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Montana Conservation Districts at the NACD Annual Convention

In February 2023, several staff members from Conservation Districts across Montana had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Annual Meeting. This five-day event took place in New Orleans and provided attendees various tours, breakout sessions, board meetings, and conservation showcases. The variety of events gave attendees a great place to learn about new technologies and relevant issues impacting natural resource management. Keynote speakers included NRCS Chief Terry Crosby, Lt. General Russel L. Honoré, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, NACD President Michael Crowler, FWS Director Marsha Williams, and others. With over 1000 attendees, there was no shortage of networking opportunities. Staff from Montana had conversations with professionals from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and all over the United States. Learning from others in this field left Conservation District staff feeling inspired and ready to implement new ideas in Montana.

Not only did staff attend the multiple-day meeting, but three members from the Gallatin CD team also presented during a breakout session about new technology in development. On Tuesday, February 14, Gallatin CD staff and the Four Corners Foundation gave a presentation about the online 310 application platform, Gilly. This software platform guides river restoration and preservation. Gilly provides a robust data collection system for inputting permits and gives ready access to this information, streamlining the permit process for Conservation Districts and illustrating the impacts that proposed and past permits have on river systems. This platform will help standardize the application process and conserve employee time and resources. Learn more about Gilly here:

Staff that attended from Montana Conservation Districts included Dean Rogge (MACD President and NACD Alternate Rep), Steve Hedstrom (NACD Rep. from MACD), Karl Christians (Lewis and Clark CD with support from MACD to work on Floodplain resolution), and staff members from Cascade, Big Horn, Gallatin CD.

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