District Board Supervisor-Temporary Appointment

Election Superintendent Jane Heikkinen announced, "Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District Election was held on November 16, 2015 for the position of Board Supervisor. 

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walter Whitcomb appointed a temporary replacement for no longer than one year.  That position is being filled by Arthur Dunlap of Poland.

Any person desiring to be recommended for appointment to the office of District Board Supervisor should contact the Conservation District office via email at janeheikkinen@oxfordnetworks.net or phone (207) 753-9400 ext 400.

Invasive Forest Pest Workshop May 4th in Bath 10:00-12:30

Invasive Forest Pest Workshops are being presented by the Maine Association of Conservation Districts through a grant from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.  The local Soil and Water Conservation Districts  in Maine will host these workshops designed to help landowners and users, landscape and professional, and all residents of the state
·  to identify current and potential  forest invasive pests and their host species, 
·  to understand the threats to our forests and woodlands posed by these pests, and 
·  to learn how to report suspected pest sightings or damage to trees that may be a result of pest infestations.

All participants will receive an information packet with fact sheets about the major pest species, a list of host trees that the species may be found on, and other relevant information.  When possible, workshops will also include an optional outdoor visit to a site where   invasive pests or host trees may be found.  All workshops are free, (excepting those that may be part of a larger event that has an admission fee).

People interested in learning how to recognize invasive tree pests and in protecting our natural resources and people working in the wood products industry are urged to attend this training.

Participants learn how to disseminate information to the public to help spread awareness.  Contact Jane Heikkinen at 207-753-9400 ext 400 for outreach materials.

Invasive Tree Pests pose serious threats to the trees and forests of Maine.  The best defense for our trees and forests is early detection by people who work with trees, those who enjoy the outdoors, and those involved in community education. 


2016 Forest Pest Workshop Registration Form May 4 in Bath.pdf


POND Walk and Talk to be Offered

If you are interested in attending a Pond Walk and Talk Workshop, contact Jane Heikkinen at janeheikkinen@oxfordnetworks.net or call the Conservation District office at 207-753-9400 ext 400.

A morning of farm pond construction and maintenance tips will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 8:30 a.m. to noon. This workshop will be held at Bowdoin Central School: 1460 Main St. Bowdoin, ME 04278. After the classroom instruction, participants will walk to Stoddard Pond and discuss management practices and maintenance issues. Due to uneven terrain, the walk and talk portion of this workshop will not be wheelchair accessible. Light refreshments will be offered.

The cost is $7.50 per individual or $10 per couple. Anyone registering after April 27th or the day of the workshop will be charged $11 each person. The Conservation District gives no refunds for those not showing up at a workshop.

The POND Walk and Talk is being sponsored by the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and facilitated by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Engineer Candi Gilpatric. Both Androsoggin Valley Conservation District and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are equal opportunity employers and program providers.  This program offers a relaxed, informal training opportunity, new pond construction tips, ideas for pond maintenance, helps for planning pond use, view of a farm pond, practices used and an interactive learning experience with a question and answer time.

Technical Assistance Offered to Residents of Lake Auburn Watershed

Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District will be partnering with the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission in the 319 EPA/MDEP Clean Water Act Grant Project.  We have contracted with Jeff Stern to offer a technical assistance service to landowners in the Lake Auburn Watershed with erosion and stormwater runoff issues.  For more information or if having need for assistance call the Conservation District office at 753-9400 ext 400 or email janeheikkinen@oxfordnetworks.net.

Maine Envirothon Program

2016 Envirothon Registration Packet are available.  Contact Joshua Platt by email at josh@kcswcd.org.  Southwestern Regional Event coordinator is Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District Education Coordinator Jean Federico.  For more information contact www.oxfordswcd.org.   Envirothon is an Environmental program in a state and nationwide natural resource problem-solving competition for grades 9 - 12.  Students compete outdoors in five natural resource areas:  aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current national environmental issue. Regional and State competitions are held each spring and the top team qualifies for the Canon North American Envirothon finals--an opportunity to compete against teams from across the United States and Canada.    

