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USDA Secretary Vilsack Talks Ag Aid in Michigan

USDA Secretary Vilsack Talks Ag Aid in Michigan Ag secretary: US needs better programs for long-term drought (The Detroit News)

Michigan welcomed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with a series of in-person agricultural outreach events in early June.

Vilsack's visit comes hot on the heels of the White House announcing over $5 billion in potential funding for U.S. agricultural supply chain and conservation land management through its Build Back Better initiative. The USDA also announced this Spring over $6 billion in additional ag and food production aid through the USDA Pandemic Assistance effort.

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Support for MAEAP Funding Bill Grows

Support for MAEAP Funding Bill GrowsMAEAP Verified Farmer (Megan DeLeeuw of Hand Sown Farm - Washtenaw Co)

Michigan agricultural and conservation groups are joining forces to support Senate Bill 494, so that vital fee-based funding can continue for one of our state's vital conservation programs -- the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).

Sponsored by fellow farmer Sen. Kevin Daley (31st Dist.), the bill renews agricultural fees that help fund the MAEAP program's work with farms to protect water quality and soil health.

Specifically, the legislation seeks to:

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Ottawa & Huron CDs Net Water Quality Grants

EGLE LogoMassive congrats to Ottawa and Huron Conservation Districts on their winning grant proposals totaling $1,691,065 from EGLE (The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy), awarded last week to support the Districts' watershed management projects benefitting wetlands, lakes, and streams.

Ottawa & Huron CDs each received the following project funding to reduce sediment, nutrients, and other contaminants to help restore impaired water bodies and protect high-quality water bodies:

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Three CDs Score EGLE Watershed Grants

EGLECongratulations to Chippewa Luce Mackinac, Genessee, and Isabella Conservation Districts on receiving grants totaling $102,495 to support their Conservation Districts' watershed projects from The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) this week.

The Watershed Council Support grants are funded under Michigan’s Public Act 166 of 2020.  Grants were limited to $40,000 per applicant and the projects must be put into action within a year of receiving the grants.

These hard-working districts received the following grant awards for their proposed watershed projects:
    •    Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District: $40,000
    •    Genesee Conservation District: $31,500
    •    Isabella Conservation District: $30,995

The grants are issued by EGLE’s Nonpoint Source Program, which helps local stakeholders reduce pollution and excess runoff by supporting efforts to develop and launch watershed management plans. The Nonpoint Source Program issues an annual request for proposals for projects, with the next request for proposals available in mid-July. It will be posted at Michigan.gov/NPS.

2021 Stewardship Week for Healthy Trees & Communties

2021 Stewardship Week: "Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities"

2021 Stewardship Week

Welcome to 2021 Stewardship Week, which starts this Sunday, April 25, and runs through Sunday, May 2. This year's theme is "Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities".

This year the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), who hosts the national Stewardship Week every year, chose to focus this year's theme on the lungs of our land -- TREES! -- and how they impact the health of our local communities.

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Congrats on the Grants!

Congrats on the Grants!

Michigan CDs Bring in the Green with 2021 Funding Awards

A variety of 2021 grant awards were announced this week that will contribute much-needed funds to several Michigan Conservation Districts. Our congratulations to all of the successful applicants for the following grant programs!


Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP)

This year's Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP) has awarded a total of $1,841,100 to Michigan Conservation Districts! This program is designed to address strategic issues of prevention, detection, eradication, and control for both terrestrial and aquatic invasive species in Michigan. An especially pivotal endeavor this year, after last year's funding freeze during the vital invasive species intervention seasons of Spring and Summer 2020.

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MACD Thanks Lori Phalen, Retiring Executive Director

MACD Thanks Lori Phalen, Retiring Executive Director

Lori Phalen

When we transitioned into 2021, a very special era ended as Lori Phalen stepped down as MACD's Executive Director.

It's been a busy year already, but we very much want to give a massive "Thank you!" (and a bittersweet farewell) to Lori as she embraces her well-earned retirement from the ED position. (Lucky for us, Lori will continue supporting MACD as our Grant Coordinator -- we couldn't let her go that fast.)

Lori has served as MACDs Executive Director for over 14 years, and has been pivotal to the success of MACD through her tenure. Her passion and advocacy have inspired many to take an active role in the conservation of Michigan’s natural resources.

Behind the scenes, Lori was a “Jill of all Traits,” juggling tasks from event management to fundraising to program development to website developing (including this one). Her tireless hours of dedication reflected her passion for Michigan’s natural resources.



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MACD Hires Dan Moilanen as New Executive Director

MACD Hires Dan Moilanen as New Executive Director 

MACD Dan Moilanen Executive Director

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) announced today it has hired Dan Moilanen to lead as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Lori Phalen, the current Executive Director, is retiring effective December 31 after 14 years of service in the position.

Looking to MACD's future, Moilanen sees Conservation Districts as the key touchpoint for integrating conservation work into local communities, and improving the natural health and habitat of Michigan's many unique regions.

“As the ‘boots on the ground’ in our communities across the state, Michigan's Conservation Districts will continue to play a pivotal role in protecting our natural resources by promoting sustainable practices, reforestation efforts, and other critical conservation work," Moilanen said.

Moilanen has held a variety of legislative, political, and community-focused roles, and is a graduate of Albion College. He is the current Board Chair of the Genesee County Conservation District. Moilanen is also the former Owner of Vehicle City Tacos, a popular downtown Flint business.

“Dan Moilanen brings a wealth of experience in small business ownership, community service, and political engagement to the position as Executive Director,” said Jerry Miller, MACD President and Kent County
Conservation District Board Chair.

“I have enjoyed serving with Dan on the Genesee Conservation District Board, and look forward to working with him as he transitions into his new position as Executive Director of MACD,” said Nancy Szikszay, Genesee County farmer and Board Member of the Genesee County Conservation District.

Dan Moilanen New Executive Director MACD

MACD is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was established in 1937 through the monumental Soil Conservation District Law in response to the Dust Bowl and extreme drought across the country. The Association consists of 75 locally-led Conservation Districts that assist farmers, producers, and foresters with implementing conservation practices across Michigan’s 83 counties.

While the work of Michigan’s Conservation Districts has evolved over the last 83 years, the core mission has remained the same: protect Michigan’s natural resources and empower all Michiganders to do the same.

“As a life-long outdoorsman and environmentalist, I consider conservation and environmental stewardship a sacred duty,” said Moilanen.

"As MACD's Executive Director, I will advocate for member districts and do everything I can to help build capacity in our local units of government to secure a financially sound future.”

Moilanen will officially begin his position on January 4, 2021.

To learn more about the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, visit macd.org.

Welcome to MACD's New Website!

Welcome to MACD's New Website!MACD Logo

Welcome to the new Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Website! Our new website serves a two-fold purpose:

  1. CD Showcase: The site's 'front-facing' public side provides a striking statewide online showcase of the power and programs of Michigan Conservation Districts.
  2. Members-Only Hub: Our new private, members-only area offers our District community a collaborative communication, information and networking hub.  

With our new site's two sides – the front-facing public website and the members-only area – this is an amazingly robust system that will continuously evolve. 

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