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APPROP: AISWCD Executive Director Grant Hammer testifies earlier this week before a Senate panel listening to requests for funding for capital projects. Read more via East Peoria Times-Courier

OTHER NEWS: On January 15, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 100-1177 amending the Prevailing Wage Act, 820 ILCS 130/1 et. seq. The bill will take effect on June 1, 2019.  Key changes include the following:

1. Public bodies will no longer be required to determine the prevailing wage rate.
Instead. the applicable wage rates for each locality will be set by the prevailing wage
schedule that is published on the Illinois Department of Labor's (IDOL) website. As a
result. public bodies will no longer be required to approve an annual prevailing wage
ordinance or resolution each June. or publish the annual notice of approval in the
newspaper or on its website.

Hat tip to Melissa Cauble of the Montgomery County SWCD for this tip!

SOIL HEALTH: AISWCD staff recently attended the Illinois Stewardship Alliance's first annual Soil Health Summit. Erin Bush, Resource conservationist with the Champaign County SWCD gave attendees an excellent overview of the S.T.A.R. program.

CONSERVATION DRAINAGE: The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) is now accepting applications for its Summer 2019 Advanced Conservation Drainage Training Program. The unique program brings together diverse members of the agricultural and drainage communities and provides them with knowledge, tools, and connections to make conservation drainage an integral part of tile installation farm management. 

The 2019 training series will focus on three conservation drainage practices: saturate buffers, constructed wetlands, and drainage water management. Through classroom exercises, field demos, and expert led discussions, participants will learn about the science behind how each practice works, gain technical knowledge associated with siting, designing, and constructing conservation drainage practices, and develop strategies to successfully implement practices while overcoming common administrative challenges. Training will be offered via three in-person workshops scheduled throughout central Illinois in June, July, and August 2019.

Applications are being accepted through April 19th - hurry, don't wait to signup! 
VOTE: The AISWCD has been hard at work developing a logo concept in response to the logo resolution passed at last year's Annual Meeting & Summer Training Conference. The resolution tasked association staff with developing a logo concept, that could be adopted by SWCD's across Illinois if they choose, and subsequently begin to develop a uniform brand image.

A volunteer design group was established, and has met three times to provide insights and narrow a list of designs down to a manageable number. These designs were presented to the Board of Directors at their March meeting. Now, the AISWCD would like your input as well!
Please take a moment to vote for ONE design, which best represents your design preference!

The results of the poll will be presented to the Board of Directors at the June meeting of the board. We thank you for your help!

NEWS: The AISWCD is pleased to welcome Barb Klingler back to it's Board of Directors. Barb was recently elected to serve as the Land-Use-Council  1. She has served as a Director of the Stephenson County SWCD since 2007, and previously also served as the LUC representative. Klinger and her husband Mark are 35-year dairy farmers, and both of their daughters als work in the agriculture industry. Welcome back, Barb! 
NOTE: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Bureau of Water will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 (9:30 - 11:30am) at the Village of Lombard Village Hall concerning the DuPage River & Salt Creek Watershed. Please see the attached notice for more information.
SALE: 10 foot Tye Pasture Pleaser Drill for sale in Mercer County - asking $10,000 or best offer. Contact Carmen of the Mercer County SWCD for more info. 
POLLINATOR CONSERVATION: The next NACD Urban and Community Conservation webinar, scheduled for 12:00pm - 1:00pm Eastern Time, on April 18, 2019 will feature Pollinator Conservation. 

The Pollinator Stewardship Council will report on an ongoing project, Pollinator Habitat on Three Different Types of Corporate Properties. For four years, Ohio businesses have collaborated with beekeepers to provide pollinator habitat, encourage new beekeepers through 4-H, inspire other businesses and individuals to create habitat and collect data showing the benefit to pollinators.
The West Multnomah SWCD in Oregon has incorporated pollinator habitat into opportune projects throughout the area and trained volunteers to monitor them for pollinators over the past three seasons. Information about this community science model will be shared, including the program’s model, results, lessons learned and resources. The District also developed informative tools such as the Meadowscaping Handbook and Pollinator Bloom Time Chart to help people develop pollinator habitats in urban yards and rural landscapes.
These popular webinars, held on the third Thursday of each month, are sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation in partnership with the NACD Urban and Community Resource Policy Group. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, email Debra Bogar at WITH your name, title, district or business name, state and email address. Information to access the webinar will be sent by email.
Bounty of Information: Director Discusses State's Top Ag Issues

In his first appearance with Illinois Farmers Market Association members, John Sullivan had a bounty of information to share with only two months on the job as the Illinois Department of Agriculture director. In the real estate and farm equipment auction business with his family and a former state senator for 14 years, Sullivan’s roots are deep in farm country near Rushville in western Illinois.

Read more via AgriNews
Ag Department Seeks Budget Increase to Regulate Recreational Marijuana

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is asking for a $9.3 million budget increase, most of which would be used to pay for regulating recreational marijuana programs if Illinois lawmakers approve them. John Sullivan, director of the Department of Agriculture, said $8 million of the increase is earmarked for regulating recreational marijuana. The department’s entire proposed budget is $117.4 million.

Read more via State Journal-Register
Conservation Application Deadlines are April 19, May 17

State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer funding in Marshall and Putnam counties for the MRB-Big Bend Enhancing Water-Soil-Habitat Quality project through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Read more via Putnam County Record
DACC Prepares for Annual Ag Day Event

Community members are invited to enjoy lunch, view some agriculture-related displays and listen to a guest speaker next week during Ag Day at Danville Area Community College. One of the big draws of Ag Day every year is the “Farmer’s Share” barbecue lunch for 50 cents, which will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, in the Mary Miller Gymnasium. No petting zoos or kiddie pedal tractor pulls are planned this year. Another highlight of this year’s event is guest speaker John Sullivan, Illinois Director of Agriculture, who will speak starting at 12:30 p.m. in the gym.

Read more via Danville Commercial-News
Winnebago SWCD to host Water Testing Program

The Winnebago County Soil and Water Conservation District, 4833 Owen Center Road, is hosting the Expanded Water Testing Program on April 18-30. The program provides a wide suite of tests including: nitrogen levels (all forms); inorganic compounds (sulfates, fluoride, soluble phosphorus and silica); 21 different heavy metals; and 12 different pesticides.

Read more via Journal Standard

ENVIROTHON: Close to 200 students, consisting of 38 teams from schools in Champaign, Clark, Coles, Douglas, Edgar and Vermilion counties, converged on Hoopeston last week to take part in the annual Envirothon event.

Read more via the Hoopston Chronicle.

JOIN US! The AISWCD invites you to join us for a summer night at the ballpark, a pre-conference social event! Take in the Springfield Sliders as they play the Cape Girardeau Catfish for a Prospect Baseball League Showdown. Attendees will enjoy a complimentary mix of jumbo hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, peanuts, popcorn, cracker jacks, and two beverages (beer or soda) while supplies last! RSVP to!

CONTEST: The AISWCD wants your help! Lend us a hand with sponsorships, and we will enter your name in a gift card raffle to be drawn at the 2019 Annual Meeting & Summer Training Conference. Here's how it works...for every sponsor OR exhibitor that you secure for the conference, the AISWCD will enter your name into the pool (drawn at conference). Please refer to the AISWCD conference page for sponsor rates and more information. Easy, simple! Questions, please email! 
Copyright © 2019 Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts, All rights reserved.

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