Conservation District hopes to add staff member

The Elk County Conservation District [ECCD] will advertise for a new technician position following an approval from the Elk County Commissioners to provide half of the funding.ECCD Manager Steve Putt and Chairman Russ Braun reported meeting with the commissioners to discuss funding possibilities for a resource conservation technician."We were looking at various funding opportunities and unfortunately we were not able to secure all of the funding that we needed, but the commissioners have agreed to fund the position for a period of one year with the understanding that the other half of the position is being funded by DEP [Department of Environmental Protection]," Putt said. "We received the other half of the funding through the DEP Erosion and Sediment Control Program."Putt noted that DEP officials have already approved the funding and after the first year the position will be reviewed and the District will continue to seek alternative funding sources through DEP and other organizations.According to Braun, the District expects to receive money through Marcellus gas well impact fees [Act 13] as a substantial funding source."The conservation district is going to get some of that at the end of the year and we are really hoping that will help pay for the other half," Braun said.The salary for the position is $25,000.Putt said hiring a technician will allow him to focus on his managerial duties."The biggest part of the problem that we are faced with is the number of times I'm needed out of the office," Putt said. "It doesn't leave me any time to do the managerial things I should be doing. I'm torn between the things needed to be done out in the field and the time I need to spend in the office answering phone calls and doing all of that type of stuff. We are getting more permits, which requires more field work."In other business, a small grant through the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts has funded the Clarion Stormwater Awareness Project.Putt and other staff members of the District have installed 'no dumping' metal markers near stormwater inlets throughout Elk County.Each marker reads, "No dumping, drains to river."