WHEREAS, the Cooperative Watershed Management Act (CWMA) creates a granting program to help local stakeholders form or expand watershed-wide management groups to cooperatively manage their local water resources.
WHEREAS, the bill requires that the Secretary of the Interior establish a cooperative watershed management program, under which the Secretary shall provide grants to eligible management entities, but does not specifically include Conservation Districts.
WHEREAS, the title of the bill indicates a broad-based approach to watershed planning and management, while the content of the legislation clearly defines it as a water resources bill.
WHEREAS, the bill sets out to create or expand a management group but does not provide recognition of existing organizational structures.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts is directed to work with the necessary entities to:
- Revise the bill to require that the program is administered in close cooperation with state Conservation District associations to ensure that rural western states, such as Montana, are equally represented.
- Expand the scope of the CWMA to include the array of natural resource issues that CDs and watershed groups are grappling with throughout Montana and the arid west.
- Provide recognition of existing organizational structures including Conservation Districts, and CD-support organizations such as MACD and CARDD.