Conservation districts in Wyoming are governed by 5 locally elected officials and are charged specifically, pursuant to Wyoming §§ 11-16-101 et seq., with the protection of natural resources, stabilization of farming and ranching operations, protection of public lands and protection of the tax base.
The Meeteetse Conservation District (MCD) is located 35 miles south of Cody, WY and abuts the Shoshone National Forest on the western side of the Big Horn Basin.
The collaborative planning process used by the MCD relies on the trust and acceptance of the community and open lines of communication between all affected groups and individuals. The goals, actions and policies of the MCD were derived from public participation planning process. This allows the visions of the community to guide the MCD.
The collaboratively developed vision statement that provides the foundation for the goals, actions and policies for the MCD is:
- Quality of Life – A clean and health environment that allows a peaceful and secure lifestyle, and culture that develops and enhances community pride, with the opportunity to make our own choices both now and in the future.
- Forms of Production – Continue to provide, promote or encourage the motive and means for the optimum production of resources to enhance economic opportunity and the quality of life for our community.
- Future Resource Base – Through careful local planning, control succession by the coordinated management of the water cycle, mineral cycle, and energy flow, to provide for a sustainable and optimum landscape and which in turn will provide the wealth, values and other needs of our community, within the constraints of the United States and Wyoming Constitution, and the strict framework of the Bill of Rights.
The goals and planned actions of the MCD focus on MCD operations, water quality, tree planting, wildlife habitat, range management, and government interaction and cooperation. A holistic resource management concept/model has been adopted by the MCD Board of Supervisors (see APPENDIX) and will be used to guide the MCD in its future planning, programs and projects.
District Operations Goals: The MCD is experiencing rapid changes driven by a variety of environmental issues and concerns. The MCD must be intrinsically involved in addressing these issues and concerns by providing technical assistance and expertise at the local level. The MCD is committed to implementing conservation and natural resource programs on the ground.
Our goal is to heed local input and involvement in developing programs, to address natural resource management concerns, and to implement programs that improve or enhance the environment within the MCD.
District Operations Actions:
- Educate and provide technical assistance to Cooperators, specific producers and the young of the MCD through existing educational forums, if applicable, regarding new innovations and government agency programs regarding natural resource conservation;
- Cooperate and coordinate wetland and floodplain planning and program administration with local, state and federal cooperating entities;
- Support and assist weed and pest best management practices;
- Review and comment on unincorporated area land use and subdivision proposals; review and comment on reclamation plans;
- Provide technical assistance to Cooperators for water rights and permits.
Water Quality Goals: The MCD is committed to improving the water quality of groundwater, streams, rivers, reservoirs and lakes within the boundaries of the MCD. Wyoming is a headwater state supplying water resources to neighboring states, yet we are deeply concerned about the health of our families, livestock and wildlife, as well as about protecting our tax base and improving our property values. The MCD believes that a voluntary approach to conservation and resource management including the qualities of education, coordination, leadership, team building and trust will encourage greater participation by landowners and Cooperators.
By using the voluntary approach, the MCD will coordinate and achieve the goal of an effective water quality improvement program.
Water Quality Actions:
- Provide technical assistance for publicly sponsored watershed improvement programs and/or private proposals, and assist/lead in the implementation of the Non-Point Pollution Reduction program in the MCD;
- Provide the resources and training for the on-going monitoring of watershed water quality.
Tree Planting Program Goals:
The MCD’s continuing goal is to sponsor a tree program to help alleviate problems caused by erosion and evaporation to help control soil erosion, energy loss and soil moisture content.
Tree Planting Program Actions:
- Provide Cooperators with the knowledge and benefits of tree propagation and maintenance through existing educational forums;
- Assist in the development of alternative irrigation systems for tree growth;
- Assist the Cooperators in the county-wide USDA sponsored Tree Planting Program in the MCD.
