Group discusses county’s donation

Published 9:55 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

The chair for the Pike County Soil & Water Conservation District described the Pike County Commission’s recent vote in favor of funding for the organization “as a positive and wise vote for the people of Pike County.”

Elizabeth Motes, chair, said she was speaking on behalf of fellow supervisors, Bert Curtis, John H. Dorrill Jr., Herb Huner and Roy Kendrick, who represent the people’s interest in conservation programs and serve without compensation.

“Funding for the Conservation District is an investment that returns multiple dollars for each dollar invested,” Motes said. “Commissioners Oren Fannin, Ray Goodson, Charlie Harris and Homer Wright supported the Conservation District’s request for funding and share a positive vision for the Pike County residents.”

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This comes after the Pike County Commission voted last week to allot $10,000 to the soil and conservation district to fund a part time position. Their vote also came after the commission did not give a similar request for $15,000 to the Pike County Extension Office last year.

The soil and conservation district’s annual budget is about $70,000 per year.

Motes said funds for projects near county roads, building and utilities are funded through the District to the Pike County Road Department.

“One project funded was $125,000 from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program that stabilized the steep sloping of the Pike County Courthouse,” she said.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the federal arm that implements local conservation initiatives, Motes said.

“NRCS provides office space, vehicles and permanent personnel but the District must provide some administrative and technical personnel to compliment NRCS,” Motes said.

Row crop farmers receive help for implementing water disposal systems for cropland, the Pike County Soil & Water Conservation District chair said.

Poultry producers are able to file necessary required environmental forms at the district office rather than making a trip to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in Montgomery, Motes said.

“Plans for the application of poultry litter to agricultural land and approved plans for proper disposal of dead poultry are supplied.”

In addition, Motes said that homeowners, urban residents and developers receive reports expressing soil limitations for various uses. Technical assistance is required for the implementation of conservation practices as well as preliminary surveying for gathering information for special programs.

“The District also works in cooperation with the Extension Service, Farm Service Agency, Alabama Forestry Commission and other groups to make a better way of life for Pike County residents,” Motes said. “Without a doubt, the recent votes by the Pike County Commission to provide a modest amount of funding for the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District was an appropriate decision for the people.

“The county will receive multiple dollars in return annually for the small investment it makes in soil and water conservation.”