Maine's Conservation Districts Highlighted--A Great Accolade!

State Officials stress the importance of Conservation Districts to soil health, water quality and wise use of the land, forest and water resources

Released from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry-Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Augusta - Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) officials are highlighting the important work of Maine Soil and Water Conservation Districts in speeches in Slowhegan and Gorham this week.  Commissioner Walt Whitcomb and Deputry Commissioner Dave Lavway are scheduled to speak at meetings of the Maine State Grange and Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District about the value of Conservation Districts to Maime communities, agriculture and the natural resource economy.

"The last Census of Agriculture highlighted the strength of Maine agriculture and its potential to put more food on the table, provide jobs and create economic opportunities," said Governor Paul R. LePage at a debate for the Governor's race.  "There are more Maine farms now, and the market value of Maine agricutural products has increased 24 percent.  Soil and Water Conservation Districts are an important part of that success.  For the amount of money invested, Conservation Districts provide taxpayers witht the biggest bang for the buck in natural resource management.  The valuable work that they do does not receive enough attention or financial support."

"Maine needs to develop its natural resources economy through prevention of soil erosion, improvement of soil health, protection and restoration of water quality and wise use of our land, forests, and water," said DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb.  "Meeting these challenges requires a public-private partnership that Conservation Districts have developed over the past 70 years.  The LePage Administration has actively strengthened an important partnership that improves natural resource management."

"Agriculture is growing in Maine, with more farms and more acres devoted to producing locally-grown food with sustainable farming practices," said Deputy Commissioner Lavway.  "The Maine Soil and Water Conservation Districts have recognized this trend and are developing programs to promote soil health and public awareness of agriculture."

Benefits of Soil and Water Conservation Districts:

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts help prevent soil erosion, improve soil health, protect and restore water quality.  They promote wise use of land, forest and water resources.  They achieve these objectives by establishing public-private partnerships.
  • Conservation Districts bring numerous partners together--federal, state agencies, local governments, farmers, woodlot owners, lakeshore residents, business and industry -- to find effective solutions to local natural resource problems.
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts are important partners in the merged Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.  They epitomize the collaborative approach to natural resource managemnent that Governor LePage envisoned when he and the Legislature combined these three agencies into Maine's largest natural resource Department.
  • Conservation Districts extend the Department's ability to reach local landowners.  Districts are one of the most trusted sources for unbiased information on natural resource management.
  • Maine's Conservation Districts leverage over $15 million in grants, appropriations, cash contributions, and volunteer labor to conserve, improve and sustain natural resources.  Every State dolloar invested in Conservation Districts produces over $18 in additonal funding for conservation work.

Southwestern Regional Envirothon Competition for 2016

What is Envirothon? A state and nationwide natural resource problem-solving competition for grades 9-12.  Students compete outdoors in five natural resource areas: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current national environmental issue. Regional winners compete at state level and the State of Maine winning team goes on to the North American Envirothon finals.



Would you like a team from you high school to be pictured here?  It's not too late to register.  Contact Josh@kcswcd.org.


2015 Southwestern Regional Envirothon is set for May 14 at Packard-Littlefield Farm, 76 Littlefield Road, Lisbon.  Schools are urged to sign up early to ensure getting you first choice.  

There are many opportunities for you to participate in supporting high school students in your community:  volunteer as a team coach, donate $75 to help with team traveling costs to the Regional competition, or make a contribution to cover awards and lunches for the teams attending.  Call Office Manager Jane Heikkinen at the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District office at 207-753-9400 ext 400 for specifics. 

Andy Valley Succesful Farmer Series

Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District received funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program Agreement #68-1218-13-17 to offer "The Andy Valley Successful Farmer".   For beginning farmers, in business under ten years, there are many opportunities available through the Beginner Farmers Resource Network.  Check this site out:  http://www.umaine.edu/beginning-farmer-resource-network/.