Public and Private Wildlife Habitat Goals: The MCD recognizes the importance of improving or enhancing wildlife habitat to support healthy wildlife populations. Wildlife plays a vital role in our ecosystem and our local economy. The MCD cooperates with local landowners, government agencies, and organizations in maintaining, improving and enhancing wildlife habitat in conjunction and complementary with the other resources of the MCD.
The continuing goal of the MCD is to incorporate wildlife habitat concerns and proper wildlife habitat management in the planning, programs and projects of the MCD.
Public and Private Wildlife Habitat Actions:
- Carry-out educational programs for the Cooperators of the District on wildlife management;
- Coordinate with Cooperators and government agencies in wildlife habitat improvement and maintenance on the privately held property in the MCD.
Private and Public Range Management Goals: The MCD supports best management practices on all rangelands in order to protect against soil loss; advancing, enhancing, and improving succession, biodiversity, ground cover, mineral cycle, water cycle and energy flow.
The goal of the MCD is to provide range management education, training, services and information to all land managers in the MCD.
Private and Public Range Management Actions:
- Establish the framework for grazing programs for Cooperators with the help of USDA, Soil Conservation Service technical assistance;
- Enable interested Cooperators in the adoption and improvement of techniques for best management practices and assist in the dissemination of the holistic resource management concept.
Government Agency Interaction and Coordination Goals: The MCD continues to foster the partnership between the MCD’s Cooperators and landowners, and local, state, and federal government agencies in creating and implementing programs and policies that pertain to the soil and water conservation, and the economic stability of the MCD.
The goal of the MCD is to continue to represent local interests in the planning and implementation efforts of local, state, and federal government agencies within the boundaries of the MCD.
Government Agency Interaction and Coordination Actions:
- Educate the interested MCD’s Cooperators in the coordinated resource management concept;
- Facilitate and encourage public input and interest through meetings on local, state and federal agency regulation and proposed revisions;
- Involve and inform Cooperators on all changes in Federal, State and Local natural resource management laws and regulatory devices.
Meeteetse Conservation District Operating Policy: The MCD Board of Supervisors have [sic] adopted the following policies to assist in the implementation of the described goals and actions, and the operation of the MCD:
- Cooperate and coordinate with Cooperators, residents of the MCD and public institutions/government agencies in the conservation of the water, soil, plants, and wildlife resources in the MCD.
- Encourage, and if feasible, assist Cooperators in the MCD to create and complete localized and coordinated resource management plans as a foundation for the conservation of the water/natural resources in the MCD’s watersheds.
- Provide and foster provision of technical and material assistance in an equitable fashion to the Cooperators of the MCD.
- Conduct their [sic] statutory responsibilities in their entirety, in cooperation and with the trust and acceptance of the MCD’s Cooperators.
- Review, study, and comment, when possible, on all local, state and federal legislation, rules and regulations promulgated or revised that may have an effect on the MCD and it’s [sic] cooperators.
- Cooperate and coordinate with the private individuals and groups, along with local, state, and federal governmental agencies in order to pursue the continued resource management and enhancement in the watersheds of the MCD and employ holistic resource management concepts and ideas in conjunction with existing or adopted coordinated resource management practices.
- Use a holistic resource management model to justify, evaluate and monitor the projects and programs of the MCD prior to, during and after their completion. The holistic resource management model follows the basic precept of “PLAN, MONITOR, CONTROL, AND REPLAN”.
- The Board of Supervisors will use the tests for sustainability and management guidelines defined in the holistic resource management model (see APPENDIX).
- The MCD Board of Supervisors will cause and sponsor the continuing inventory of the natural resource base of the land within the boundaries of the MCD, and create information sources to share with the Cooperators of the MCD in their on-ground management.
- The Board of Supervisors will define the ecosystem processes of energy flow, water cycles, mineral cycles and succession, as well as the “tools” – human creativity and money & labor (rest, fire, grazing, animal impact, living organisms, and technology) that can be used to help programs and projects of the MCD.
- The group planning sessions held by the MCD also provided the public’s idea of the “whole” – (people, wealth and land) that the MCD will use in the model.