Conservation efforts: Platte County Resource District conserves land and assists landowners
The Platte County Resource District (PCRD), formerly known as the Wheatland Soil Conservation District, was organized and voted on Dec. 15, 1945. The original charter was given on April 13, 1946 by the secretary of state and included 197,760 acres.
Today, nearly 70 years later, the PCRD includes approximately 1.34 million acres, offering several programs providing education to youth and Platte County landowners.
The function of the PCRD is to take available technical, financial and educational resources and coordinate them in a way they meet needs of landowners for conservation of soil, water and related resources.
The PCRD provides conservation and natural resources information to youth and adults. The PCRD includes Manager Brady Irvine, Resource Technician Joe Buffington, Rural Position Board Members Levi Clark, Jason Goertz and Jen Burr, Member-At-Large Brook Brockman and Urban Position Tyler Lauck.
Throughout the year, PCRD offers educational programs to Platte County schools and many organizations. Annually, they help with the Platte County Ag Expo and host science days in local schools.
In addition, the PCRD publishes a quarterly newsletter and once a year hosts a local working group meeting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. This working group gives citizens an opportunity to voice opinions regarding natural resource needs impacting Platte County.
The PCRD offers a variety of services and programs to community members and landowners.
The Windbreak Planting/Tree Program offers cost share funding annually to landowners who plan and install windbreaks in Platte County. The PCRD reviews and approves plans for funding. Projects must meet a minimum size requirement and design specifications in order to be considered.
Additionally, PCRD annually offers a wide selection of deciduous and evergreen seedlings. Orders take place in December and are delivered by mid-April.
Another program is the Range Program. This program was established to help fund projects to make a positive difference on land for Platte County cooperators who don’t meet qualifying criteria or have not met the deadline for federal or state programs.
These projects include water resource development, grazing systems and land treatments for invasive species including Russian olive removal.
PCRD’s Urban Cost Share Program provides incentives for residents and businesses to conserve soil, water and energy. Projects include tree and shrub planting for low water consumption, installation of drip systems for trees and shrubs and replacing traditional lawns with approved native or dry-climate species.
The Wildlife Cost Share Program helps fund projects, which make a positive difference on working lands towards enhancing wildlife habitat.
The goals of this project are to help improve wildlife habitat, provide cooperators the opportunity to implement good stewardship practices and improve water quality and quantity. Some projects include, but are not limited to, windbreaks and guzzler tanks.
A few additional programs include safe well water testing day, household hazardous waste education and surface water quality testing.
Brady has been involved with PCRD for 19 years.
In addition to helping her husband run the Irvine Ranch, she spends a lot of time giving back to her community and serving landowners in Platte County.
“I’ve learned a lot through my role with PCRD,” shares Brady. “I’ve been able to go out into my community and help producers and landowners with implementing new projects and improving their property.”
“We do a lot of livestock, water, solar and spring development projects,” she adds. “Through the Wyoming Water Development, we have eight small water projects. We don’t have any forestry in this part of the state, and we mainly focus on helping our farming and ranching community.”
“We do a lot of projects throughout Platte County,” Brady concludes. “We plant trees in the spring, and we have done several projects along the interstate with the Wyoming Department of Transportation in addition to our urban, range and wildlife programs.”
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.