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Conservation districts and emergency management: New partners for tight fiscal times

Jason Weinerman, MPA


Declining state budgets and pressure on the federal budget are likely to leave local emergency management efforts in a precarious position. During these challenging times, all government agencies will need to reach out and establish new partnerships to accomplish their missions. Emergency management situations, such as blizzards, fire, floods, and drought, are likely to originate in rural areas, and finding a partner who has a good working relationship with rural landowners is critical. Conservation districts are special- purpose government units that have a long history of working with rural landowners and getting active management installed on the ground. In addition, conservation districts have existing partnerships with other state and federal agencies, which can bring additional financial resources into the emergency management arena in a multipurpose framework. Although conservation districts are unlikely to be able to work in preparation and response planning, they can provide valuable assistance in mitigation and recovery operations. By including these special-purpose units of government in the emergency management planning and implementation efforts, emergency managers can extend their reach while not having to add additional resources.


emergency management, conservation districts, partners, rural landowners

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