Macomb Conservation District The Macomb Conservation District is one of Michigan’s 80 conservation districts. The Michigan Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) works cooperatively with each conservation district to help deliver soil, water and energy conservation programs directly to landowners in the districts. Macomb County Planning and Mapping Services is in contact with the Macomb Conservation District through the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council (described below).
Also, under an agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the MDA awards Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) grants to Conservation Districts across the state to provide education and one-on-one technical assistance to private landowners and communities. The purpose of the FAP grant is to assist Conservation Districts in their efforts to help Michigan citizens better understand, plan, manage, protect and utilize their forest resources. Forest health issues include, but are not limited to, Emerald Ash Borer, Oak Wilt, and Beech Bark Disease.
The Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D Council) strives to help the people of Southeast Michigan take better care of their natural resources; better utilize the services of local, state and federal agencies; and improve their community's economy, environment and quality of life. MCPED and the Macomb Conservation District are some of the representatives on the Council. The Council is under direction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (Michigan Division). RC&D areas are locally sponsored areas designated by the Secretary of Agriculture for RC&D technical and financial assistance program funds.
An application is on file with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture awaiting official RC&D designation for the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council. This designation will enable the Council to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to hire a full time coordinator, provide office space and other program support.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture has a Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program that consists of five methods for preserving farmland and open space in Michigan. The Macomb Agricultural Purchase of Development Rights Committee (MAPDRC) actively participates in the state's Purchase of Development Rights Program.
The MAPDRC is made up of the six northern townships in the County – Armada, Bruce, Richmond, Washington, Ray and Lenox. Purchase of Development Rights is a permanent restriction on the land between the State and a landowner, voluntarily entered into by a landowner, thus preserving their land for agriculture in exchange for a cash payment for those rights.
The first grant cycle for the state program was in 2006. The PES service area prepared the grant application with the input of the Committee (the PES area also serves as an advisory role to the MAPRDC). The grant application was ranked the highest amongst the 20+ applications submitted, resulting in the Committee being awarded approximately $271,000 for the purchase of the development rights of a farm in Macomb County. The Committee is currently working to execute the purchase.