected officials to set high standards for conservation of the natural resources. Due to its granitic soil type, the Kootenai Valley and surrounding areas have significantly high erosion rates. These erosion rates are often intensified by activities such as livestock grazing, agriculture and removing streambank vegetation. When your land gets washed away by a stream running through your property, you lose useable land and risk damage to nearby fences or structures.

It can also damage valuable wildlife habitat both in and out of the stream and affect those living downstream.

It is the desire of the Boundary Soil and Water Conservation District and its partners to help landowners in Boundary County slow down and repair problems caused by excessive erosion on their properties.

The Conservation District can offer services such as permitting assistance, consultation about good stream management practices and planning and designing effective restoration and recovery projects. The Conservation District also provides support for healthy forest management and locally sourced tree seedlings. Every year the Conservation District holds a tree seedling sale to help local landowner’s reforestation using native species at an affordable price.

The Boundary Conservation District also holds an annual Arbor Day celebration each year, giving away tree seedlings and some great information! Please join us this year from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the Super One parking lot.

We have many events all year long and if you would like to be notified of events, tours and volunteering opportunities or to be added the email list for upcoming meetings, please email cassie.olson@usda.gov

If you are interested in protecting your streambanks from soil loss on your own here are a few helpful tips to improve and protect your bank stability:
  • Take note of the high-water mark on your creek and be mindful of your activities within this zone when the water level is lower.
  • Do not remove riparian (streambank) vegetation and stay a few feet away from your banks when mowing the lawn.
  • Avoid mowing or removing vegetation in the floodplain.
  • Plant native riparian plants along your streambank such as native willows, dogwood, cottonwood, or ninebark.
  • Do not till or dig too close to your streambanks.
  • Put up exclusion fencing and provide off-site water sources for livestock to keep them from eating stabilizing riparian vegetation and keep them from trodding on the banks.
  • Do not build structures too close to your streambanks.
  • Keep regular footpaths or vehicle access points to the creek to a minimum.
  • Do not burn streambank vegetation during controlled burns.
  • Avoid removing soil or rock from the creek.

If you are interested in implementing conservation measures on your property but feel that you need financial assistance to carry out your project the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission has a low interest loan program available for conservation projects. These conservation loans are for new projects only. The Commission does not refinance already funded or completed projects. The maximum amount of any one loan is $600,000.

Loan rates are:
  • 1% for up to a 7-year term
  • 1.25% for a 10-year term
  • 1.5% for a 15-year term loan
  • 5% with new equipment and second mortgages as collateral
  • 6% with used equipment and second mortgages as collateral

The Conservation Commission invites landowners to apply for low-interest loans to install conservation measures on private property. Eligible projects address soil and water issues, like improving riparian areas or enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.

A partial list of eligible projects includes:
  • Irrigation equipment
  • No-till drills
  • Animal feeding operation improvements
  • Livestock exclusion fencing
  • Stream bank protection

Loan applications can be found at swc.idaho.gov under programs and services. For more information, contact Terry Hoebelheinrich at terry.hoebelheinrich@swc.idaho.gov, or call (208) 332-1790.

There are other grant funding opportunities that have become available just recently. Please reach out to Cassie.olson@usda.gov for more information or if you have an issue regarding water quality or streambank erosion or any other conservation concern.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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