PAOLA — The Miami County Conservation District recently was awarded a technical assistance grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) to create an Urban Conservationist position.

“An increasing amount of our work and customer base is in the urbanizing areas of Miami and Johnson counties,” said Lesley Rigney, district manager. “This grant will help us adapt to those demands without compromising our ability to serve agricultural interests.”

This is the third year of the NACD technical assistance grant program, which was created with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help increase staffing at the field level and provide conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the U.S., according to a news release.

The grant will fund an Urban Conservationist to serve Miami and Johnson counties in Kansas, with the intention of strengthening area conservation efforts and connecting communities and residents with federal technical and financial resources. Initial focus areas include water quality, urban stormwater and green infrastructure, according to the release.

“Since 2018, NACD and NRCS have worked together to increase staffing at the field level for conservation districts,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “This increased technical capacity helps to improve conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the nation.”

To date in 2020, NACD and NRCS have awarded $15 million in technical assistance grants. Since the program’s inception, NACD has funded technical assistance in all 50 states and three U.S. territories, according to the release.

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