OACD provides a variety of services and continues to add services that become identified as important to the Association.
- Legislative Action
OACD reviews the thousands of bills each session to determine which are relevant to the needs of our members. The OACD Advocacy Committee reviews those bills and prioritizes them and outlines actions to take. OACD works with our partners (OWEB, ODA and other agencies, the Oregon Conservation Partnership and other associations) in developing strategies to promote legislation. We then testify before the legislative committees and lobby legislators toward our goals. We provide information on our membership portal so that our members can partner in that work. We also work with the National Association of Conservation of Conservation Districts on federal legislation.
- Regulatory Action
After legislation is adopted, rulemaking is required to determine the actions needed to carry out the enacted laws. OACD participates in stakeholder and advisory committee meetings to ensure rules support our members' needs. Rulemaking efforts occur at both the state and federal level. The member portal updates the membership on rulemakings in progress.
- Training, Workshops, Annual Meeting
OACD provides various trainings to the membership. In 2020 and 2021 advocacy training was provided to enable members to take part in legislative and regulatory issues. Those trainings are available in the member portal. Several training sessions occurred on working remotely due to COVID. OACD provides webinars on a number of topics throughout the year and also is one of the four partners taking part in developing monthly webinars as part of the Oregon Conservation Partnership (OrCP). Each year OACD supports members by gathering at an annual meeting to provide a series of workshops and association updates. During COVID, workshops and the annual meeting were held virtually.
- Oregon Conservation Partnership (OrCP)
OWEB provides a capacity grant to the OrCP which consists of the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts, the Network of Oregon Watershed Councils and the Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network (district employees). The partners work together with a professional public relations firm to support media stories, provide monthly webinars, maintains a jobs page, provides identification of grant opportunities, supports cohorts on topics of interest to the partners and maintains a website (www.conservationpartnership.org) for the partnership programs. Webinars provided by OrCP are posted on the website and available for review.
OACD supports grants that provide oppportunities for members when opportunities arise. Most recently OACD has supported an RCPP grant through NRCS to support districts with sage grouse habitat to develop CCAA agreements with landowners to protect the habitat. In addition, OACD supported monitoring grants with funds from US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to allow the districts to provide the necessary agreement reports required to maintain the landowner agreements. Those agreements provide protection for private landowners if the sage grouse becomes listed.
In addition OACD enters into grants for the association's performance to provide programs for the members. Currently OACD has a grant with the NRCS to develop "Oregon's Conservation Story", a booklet promoting district projects supported through NRCS programs. OACD also holds a grant from the OrCP for development of a brochure on the value of working and natural lands to support programs keeping agricultural and forest lands in production.
- Partnering and Networking
OACD works with several statewide associations on legislative and regulatory issues as well as in developing and supporting programs for the members. Work with ODA on soil health, water quality and other programs builds program capacity for district members. Our participation with OWEB, NRCS and SDAO (Special Districts Association of Oregon) similarly provide support programs for the districts. We also maintain a close relationship with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) through represenetation on their board by Oregon's OACD President (and VP alternate). We value these partner relationships as a source for serving and growing district opportunities. As OACD networks with our partners, OACD also promotes the networking among our district members through the programs referenced above.
OACD maintains a public website and a separate membership portal to share information and tools for the members. In addition we provide a monthly newsletter to inform members. We also, through OrCP, provide the opportunity to feature district stories in the media. Other more timely communications are also provided to members as issues arise. Members are welcome to participate in OACD board meetings and other events. More recently Zoom communications have enabled more meetings and webinars statewide without travel expense. OACD's Executive Director regularly share issues, tools and programs among the state association directors of the states belonging to NACD. This has been a valuable tool in identifying programs and sharing ideas to the benefit of all the states' members.
- Funding Opportunities
Our monthly newsletter, website, and the OrCP website, provide announcements of funding opportunities from agencies and foundations that districts might pursue to add to their resources.
As opportunities arise, OACD will add needed programs to support our district members.