AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE
SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
22-2716. Legislative determination and declaration of policy. (1) It is the determination of the state of Idaho that:
(a) Forest lands, rangelands and agricultural lands maintained in a healthy condition are a legitimate land use contributing to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the state and its citizens;
(b) It is essential to the general welfare of all citizens of this state that multiple use conservation improvements be implemented on a broader scale on both public and private lands;
(c) Due to numerous economic and practical issues relating to the improvements of individual tracts of land, both public and private resource conservation improvements, projects and programs of the nature contemplated by this chapter would enhance the economic productivity and environmental quality of the state; and
(d) It is sound public policy for the state of Idaho to provide for accounts to finance loans, grants, cost-share funding and tax incentives to the end that forest lands, rangelands and agricultural lands within the state can provide the greatest benefit to all concerned.
(2) It is the intent of the state of Idaho to provide a means by which funds, including federal, state, private and other moneys, can be obtained and utilized for the accelerated development of water quality programs, multiple use forest land, rangeland, and agricultural land conservation improvements in the state, and to provide that these improvements, projects and programs be locally planned, coordinated and implemented through statutory provisions pertaining to soil conservation districts, the state soil and water conservation commission, appropriate state and federal agencies and the owners and operators of privately owned lands.
(3) It is in the best interest of the state of Idaho:
(a) To emphasize nonregulatory, science-based technical assistance, incentive-based financial programs and informational and educational programs at the local level;
(b) To maintain, preserve, conserve and rehabilitate forest lands, rangelands and agricultural lands to assure the protection and productivity of the state’s natural resources;
(c) That soil conservation districts, as governmental subdivisions, and the state soil and water conservation commission, as a state agency, are the primary entities to provide assistance to private landowners and land users in the conservation, sustainment, improvement and enhancement of Idaho’s natural resources;
(d) To establish policies for cooperative working relationships between local soil conservation districts, the state soil and water conservation commission, local, state and federal agencies and public and private groups to plan, develop and implement conservation goals and initiatives with local landowners and land users;
(e) That soil conservation districts and the state soil and water conservation commission lead nonregulatory efforts to conserve, sustain, improve and enhance Idaho’s private and state lands and to provide assistance to private landowners and land users to plan, develop and implement conservation plans addressing soil, water, air, plant and animal resources. Technical, financial and educational assistance to landowners and land users is vital to that effort; and
(f) That the state soil and water conservation commission provide support to soil conservation districts in the wise use and enhancement of soil, water and related resources.
(4) It is the policy of the state of Idaho:
(a) To provide appropriate tax policies and program mechanisms that provide incentives for private landowners and land users to voluntarily manage forest lands, rangelands and agricultural lands in a manner that promotes conservation;
(b) That the health, safety and general welfare of the people of this state can be greatly enhanced by providing nonregulatory opportunities to landowners and land users in order to increase the ability of such landowners and land users to readily understand and plan for local, state and federal natural resource requirements and opportunities through technological innovation and processes;
(c) To enhance natural resource productivity in order to promote a strong natural resource sector, reduce unintended adverse effects of resource development and use, protect individual and community health and safety and encourage stewardship;
(d) That conservation plan implementation shall include best management practices implemented according to the standards and specifications developed by the United States department of agriculture natural resources conservation service (NRCS) as designated by the agricultural pollution abatement plan. Those practices shall include, but not be limited to: irrigation water management systems; prescribed grazing; forest stand improvement; establishment of grass, trees and shrubs to reduce wind and water erosion; promotion of sound community development; protection of water and air resources from agricultural nonpoint sources of impairment; maintenance, restoration or enhancement of wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat; protection of upstream watersheds from flood risk; and protection of watersheds from the effects of chronic water shortages and risks; and
(e) That all conservation programs authorized pursuant to this chapter shall deliver services fairly and equitably, strengthen the conservation district delivery system, provide timely science-based information and provide conservation information and educational programs and experiences to youth and adults.
[22-2716, added 2003, ch. 107, sec. 2, p. 335; am. 2010, ch. 279, sec. 1, p. 719.]