With a population of approximately 7,200 people and a land area of 2,204 square miles, Ferry County has the lowest population density in the State of Washington. Large tracts of national forest in the northern half of the district, along with the Colville Indian Reservation to the south, limit the amount of privately owned land to 15%.
Ferry County has a short growing season and is lacking in areas with highly productive soils. This fact, along with a terrain of rugged forest, limits most agricultural production to the raising of livestock.
There are three Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIA) within the district. The Kettle River spans international borders. It originates in Canada, enters Washington at Midway, and re-enters British Columbia before joining the Columbia River near Kettle Falls.
The other WRIA's are the San Poil and the Upper Columbia. The Upper Columbia consists of those streams on the eastern slope of the Kettle Range, south of the Kettle River, which drain into the Columbia. The San Poil drains the western slope of the Kettle Range. Ultimately, all the surface water within our District flows into the Columbia (Lake Roosevelt).
What is a Conservation District?
Conservation Districts are considered governmental subdivisions of the state; however, they are not state agencies and do not receive an ongoing operating budget from the state general fund. They are independently governed by a five member board of local supervisors, who must be landowners or occupiers within the conservation district.
Conservation Districts do not have any regulatory authority and do not report to any regulatory authority. They only make recommendations to landowners about how to improve or conserve natural resources. They also provide assistance, in the form of technical advice and cost-share funding opportunities, for the design and implementation of conservation projects.
Other activities of Conservation Districts include: conducting surveys and research, conducting demonstrations and workshops, carrying out prevention and control measures, and developing/administering programs that ensure the conservation of renewable natural resources within the district.
Conservation Districts came about in the early 1930's when a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains began to erode and blow away the region's soil. The huge, black dust storms created during this ecological disaster became known as the Dust Bowl. As a result, Congress passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. President Roosevelt developed legislation (Standard States District Act) that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts.
The formation of these locally governed conservation districts allowed states to receive assistance from the federal Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service). District boards identified local soil conservation priorities and informed the local public about new practices that could save soil and improve the profitability of farms. They also facilitated communication between local landowners and the federal government.
Ferry Conservation District really is your conservation district. We encourage public input and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Monthly meetings to conduct business are generally held the fourth Wednesday of each month at 5:30pm at the District office located at 84 East Delaware in Republic (above the Coulee Dam Credit Union). Contact us for more information.
Every employee, applicant, and customer will be treated fairly, equitably, and with dignity and respect.