The same year World War II began, the Idaho Soil & Water Conservation Commission (ISWCC) was founded by the Idaho State Legislature. The Commission was initially tasked with reducing soil erosion, but over time has assumed responsibility for promoting responsible stewardship of Idaho’s diverse natural landscapes by facilitating locally-led conservation efforts by voluntary choice – not by regulatory mandates. For the last 91 years, the Commission has been doing just that in partnership with the 50 conservation districts that span the state.
This past legislative session, the Commission was asked to provide detailed information on how they’re helping Idaho’s conservation districts. One way the Commission helps is by providing technical assistance for things like minimizing the impact to anadromous fish in Lolo Creek following the 2015 Clearwater Complex fire (Clearwater Complex Implementations) and assisting with installation and retrieval of stream temperature gauges (Stream Temperature Monitoring). Thanks to the Idaho Conservation Project Tracker, an instance of our ProjectFirma™ open-source platform, the Commission was able to quickly quantify the dollar value of technical assistance hours awarded and present it in a meaningful way. Using Tracker, it’s clear to see that Idaho’s 50 conservation districts are receiving significantly more value from the Commission than just the financial assistance allocated by the State.
When Teri Murrison, the administrator for ISWCC, shared this news with me via email, she noted, “Being able to show districts the previously unquantified benefits of receiving technical assistance has opened quite a few eyes.” These are the types of emails that make our day; there’s nothing better than hearing stories about how better tools make life easier for people like Teri and the Commission she leads.