During the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we held 5 workshop sessions. These included Forest Harvesting Management, Vegetable and Fruit Crop Management, Soil Health and Nutrient Management, Pest Management for Fruit and Vegetables, Transitioning To and Organic Production, and Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production. 

Professional Development Workshop

Maine Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Project was funded through a grant with SARE.  February 24, 2014 a Professional Develoment Workshop was held for those providing services to farmers.

Click here on the following to see:

Agenda:

 

Maine Professional Development Workshop Agenda.pdf

Also are two links to provide information for the Whole Farm Assessment and Certification and Management Practices to Reduce Agricultural Emissions on Maine Farms.

USDA Local Work Group Meeting

The Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a meeting of the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties USDA Local Work Group Meeting on December 19, 2013.  Fifteen people attended the meeting.  

The local resource categories and percentages in the funding pools will be animal waste with 75%, cropland and pasture with 20%, and small farms with 5% for 2014.  The Local Working Group identified and prioritized the resource concerns and points allocated to these concerns:

High 33 points for questions related to the resource concerns

  • Integrated pest management (vegetables, small berries and orchards)
  • Soil Health/Cropland Issues
  • Pasture
  • Nutrient management (waste mangement and soil health)
  • Water quality (surface and groundwater)
  • Erosion (farmland and streambank)

Medium 10 points for questions associated with the resource concerns

  • Community Engagement (Ag education and recreation activities on farms that support local communities
  • Forestry (timber stand improvement)
  • Invasive species
  • Wildlife issues

Low 6 points with questions related to the resource concerns

  • Water Quantity
  • Air Quality

2013 Workshops:

Farm Pond Workshop

The Farm Pond Walk and Talk Workshop was held Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 8:30 to 12 noon.  This workshop was held on the Hemond Farm and MotorX area, at 695 Woodman Hill Road, Minot. The session included inside classroom time and an outside walk to three farm ponds for further discussion on farm pond uses. 

This workshop was relaxed and informal, covered new pond construction tips, built pond maintenance ideas, planning for pond use and provided opportunity to learn from questions of the other attendees and answers that were given. 

The Farm Pond Walk and Tak Workshop was sponsored by the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, hosted by the Hemond Farm and facilitated by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agriculutral Engineer Cani Gilpatric. This workshop was offered as a result of requests received from farmers.  However, please note that USDA NRCS does not provide cost sharing, technical assistance or construction engineering for new farm pond development.

Septic Social

Lake Auburn Watershed Septic Social was held Saturday, September 7, at the Volunteer Monitoring Program Office, 24 Maple Hill Road, Auburn from 8:00 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

All septic systems located within a watershed and all septic systems have the potential to impact a nearby waterbody. Learn how you can save money, extend you septic system's life and protect Lake Auburn.  This septic social was offered to bring answers to your questions, help you stay on the right side of the law, and offer tips on preventing a system failure.  The fantastic speakers and good company made it a fun morning.   This Septic Social was offered with the collaborating efforts of Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, Auburn Water District, Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission, Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, W E Fenderson Septic Service, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.  The Sun Journal published a guest editorial about the event written by Heather Mccarthy.  We extend our thanks to both the Sun Journal and Heather.

The first 15 Lake Auburn watershed residents who attended the Septic Social received a coupon from the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission to add to the discount offered by W.E. Fenderson Septic Services for a septic tank pump out.

New Standards for Timber Harvesting in Shoreland Areas

Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service partnered to offer this FREE workshop for code enforcement officers, woodlot owners, forest operators and any others interested.  The workshop was held in the USDA Service Center's Conference Room at 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston. 

The topics covered the new laws, options for municipalities and key changes for timber harvesting. The instructors took time to address questions and offered to do follow up visits. 

Other Topics Covered In Past Workshops


                               Looked at crop management