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In addition to working closely with the USDA NRCS, Rhode Island's Conservation Districts work in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), municipalities, non profit organizations, and school districts on a variety of projects that support the conservation of Rhode Island's natural resources.
Conservation District staff also assist with the implementation of the Farm, Forest, and Open Space (FFOS) tax program, which allows certain Rhode Island landowners to be taxed at the current use value of their land as opposed to the development value. The Districts provide fee-for-service soil mapping for landowners applying for Open Space designation, and directly assist with applicants for Farm designation by processing applications and writing farm conservation plans. Contact your District with questions you may have about these programs.
Each Conservation District was established by state legislation and is governed by a locally elected Board of Directors. Monthly board meetings are open to the public, and we invite you to visit to learn more about the work of your District and perhaps consider supporting our conservation efforts through serving on your Board. During state-mandated social distancing, meetings are continuing to be held remotely.
In Northern District, which serves Providence County, staff work in partnership with Providence Water to provide outreach and education to residents of the Scituate Reservoir watershed. Northern District also supports urban food producers through the Providence County Urban Growers Leadership Program, and participates in the Woodland Partnership to help coordinate statewide efforts to conserve valuable forest land.
Southern District serves Kent and Washington Counties. Southern staff support local producers by running an annual farmer's market in Westerly and work closely with land trusts across the state to provide trail mapping services. Southern District also supports local urban agriculture by providing educational workshops for urban growers.
Eastern District staff serve the Newport and Bristol County communities with an emphasis on stormwater management. Eastern District has installed several rain gardens and other stormwater best management practices in partnership with local nonprofit agencies and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and has also received funding to pilot an annual seedling sale program.