The Conservation District & Its Purpose
The mission of Turkey Creek Conservation District is to be a grass-roots helping hand to local landowners in dealing with government programs and finding technical assistance. The District helps landowners obtain funds and provides information on issues and programs aimed at enhancing and protecting our natural resources. Like other conservation districts across the nation, Turkey Creek CD works with private farm and ranch landowners, small ranchette owners, and other suburban developments to assist in wise and proper management of natural resources.
Turkey Creek is one of the 76 Conservations Districts in Colorado. Established in 1943, Turkey Creek CD has been helping Pueblo County rural residents ever since. The Turkey Creek district includes northwestern Pueblo County. It is bordered on the south by US Highway 50 from the Fremont County line to the town of Boone. It is bordered on the east by the flood plain of the Fountain River from the confluence with the Arkansas River north to the El Paso County line.
***Even though the Turkey Creek district does not include all of Pueblo County, the Noxious Weed Control Program is available to all residents in unincorporated Pueblo County, no matter their location.***
Turkey Creek CD's Major Projects
Throughout the years, Turkey Creek CD has helped its constituents in working with soil and water issues. One of the District's particular concerns has been issues with flooding, water quality, and erosion in the Fountain Creek watershed. Since the 1950's, Turkey Creek CD has been a conscientious watch-dog of the environmental damages occurring in the Fountain Creek watershed. Frequently, the District has protested the waste-water dumped into Fountain Creek by upstream municipalities that damages the riparian banks and pollutes the water. Turkey Creek CD Board Members serve on many of the management teams working on improving the environmental health of the Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River.
In 2008, there was a void in Pueblo County's noxious weed control program so Turkey Creek CD offered to manage the program for the County. After reviewing the District’s proposal, the Pueblo County Board of County Commissioners entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the District for the management of the County's noxious weed control program for the year of 2009. Every year since then, the Board of County Commissioners and Turkey Creek CD have re-entered into an IGA, thus continuing the noxious weed control program in Pueblo County. Turkey Creek CD is proud that Pueblo County selected them for this responsibility and has made a dedicated effort to establish and maintain a successful program.
Initially, to supplement the cost-share component of the program, Turkey Creek CD successfully applied for funds from the Colorado State Conservation Board’s (CSCB) Matching Grants Program. The District has also partnered with South Pueblo County CD who was awarded a grant from the CSCB to further fund the program. Proceeds from those grants and money supplied by the County has helped to treat several hundred acres of noxious weeds throughout Pueblo County.
Now starting the Noxious Weed Control Program's 10th year, Turkey Creek CD is looking forward to continuing this positive and effective program for the residents of Pueblo County.
See our Cost Share section for more info on the Noxious Weed Control Program!
Turkey Creek CD's Board of Supervisors
The current five-member Turkey Creek CD Board of Supervisors include: Jane Rhodes, President; Charlene Mascarenas, Vice-President; Don Stevens, Board Member; Betty Alt, Board Member; and (vacant), Board Member. Supporting the Board are its independent contractors Beth Campbell, Carl Beeman, and Jeanne Segars.
The Turkey Creek CD Board could not do its job without the support and technical assistance of the local Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Pueblo County Board of County Commissioners and various offices in the Pueblo County Government. Our job is made easier because of support from the South Pueblo County Conservation District, the Colorado State Conservation Board, the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, the Colorado State Department of Agriculture, the Colorado State Land Board, and a host of other conservation agencies working for a noxious-weed-free Colorado.
Remembering a Local Conservation Advocate
Sadly, in early 2017, we lost long-time board member Bill Alt. Bill was a second-generation board member who was a driving force as the Turkey Creek CD president. We are proud to have had him on our board for many years and he will be greatly missed.
Bill worked very hard to advance the noxious weed control program in Pueblo County. Through his efforts, the District's program was founded. He was very active in helping landowners with their noxious weed issues. Many of you had the chance to meet him as we made recommendations for your property or provided a presentation to your group. Many of you also read his articles in the Pueblo Chieftain. He was committed to making this program successful – our success being landowners succeeding. And we will continue working at that goal, one landowner at at time.
Conservation District History (obtained from: National Association of Conservation Districts)
In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region's soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of “dust refugees” left the black fog to seek better lives.
But the storms stretched across the nation. They reached south to Texas and east to New York. Dust even sifted into the White House and onto the desk of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The dust storms of the "dirty thirties" affected many people. One of those people was Woody Guthry. The experience of living through these times is reflected in his song "Dust Bowl Blues". Please take the time to watch the video and listen to a person whose life was shaped in part by the "dirty thirties".
On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Because nearly three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.
In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts. Brown County Soil & Water Conservation District in North Carolina was the first district established. The movement caught on across the country with district-enabling legislation passed in every state. Today, the country is blanketed with nearly 3,000 conservation districts.